<i>The Untamed Vampire</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Untamed Vampire: Exclusive Excerpt Kate Baxter "The wild wolf inside him howls for her..." <i>Falling for the Billionaire Wolf and His Baby</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Falling for the Billionaire Wolf and His Baby: Exclusive Excerpt Sasha Summers "Black skirt that hugged an amazing ass and killer legs." <i>Once Bitten</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Once Bitten: Exclusive Excerpt Heather McCorkle "The gentle nips at my neck grew harder." <i>Dirty Thief</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Dirty Thief: Exclusive Excerpt Tia Louise "Their romance is straight out of a dirty Cinderella story..."
From The Blog
April 21, 2017
Mariana Zapata and the Art of the Slow Burn
Jen Wattley
April 20, 2017
Cover Thursday: Exclusive Reveal from Donna Grant
Team H & H
April 20, 2017
The Real Life of a Dominatrix in Jenny Nordbak’s The Scarlett Letters
Nicola R. White
April 19, 2017
A Romance Reader’s Guide to the 2017 NHL Playoffs, Part 1
Stacey Agdern
April 19, 2017
The Great Debate of the Vampire Bite in Paranormal Romance
Tori Benson
Showing posts by: Stacey Agdern click to see Stacey Agdern's profile
Apr 19 2017 3:30pm

A Romance Reader’s Guide to the 2017 NHL Playoffs, Part 2

Source: Shutterstock

Note: This post is part 2 of a two-part series of posts that's perfect for hockey fans... and those who are just looking for some good recommendations, too! To see the recommendations for part 1, look here. Go sports!

More playoff Game 4s tonight, more familiar faces chiming in about their favorite hockey teams and the books they read to get through the playoffs. 

Here’s tonight’s Lineup:

  • Ottawa Senators vs Boston Bruins
  • Toronto Maple Leafs vs Washington Capitals
  • Nashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks 
  • Calgary Glames vs Anaheim Ducks
  • Minnesota Wild and St Louis Blues

Ottawa Senators

Why do you like this team?

Jenn Burke, Author: The Sens are my hometown team! I've been an Ottawa Senators fan since the reincarnation of the team in 1992. They've had seasons of brilliance and seasons of not-quite-realized brilliance, but regardless, they're an integral part of the community.

[Read more...]

Apr 18 2017 4:00pm

A Romance Reader’s Guide to the 2017 NHL Playoffs, Part 1

Source: Shutterstock

Note: This post is part 1 of a two-part series of posts that's perfect for hockey fans... and those who are just looking for some good recommendations, too! Go sports!

As pivotal Game 4 of the Stanley Cup hits your television sets, familiar faces who are avidly following the coolest game on ice answer questions about their favorite teams, and give some book recommendations.   

Tonight’s Lineup:  

  • Pittsburgh Penguins (last year’s cup winner)  vs Columbus Blue Jackets
  • New York Rangers vs  Montreal Canadiens
  • Edmonton Oilers vs (last year’s runner up) San Jose Sharks

Pittsburgh Penguins

Why do you like this team? 

Katie Kenyhercz, author:

Growing up in Northeast Ohio, the Pittsburgh Penguins were the closest to me at just over an hour away when the Blue Jackets were 3 hours away. This meant the Pens were on local TV, and I started watching around the time Sidney Crosby came on the scene. I was instantly amazed and in love! His skill on the ice is matched by his kindness and politeness off. He's a great leader with an impressive eye for the game, and he never fails to wow me. We've been able to keep the core of our team together for over a decade, and they really feel like family to me. The guys we've added have only made us better, and I love knowing my team will be formidable for a long time.

RJ Scott, author:

I am a hockey newbie, I’m just coming up to my first anniversary of being a Pens fan. I would love to say I chose that team to support because of statistics, or analysis, but I have to admit I was incredibly shallow. I visited a page called the twenty hottest NHL players and fell for Sidney Crosby. Then I saw one particular moment when he did this complicated stop, change direction, shoot, score, goal and I was lost! They went on to win the cup which I had no idea what that was until I found myself staying up until all hours watching the games.

Melody Gatto, author:

I love my Pittsburgh Penguins because they are my hometown team. They have heart and desire, it's been fun watching them grow as a team. I grew up watching them in the early 90's and have been hooked ever since. I've had the chance to meet a lot of the players and they are all down to Earth and friendly guys. On the ice they seem untouchable, but up close and personal, they are just regular guys.

[Read more...]

Mar 28 2017 3:00pm

First Look: Rachel Lacey’s Crazy for You (March 28, 2017)

Crazy for You by Rachel Lacey

Rachel Lacey
Crazy for You (Risking it All #2)
Forever / March 28, 2017 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

At the end of Crazy for You, Rachel Lacey’s reformed bad boy hero informs the heroine that her dreams are important.  That he loves her enough to give up the dream of settling down completely in the town he found home in.

“So I’m here to beg for your forgiveness on the condition that you promise you won’t derail your plans for me.”

By the end of the book, you learn how important this is.  It’s the main thread that holds the story together, in fact. 

When a small town is faced with the damage the wider world does to it’s residents, the reaction is usually to fall back on the relationships, both past and future, that were created within.  Friendships, memories and promises are always given a greater weight as people search for answers to life’s larger questions. 

[Read more...]

Feb 7 2017 12:00pm

First Look: Kerrigan Byrne’s The Duke (February 7, 2017)

The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

Kerrigan Byrne 
The Duke (Victorian Rebels #4)
St. Martin's Press / February 7, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

Each of Kerrigan Byrne’s books has dealt with redemption and heroes whose pasts are not as clear as most heroes we see in historical romance.  But more than any of the others, The Duke isn’t about finding your one true love, but about what needs to happen for someone to be ready to fall in love.

‘Tell me exactly,’ the heroine says to the hero in the middle of the black moment, ‘when I should have revealed my tender secret to you?’ 

When indeed.  Especially considering the hero, the book’s titular Duke, and the heroine have spent the entire length of the book dealing with issues of timing.

 Our hero first meets the heroine at her ‘night job’, as a hostess at a ‘club’; she is the ‘whore’ with the heart of gold who blows his mind and his heart.  She meets him again at her ‘day job’, when on the verge of death from injuries he receives on the battlefield, she literally nurses him back to health. Finally, she is his next door neighbor, the widow of an older man.  He holds the first as a perfect moment in his mind, doesn’t know the second and cannot stand the woman he meets in the third.  To him, these three women  are unconnected, even though they are the same person. 

[Read more...]

Jul 9 2016 2:00pm

Nothing Bittersweet About Sarina Bowen’s Masterful Writing!

Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

Contrary to popular opinion, romance writers care a great deal about the language they use in a book. Language choice in romance novels is important because the words used need to tell a great story in a way that doesn’t serve as a stumbling block for a reader who’s deeply involved. Nowhere is this dichotomy between good storytelling and language choice more evident than in books that are written in the kind of first person that alternates between male and female point-of-view. Authors who choose to write this way need to pay close attention to the language they use to portray each character’s inner thoughts. Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen is a wonderful example of how an author does this well.

“I’d never made love to anyone. Great sex was something I’d experienced many times. But as I methodically kissed away every one of Audrey’s defenses, it occurred to me that this was the first time I’d ever tried to show someone how I really felt about her.”

[Distinctive voices...]

Jun 24 2016 2:00pm

Tara Wyatt’s Primal Instinct Defies the Double Standard

Primal Instinct by Tara Wyatt

Generally speaking, we as readers know the trajectory of a bodyguard story.  Our bodyguard hero is forced to protect the heroine from danger.  She will be vulnerable and she will be thrust into our hero’s arms, and most likely, as a result, into his heart (if she wasn’t there before them).  In the hands of a master, they’re amazing. (see Roxanne St. Claire and Cindy Gerard’s bodyguard stories )

We also know what a rock star story has started to look like over the years; a tortured alpha rockstar is a very obvious sexual object, strutting around and either showing people who they really are behind the mask, or allowing their real life, no holds barred personality full reign, both to fall in love with a heroine who loves them for being themselves.  (see Nalini Singh’s amazing Rock Kiss series, for example).

But what if.  What if. 

What if a bodyguard falls in love with the rockstar they’re protecting.  This is a story rarely seen in romance.  But in the hands of someone like Tara Wyatt, it’s revolutionary.  Which of course you’d be expecting considering the contents of her first book.

[Full body protection...]

Apr 20 2016 4:30pm

Live From Romancelandia: A Viewing Guide to the NHL Playoffs

Breakaway by Avon Gale

While some of these teams have been beaten out already, Stacey Agdern chatted with Romance Writers and readers across the interwebs about the hottest players in the coldest sport for the NHL Playoffs. 

Sports and Romance have been tied together for a long time.  So as the quest for the cup begins, here’s a guide to the NHL playoffs from some hockey fans romance readers may know best.

We’ll start with the eastern conference:


1) Panthers v. Islanders


Notable Fan: Kat Mizera

1.Why the Panthers:

Former hockey writer turned romance writer Mizera has been a “Florida Panthers fan since day one. “She’s “watched them fall apart over the years but always kept them close … because this is my home town team. The addition of Jaromir Jagr last March was absolutely brilliant. He brings an experience and quirkiness to the team that they’d been lacking. At 44 he’s the rock star of the NHL (always has been) and he brings so much more than scoring to the team. His personality, his mullet-heads, his workout ethic–it’s amazing. The way he turned around Barkov and Huberdeau is nothing short of sensational. It’s been so much fun to watch. Some of the younger guys really bring a lot to the table as well. Young guys like Bjugstad and Gudbranson bring youth, strength and longevity to the team–I’m excited to see them get better and better

[Who are you betting on in the NHL Playoffs? ...]

Apr 7 2016 9:30am

Reader Seeks Perfect Fire Marshal—and Finds Him in Melissa Cutler’s One Hot Summer

One Hot Summer by Melissa Cutler

One Hot Summer by Melissa Cutler is many things; it’s a small town story, it’s a story about a town recovering from a tragedy. It’s the story of a fish out of water finding a pond of her own. And it’s the story of a hero who’s inner feminist is awakened by his love of the heroine.

Inner feminist? you ask. 

Yes.  Inner.Feminist.

A traditional small town Fire Marshal/Fireman, with traditional small town views and values ends up falling in love with someone who, on the outside, couldn’t be more different from the small town he lives in.  Even as he spends the first quarter of the book pointing out how her ‘Californian Values’ and politics and ideas about what’s important differ from the cause and focus of small town Texas, he begins to fall in love with her.

At his core, Micah Garrity is one of those people who feels like it’s his responsibility to ensure the world ruins as it should. He does this by attempting to make sure that people follow the rules, that they take care of themselves and act responsibility. At best, it’s a protective streak that encompasses the town, his friends, his family, and the woman he grows to love. At it’s worst, it’s how he keeps himself from living his own life.

[Awaken my love ...]

Apr 27 2015 4:30pm

First Look: Cat Johnson’s Midnight Ride (April 28, 2015)

Midnight Ride by Cat Johnson

Cat Johnson
Midnight Ride (Midnight Cowboys #1)
Zebra / April 28, 2015 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

One bucking bronco...

Oklahoma ranch hand Tyler Jenkins is too young, too sexy, and too damn wild to be tied down by any single woman—for more than a few steamy hours...

One hard-working widow...

Widowed rancher Janie Smithwick is too busy paying off her debts to play rodeo with a reckless young cowboy like Tyler—no matter how hot he gets her...

One midnight ride they'll never forget. . .

As a rule, Janie should be dating a man her own age, like her handsome neighbor Rohn—not the twenty-four-year old ranch hand he employs. But once Tyler gets Janie alone—held tight in his arms, pressed against his hard muscled body, burning with desire—the widow realizes that some rules, like broncos, are meant to be broken...

In an age where female characters are demonized for their sexual desires, it’s comforting to read a book that’s capable of reassuring us that it’s okay to give into need, want, and desire—like Cat Johnson’s Midnight Ride.

There is a twelve year age difference between the hero and the heroine, and right from the beginning, the hero sees the heroine as an object of desire. Tyler thinks Janie’s a beautiful woman. And Lord help him when she mentions his tongue. 

His mind went to bad places at her mention of his tongue and its talents.  Visions of what he’d like to do with it—and her—flashed through his brain.

His desire is immediate and palpable.  And right from the beginning, as far as he’s concerned, her age is simply a number.  “(I)t was obvious Colton had never met Janie Smithwick.  If he had, he sure as hell wouldn’t have called her old.” Hot, beautiful, sexy , yes.  But not old.

[Will she tame the young hunky cowboy?]

Mar 2 2015 6:00pm

First Look: Terri Brisbin’s Rising Fire (March 3, 2015)

Rising Fire by Terri BrisbinTerri Brisbin
Rising Fire (Stone Circles #1)
Penguin / March 3, 2015 / $7.99 print & digital

What if the standing stones and stone circles across the old Celtic world had a secret origin and use?
What if some opened into another world?
What if the goddess of fire was trapped beneath one?

Lovely and innocent Brienne of Yester has always been able to manipulate fire, but when her powers suddenly surge, the simple life she once knew explodes.

Handsome, fearless, and commanding William de Brus has been summoned by the king to investigate a nobleman rumored to have powers linked to the fabled fire goddess. When he chances upon Brienne, his desire for her is immediate. But as his mystical quest unfolds, William realizes that she is at the center of it—for Brienne possesses the very power he has been sent to vanquish....

As their attraction deepens, William attempts to free Brienne from the dark force beginning to control her—even when his duty demands that he treat her as an enemy. With emotions flaring, fire rising, and evil threatening at every turn, can the two lovers survive the coming battle and save all of humanity

When the heroine of Rising Fire must make an impossible choice, a choice between what she knows in her heart is right and what she’s dreamed of, the hero of the book is uniquely positioned to give her sage advice.

But as Shakespeare once wrote, “something is rotten” in the Scotland of Terri Brisbin’s Rising Fire. The King has sent the hero to report on the behavior of one of his councilors, the lord of a village in Scotland. And the kind of behavior, the King explains, is the sort that is rather troublesome.

[The plot thickens...]

Feb 23 2015 5:30pm

First Look: Kristen Callihan’s Soulbound (February 24, 2015)

Kristen Callihan
Soulbound (Darkest London #6)
Grand Central Publishing / February 24, 2015 / $8.00 print, $7.99 digital

Once two souls are joined . . .
When Adam's soul mate rejected him, there was more at stake than his heart. After seven hundred years of searching, his true match would have ended the curse that keeps his spirit in chains. But beautiful, stubborn Eliza May fled-and now Adam is doomed to an eternity of anguish, his only hope for salvation gone . . .

Their hearts will beat together forever
No matter how devilishly irresistible Adam was, Eliza couldn't stand the thought of relinquishing her freedom forever. So she escaped. But she soon discovers she is being hunted-by someone far more dangerous. The only man who can help is the one man she vowed never to see again. Now Adam's kindness is an unexpected refuge, and Eliza finds that some vows are made to be broken . . .

“Who knows what evil lurks in the minds and hearts of men?  The shadow knows.”

The shadow, according to all adaptations (whether they be a pulp novel, movie or radio play), is a man who uses his psychic powers to fight crime.  By nature, he is an expert at seeing past the facades that people present to the world.  And seeing past facades, whether demon, human or fae, is a fundamentally important part of Kristen Callihan's Soulbound.

Eliza May has been caught up in a world that isn’t hers.  And she’s taken advantage of it; the pretty dresses and the glittering society that swooped her up after she’d escaped from someone who …well didn’t treat her so well.

[To put it mildly...]

Feb 16 2015 5:00pm

First Look: Lynda Aicher’s Game Play (February 16, 2015)

Game Play by Lynda AicherLynda Aicher
Power Play (Game Play)
Carina / February 16, 2015 / $4.99 digital

One night, one time, nothing more. That's all it was supposed to be. They'd agreed their first night together would be their only night together—and Minnesota Glaciers defenseman Dylan Rylie was fine with that. Giant hickeys and claw marks on his ass had never been his style, even if the very memory of Samantha Yates's merciless sexual energy gets him hard within seconds. He needs to focus on getting a better contract, not mind-blowing orgasms.

One night, one time, nothing more. Fresh off representing the US at the Games and with nowhere else to play, Samantha gave in to one night of frantic passion with the Glaciers' brawny hotshot. She couldn't get hurt—not if she controlled the outcome. And she planned to leave Minnesota soon, anyway. She didn't expect to be recruited to coach Dylan after they'd gotten down and dirty.

When brutal on-ice workouts lead to kinky locker room sessions and “one night” falls by the wayside, Samantha insists on keeping things casual, despite Dylan's quiet hope for more. But when Dylan goes down—hard—and his career is in jeopardy, Samantha is the first one by his side. What will it take to keep her there after he's healed?

The one story most people did not see during the NHL winter classic of 2012 when the Olympic Hockey teams were announced involved Phil Kessel and his sister Amanda. Both played in the Winter Olympics; both were announced to teams at the winter classic. But there wasn’t a moment where brother and sister embraced, where they were able to congratulate each other. Phil Kessel wasn’t even asked about what he thought about the fact his sister was named to the Olympic team. Nor was Amanda asked about what she thought about her brother’s selection to the Olympic team, or what she thought about how he was playing in the winter classic.


Oct 21 2014 9:30am

First Look: Jeannie Moon’s Second Chance Hero (October 21, 2014)

Second Chance Hero by Jeannie MoonJeannie Moon
Second Chance Hero
InterMix / October 21, 2014 / $3.99 digital

After her fiancé dies in her arms in Afghanistan, combat nurse Kim Torres decides to get as far away from men and the war as she can. Now a nanny to a little girl, she’s trying to date again, but her heart just isn’t in it. Not even for a man as sexy as Owen Kent…

When Major Owen Kent returns from his deployment with the Marines in Afghanistan, he discovers how much things have really changed. The billionaire CIO’s friends are settling down and having families—things a serial dater like Owen doesn’t expect to do. But he’s also not expecting his friend Harper’s new nanny to be the woman who stole his heart half a world away. Kim may want nothing to do with Owen, but he’s not about to surrender without a fight.

One of the things readers love about romance novels is watching characters go on a healing journey towards love and happiness—inside and outside, thoughts and feelings, no holds barred. Second Chance Hero by Jeannie Moon portrays a healing journey that is emotional, strong and beautiful. And it is, most importantly, the heroine’s journey.

Kim Torres is a tortured heroine in the traditional genre based sense of the term—she’s got serious emotional trauma in her past, some of it deriving from the death of her fiancé, some of it deriving from the fact that he cheated on her, the rest of it deriving from the fact that she found out about his cheating on his deathbed …in Afghanistan.

[Gah, that's a tough pill to swallow...]

May 29 2013 2:00pm

First Look: Nalini Singh’s Heart of Obsidian (June 4, 2013)

Heart of Obsidian by Nalini SinghNalini Singh
Heart of Obsidian
Berkley / June 4, 2013 / $25.95 print / $12.99 digital

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.

A woman whose very existence has been erased.

A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.

A deadly price that must be paid.

The day of reckoning is here.

A recently widowed woman was at a function with a couple, and their conversation turned to a mutual acquaintance. The woman began to say some particularly nasty things about the acquaintance, before she realized that there was a shocked expression on the husband’s face. “I said something bad,” she said. “I’m sorry. My husband was my filter.”

Just like this widow’s husband served as her filter, the heroine of Heart of Obsidian serves as the hero’s conscience. Clearly, being someone’s conscience in a contemporary society might bring questions of many sorts. Relationships in contemporary society aren’t meant to serve as the boundary line between good and evil. But nobody ever said that Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series took place in contemporary society. It takes place in a futuristic alternate universe where life and standards are slightly different from our own.

[Remember, always let you conscience be your guide...]

Dec 21 2012 5:00pm

The Mainstreaming of Female Geek Culture in 2012

The Garden Intrigue by Lauren WilligIt started with the release of Lauren Willig’s Garden Intrigue, an amazing book that switched back and forth between historical and contemporary—perhaps the very last place to find a Star Wars reference. But there was one.

It wasn’t something I really thought about again until June. After seeing Brad Paisley’s geektastic concert at Jones Beach, a country music show peppered with more references to science fiction movies and anime than a person could shake a stick at, I read Virginia Kantra’s Carolina Home. It was a lovely contemporary set in the Carolinas that created a firm foundation for a family series. And yet, for the second time in one month, for the third time that year, I came across an unexpected Star Wars reference. That made me think. The bottom line was that neither the Kantra nor the Willig were marketed to an audience that would be assumed to have the basis to understand Star Wars references. And yet there they remained, untouched.

It was food for thought until October. Because on a table in the middle of the Marvel booth at this years New York Comic Con, there were three different comics. One of them was a comic that was co-produced with Benefit, the cosmetics company. The content was discussed all over the universe, with strong voices on both sides of the debate. But it was there: Marketing comic books to people who up until that point, would never have been considered a target audience for comic books. And at the same time, marketing makeup to people who stereotypes insist wouldn’t be interested in it. Especially not to the degree that spending money on benefit cosmetics would require.

[Is the tide turning?...]

Nov 21 2012 4:00pm

Detectives, and Spies, and SEALs, Oh My!: The Difference Between a Romantic Thriller and a Romantic Suspense

Breaking Point by Pamela ClareOne of the ongoing debates in most romance reading circles is the specific answer to one question: What differentiates a romantic suspense from a romantic thriller? The answer is different depending on who you ask, but as far as I’m concerned, it boils down to the scope of the story. Romantic thrillers are filled with what happens as larger-than-life events take over the lives of people who mostly live their lives on or over the edge. Romantic suspense is personal, encompassing the trouble that happens in someone’s own backyard, whether it’s in their town or in their house.

Pamela Clare’s Breaking Point is a lovely example of a romantic thriller. Our heroine is a journalist who gets kidnapped by representatives of a Mexican drug cartel, one of many women this particular cartel has kidnapped for all sorts of purposes. Our hero turns out to be *spoiler* an undercover federal marshal. The goal is to free our heroine and stop the cartel. Global problems, larger scale: romantic thriller.

To read the full post on The Difference Between a Romantic Thriller and Romantic Suspense, visit our sister Crime and Mystery blog, CriminalElement.com.

Sep 30 2012 12:30pm

Covering Icy Ground: Hockey Settings in Current Books

Offside by Juliana StoneWhen life gives you hockey lockouts—read books set on the rink! Two hockey-centric books releasing in October—Juliana Stone's Offside and G.B Joyce’s The Code—have on-ice feel to them.

Offside is a small-town hockey romance. Juliana Stone uses the hockey atmosphere and combines it with a slice of small town life in a story that will make any romance reader, hockey fan or no, a very happy person. It’s the story of a hometown heroine, BillieJo Barker, who comes home to the guy who she’s always been in love with. Yep. The hometown heroine, a hockey player who's been felled by injury, must now figure out what to do with her life. When she decides to play hockey in her hometown’s men's league, she comes into conflict with most of the town, including one of her sisters. Except of course the guy she’s always been in love with suddenly starts to be her own, personal, protector.

[How serendipitous...]

Sep 20 2012 1:30pm

Surviving the Hockey Lockout with Romantic Hockey Heroes

True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel GibsonA hockey lockout is awful. As every other sports fandom gets revved up, hockey fans are in for a long haul of…nothing. Hoping that there will be progress in the talks that there hadn’t been before. Hoping something miraculous might happen, but somehow aware that that’s about as likely as Mike Eruzione scoring a hat trick against Henrik Lundquist.

With that in mind, I’m bringing you a two-part series talking about books that might prepare you to weather the long wait.

First, the classics. Some of these books are tried and true, discussed by hockey fans and romance readers everywhere. Some of these books are by authors we love, who’ve made their first hockey book a must read. And one of these books was an author and hockey fan’s first on the road to hockey romance greatness.

1. True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson

Every single list of hockey romances must include a Rachel Gibson. It’s practically required. This one makes this list because it is memorable for both  on the ice action as well as off the ice. Gibson’s team, the Seattle Chinooks, actually joined the NHL in this book, and we had appearances from real players (I remember seeing Markus Nasulnd’s name in the pages of this book a short time after he retired).

[For the love of hockey...]

Jul 3 2012 5:30pm

First Look: Virginia Kantra’s Carolina Home (July 3, 2012)

Carolina Home by Virginia KantraVirginia Kantra
Carolina Home
Berkley / July 3, 2012 / $7.99 print & digital

Single dad and fishing boat captain Matt Fletcher deferred his own dreams to support his innkeeper parents and build a future for his sixteen-year-old son. Matt has learned to weather life’s storms by steering a steady emotional course...and keeping a commitment-free approach to love.

Newcomer Allison Carter came to Dare Island to escape the emotional demands of her wealthy family. The young teacher aims to build a life here, to make a lasting place for herself. She doesn’t want to be another Woman Who Once Dated Matt Fletcher. It’s both tempting and dangerous to believe she can be something more.

Then Matt’s brother Luke makes a sudden return home, with a child of his own—and a request that will change all their lives. With a child’s welfare at stake, Matt must turn to Allison to teach him to let go of the past, open his eyes...and follow his heart.

Expectations. Whether spoken or unspoken, they make people’s lives difficult. In Virginia Kantra’s Carolina Home, both the hero and heroine have to deal with sets of expectations that complicate their lives in difficult ways.

[Nothing worth having ever comes easy, though, right?...]

Jun 1 2012 1:00pm

First Look: Erin McCarthy’s Jacked Up (June 5, 2012)

Jacked Up By Erin McCarthyErin McCarthy
Jacked Up
Berkley / $7.99 / June 5, 2012
She’s holding tight. He’s hanging loose.

Eve Monroe is a stock-car PR pro who puts her career first—until an on-track wardrobe malfunction reveals more than the sexy smile of jackman Nolan Ford. The video’s become an internet sensation, and it’s Eve’s job to calm the sponsors and put a spin on the unexpected exposure.

And they both have the same drive.

It may be a public relations job, but now that Eve’s seen what’s under Nolan’s crew suit, it’s gotten personal. After a few dates she has Nolan pretty revved up. If only she’d learn to relax and enjoy it. Nolan’s sure that the spontaneous birthday bash he’s throwing for Eve in Las Vegas should loosen her up. Somewhere between cocktails and a smoking-hot motel-room derby, it does more than that. Now Eve’s wrestling with feelings she never expected, as everything about her personal jackman gets harder than she ever imagined.

Though sex is an important part of a relationship, anybody who’s in one realizes that the most important things are the intangibles, the things one can’t quantify or qualify. Jacked Up by Erin McCarthy shows this in spades. Spicy, hot, and funny though it may be, the book tells the story of the heroine’s self discovery, spurred on by the support and understanding of the man with whom she’s involved.

[Self-discovery! Sounds...naughty!]