<i>Full Contact</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Full Contact: Exclusive Excerpt Sarah Castille "His jaw tightens and his body stills, like a predator about to spring." <i>Girl Underwater</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Girl Underwater: Exclusive Excerpt Claire Kells "This is your captain. Brace for impact." Now Win <i>This</i>: Sherrilyn Kenyon's <i>Instinct</i>! Now Win This: Sherrilyn Kenyon's Instinct! Team H & H Enter for a chance to win the premiere edition of Instinct. <i>Shadow of Doubt</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Shadow of Doubt: Exclusive Excerpt P.A. DePaul "The second his lips met hers she knew he was right."
From The Blog
April 1, 2015
5 Reasons to Read Beck Anderson’s Fix You
March 31, 2015
Girl Underwater: Exclusive Excerpt
Claire Kells
March 30, 2015
Reasons to Love Jill Shalvis's Animal Magnetism Series
March 29, 2015
Paranormal Romance Best Bets for March 2015
Jane Kriel
March 27, 2015
Best Reads of March 2015
Team H & H
Showing posts by: Valerie Bowman click to see Valerie Bowman's profile
Oct 26 2014 12:00pm

The Accidental Countess: Exclusive Excerpt

The Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman


For seven long years, Lady Cassandra Monroe has waited for the man of her dreams to return from the war. Unfortunately, he happens to be engaged to her flighty cousin. What Cass wouldn’t give to take her cousin’s place! When he mistakes Cass for Patience Bunbury, a fictitious friend her cousin has invented to escape social obligations…even with her future husband, Cass thinks this is her chance.


After defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, Captain Julian Swift is not quite ready to settle down and enter into his unwanted arranged marriage—especially when the real object of his affection turns out to be a beguiling beauty he meets at a party. Patience Bunbury is witty, independent, passionate…and, unbeknownst to him, the cousin of his current fiancée. When the truth about Cass comes out—and Julian discovers that their courtship is anything but accidental—will he surrender his heart to a woman who really is too good to be true?

Get a sneak peek of Valerie Bowman's The Accidental Countess (available October 28, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Chapter 1
London, early October 1815

“How can one attend the country house party of a person who does not exist?” Cassandra Monroe sat in her cousin Penelope’s drawing room, sipping tea and staring at the slightly older woman who had clearly lost her mind. Cass set her teacup aside and rubbed her temples as she spoke. The headache that had begun minutes ago was slowly turning into a full-blown megrim.

Lucy Hunt, the newly married Duchess of Claringdon and Cass’s best friend, sat next to her, also eagerly awaiting Penelope’s answer. The entire story made absolutely no sense. Neither of them was having much luck getting Pen to answer their questions about her elusive friend Patience.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of The Accidental Countess...]

Sep 21 2014 10:00am

Christmas Brides: Exclusive Excerpt from “Once Upon a Christmas Scandal”

Alexandra Hawkins, Suzanne Enoch, Elizabeth Essex and Valerie Bowman

The Christmas Brides Anthology

Relax on a silent night and dive into Christmas Brides, a lush historical holiday anthology featuring a brand-new story from USA Today bestselling author Alexandra Hawkins. And back by popular demand from last Christmas, previously published One Hot Scot, The Scandal Before Christmas, and It Happened Under the Mistletoe are back to deck the halls in this sensual Christmas collection.

One Hot Scot by Suzanne Enoch

Duncan Lenox lives surrounded by enemies, a MacLawry in a land of Campbells. But when an English beauty has nowhere else to turn, he feels obligated to help. Now that they must spend a night together in an abandoned cottage while a storm rages on, will their mutual passion save—or doom—them both?

Once Upon a Christmas Scandal by Alexandra Hawkins

Lady Ellen is outraged when she learns her dowry’s been increased by her dad, eager to draw every bachelor in England to her front door. So when Lord Swainsbury comes knocking, Ellen assumes he’s another dreadful fortune hunter. Little does she know that Swainsbury has completely fallen for her—body, heart, and soul…

The Scandal Before Christmas by Elizabeth Essex

Lieutenant Ian Worth needs a wife by Christmas. He has to find her, woo her, and wed her before he goes back to sea. Anne Lesley is a shy spinster with no prospects, so she accepts Ian’s hasty offer only for the security it will bring. But when a midwinter storm rolls in, things start to heat up between them…and they might just find true, honest-to-goodness love…

It Happened Under the Mistletoe by Valerie Bowman

Oliver Townsende intends to avoid the hordes of marriage-minded misses at a friend’s holiday party. When he meets Miss Cerian Blake, who’s dodging her own unwanted set of admirers, the two decide to join forces and fake an infatuation to keep their suitors at bay. But when mistletoe becomes involved, will their Christmastime prank turn into a love to last all seasons?

Get a sneak peek of the Christmas Brides anthology (available September 30, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt from the story “Once Upon a Christmas Scandal” by Alexandra Hawkins.

Her cheeks were a vivid pink that had nothing to do with the chill in the corridor as they walked back to the main house.

“How long had you been listening?” Derrick quietly asked, sensitive to the fact that Lord Netherley’s comment had upset her.

Lady Ellen halted in front of the closed door. She placed her hand over his to prevent him from opening it. “Long enough to understand that you are a good man.”

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

Jul 29 2014 2:00pm
Original Story

H&H Quickies #4: Valerie Bowman Presents a Prequel Scene to The Unlikely Lady

The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie BowmanToday we are over the moon to bring you an exclusive Quickie scene from Valerie Bowman, whose brand new series—The Playful Brides—began with The Unexpected Duchess in April.

Back in June, we asked you to offer suggestions (“prompts”) as inspiration for a short original scene, and you blew us away with a ton of great prompts.

Want to be alerted for our next Quickie? Become an H&H member and newsletter subscriber to get your quick fix, and all other romance news, reviews, and excerpts!

Valerie is here today to introduce you to her scene—along with two characters that are very familiar to fans of The Playful Brides series. Thanks to everyone who left a suggestion, because there were so many fantastic options:

Hi everyone! Many readers have written to tell me how much they love Jane and Garrett, two secondary characters from my latest novel, The Unexpected Duchess. Jane and Garrett have very little use for one another in the book but they do indeed get their own happily ever after next spring in the third book in my Playful Brides trilogy, The Unlikely Lady. I’ve had such a good time writing about these two that I thought it would be fun if I based my quickie on a scene that’s alluded to, but never shown, in The Unexpected Duchess—Garrett and Jane’s trip to the Bath Houses. So, without further ado, here is the quickie. I chose the prompts: pea-green waistcoat, a pair of red leather boots, and missing cravat (wink).


Bath, England
July 1815

“Oh, come now Upton. Must you dawdle?” Jane Lowndes rolled her eyes, her arms crossed tightly over her chest, her foot impatiently tapping along the stone steps leading to the Bath House.

“I’m hardly dawdling, Miss Lowndes. I’m merely not in the rush you seem to be. The Bath Houses have been here for centuries, I doubt they will crumble before I have a chance to exit the carriage.” Garrett Upton stuck his head and shoulders through the door to his coach and jumped to the ground. He straightened his hat and gloves, then turned to Miss Lowndes who had already been helped down by the footman who’d ridden with them. “Satisfied?” he asked her with a smirk.

[Continue on to read the full scene...]

Apr 10 2014 12:00pm

The Unexpected Duchess: Exclusive Excerpt


Lady Lucy Upton’s tongue may be too sharp to attract suitors but her heart is good, and when her painfully shy friend Cassandra needs help she devises a brilliant scheme to help her discourage an unwanted suitor, the Duke of Claringdon. Lucy will hide behind the hedgerow and tell Cass just what to say to discourage the Duke of Claringdon…but it turns out that he’s made of sterner stuff than either of them anticipated. And Lucy is shocked to discover that tangling with the tenacious man is the most fun she’s had in ages.


Lord Derek Hunt made a promise to his dying friend to marry the demure Cassandra, and for a man who wants nothing more than peace and quiet after the horrors of war, she’ll make the perfect bride. If only the impudent Miss Upton will let him court the girl! Doing battle is the last thing on his mind, but bantering with Lucy behind the bushes is too tempting to resist. And in The Unexpected Duchess, the spoils of this war just may be true love…

Get a sneak peek of Valerie Bowman's The Unexpected Duchess (available April 29, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapters 1 & 2.

Chapter 1
London, Late June 1815

Lady Lucy Upton blew a leaf away from her lips. A twig in her eye and a mouthful of foliage were the unfortunate by-products of having her head lodged in a hedgerow. Not to mention, it was a bit chilly outside tonight. But this had been her idea, after all, and she intended to see it through.

Lucy was secure in her position behind the bushes in the Chamberses’ garden just steps away from her dearest friend, Cassandra Monroe. There might be a ball going on inside the stylish town house, but out here they were quite alone … for the moment. Lucy pushed her head through the branches as far as she could and craned her neck to see Cass.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of The Unexpected Duchess...]

Dec 14 2013 1:00am
Original Story

“It Happened Under the Mistletoe”: A Holiday Story

As part of H&H's Hot for the Holidays program, we're thrilled to share a limited-time peek at 12 special holiday stories! All 12 e-novellas are on sale now (you may have seen us talk about this H&H-St. Martin's Press program before), but we're offering H&H members the exclusive chance to read the whole story for free—it's our gift to you. But here's the thing: Stories will be available for ONE DAY ONLY over the next two weeks, so grab a blanket, a mug of hot chocolate, and get reading before they disappear with a wink and a smile!

When Oliver Townsende escapes to his friend’s house for a Christmas party, he intends to avoid the hordes of marriage-minded misses who have been dogging his steps in London ever since he inherited a dukedom. He soon learns a bit of Yuletide peace and quiet is too much to ask for. When he encounters Miss Cerian Blake, who’s dodging her own unwanted set of admirers, the two decide to join forces and fake an infatuation to keep their suitors at bay. But when a bough of mistletoe becomes involved, will their Christmastime prank turn into a love to last all seasons?

“It Happened Under the Mistletoe” is no longer available to read on Heroes and Heartbreakers. Be sure and check out our stories section for more original stories and hot new excerpts from Heroes and Heartbreakers.

“It Happened Under the Mistletoe” Copyright © 2013 by Valerie Bowman.

Learn more about or order a copy of “It Happened Under the Mistletoe” by Valerie Bowman, available now:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes

Oct 3 2013 12:30pm

Secrets of a Scandalous Reality Show: Taping Say Yes to the Dress

Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage by Valerie BowmanToday we're delighted to welcome author Valerie Bowman to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Valerie's newest release, Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage, is the intriguing story of a woman accused of her husband's murder—and the man who comes to her defense. But Valerie has her own 'secret;' she's getting married soon, and she was picked to appear on the reality show Say Yes to the Dress to choose her wedding gown. She's here to talk about her time on-set. Thanks, Valerie!

This week I’m celebrating the release of the third historical romance novel in my Secret Brides trilogy with the tale of how I ended up on the reality TV show, Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta. Yesterday, I was at Romance at Random talking about how I gathered my posse and made it to the show. Today’s post is all about the taping of the show itself! 

The day of the taping dawned. We had to be at the bridal salon at 8am. Bridals by Lori, where the show is filmed, is an actual wedding boutique in Atlanta. TLC sets up their cameras in the store. It’s not on a sound stage or anything. There is a big sign at the front door that says something like, “A TV show is being filmed on these premises and you may be filmed in the background.” Interesting, no?

My posse and I arrived at 8am sharp and quickly realized why we were asked not to wear pink. The background of the interview room is pink so if you wore that color, you’d completely blend into the background and look like a talking head. After a quick wardrobe change for one of my friends, we were asked to sit on the actual couches in the waiting room that you see on the show.

[Go behind the scenes of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta...]

Sep 11 2013 12:00pm

Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage: Exclusive Excerpt

Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage by Valerie Bowman

A duchess awaiting trial for her vile husband's murder is the most delicious gossip the ton has heard in years. But for Kate Townsende, the woman in question, it could be a matter of life and death. And when a shrewd and handsome nobleman offers to publish her side of the story while arranging for a barrister to take her case, she's tempted by much more than the chance to defend herself.

James Bancroft, Viscount Medford, tells himself he's only interested in a bestselling pamphlet, but Kate's stubborn determination is captivating. Could the accused widow be telling the truth? At first, James isn't sure of anything besides his growing desire for her-but before long he's willing to risk much more than his reputation to make the infamous beauty his wife.

Get a sneak peek of Valerie Bowman's Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage (available October 1, 2013) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapters 1-3.

Chapter 1

The Tower of London, December 1816
The large metal door to her cell scraped open and Kate closed her eyes. She stepped forward, summoned from one cold dank cell into another. She had a visitor. Her first since she’d been taken to the gaol.

She opened her eyes. The harsh winter light filtered through the only window in the antechamber. The yeoman warder wore a blank expression on his face. He and the other guards always gave her the benefit of respect due her title. Whether they liked it or not.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage...]

Mar 26 2013 2:00pm

Author Valerie Bowman on Eloping to Gretna Green!

Secrets of a Runaway Bride by Valerie BowmanToday we're pleased to welcome author Valerie Bowman, also an H&H contributor, whose forthcoming novel Secrets of a Runaway Bride is out today! She's here to talk Gretna Green, Scotland, and what, exactly, makes it such an intriguing location for romance readers and writers alike... Welcome, Valerie!

Today I thought I’d give a little insight into a certain location. A location that plays a large part in my latest historical romance novel, Secrets of a Runaway Bride. A location rife with scandal and the litter of ruined reputations. A location just over the Scottish border from England, full of possibilities and danger. What is that location? The infamous town of Gretna Green, Scotland.

So, how exactly did a tiny town in Scotland become the focus of so much intrigue?

It all began with Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1754. When the English Parliament passed that act, it prohibited several things. Before the act went into effect, in England young men and women over the age of 16 (but younger than 21) were able to merely declare themselves married in front of witnesses. After the act was passed, couples in the throes of a passionate love affair had to hightail it to Scotland to have their quick (and unapproved) weddings. You see, in Scotland, a boy age 14 and a girl age 12 could marry (as opposed to the legal age of 21 in England and Wales). And again, all they had to do was declare themselves married in front of witnesses…and then get to the business of consummation, of course.

[That certainly simplifies things...]

Mar 5 2013 5:30pm

Secrets of a Runaway Bride: Exclusive Excerpt

Secrets of a Wedding Night by Valerie BowmanMiss Annie Andrews is finally free to marry the man she loves. With her overprotective sister out of the country on her honeymoon, nothing can prevent her flight to Gretna Green—nothing, that is, but an abduction by the wrong gentleman.

When Jordan Holloway, the Earl of Ashbourne, promised to look after his best friend's sister-in-law, he didn’t realize she would prove so difficult. But when he spirits her away to his country house to prevent her elopement, he discovers that the tempting beauty knows how to put up a fight. To make matters worse, he’s stuck playing the role of honorable protector...when what he really wants is to run away with her himself.

Get a sneak peek of Valerie Bowman's Secrets of a Runaway Bride (available March 26, 2013) with an excerpt of Chapters 1 & 2.

Chapter 1
London, Late September 1816

Annie Andrews was halfway up the side of Arthur Eggleston’s town house—scaling an oh-so-convenient and strong ivy vine—when the telltale clip-clop of a horse’s hooves stopped her. She squeezed her eyes shut. Oh, this was not good.

Despite the fact that she was in the alley at the back of the house and it was dark as pitch, she’d just been discovered. She knew it.

[Please log in or register to read a full excerpt of Secrets of a Runaway Bride...]

Dec 23 2012 3:00pm

Author Valerie Bowman’s “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” Regency Parody!

Secrets of a Runaway Bride by Valerie BowmanAuthor Valerie Bowman not only writes great books—Secrets of a Wedding Night has already been released, and watch for her Secrets of a Runaway Bride out in March, 2013)—but she is a regular H&H contributor and, it turns out, a fabulous parody-er! 

We're pleased to run a special version of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” she wrote for She Loves Hot Reads. Thanks, Valerie!

To the tune of “Walking In a Winter Wonderland”…

Dukes are hot; earls are to–oo.
Viscounts make me want to dro-ool.
If he wears a cra-vat, he’s super hot.
Oh, Re-gen-cy, his-tor-i-cal romance.

Make a be-et in White’s bo-ok.
Run off and kiss, inside a no-ok.
A romance novel for me, must be a Re-gen-cy.
Oh, Re-gen-cy, his-tor-i-cal romance.

[You know you wanna sing it...]

Oct 2 2012 1:30pm

Stuck in the Past: Great Historical Romance Debuts in 2012

Heiress Without a Cause by Sara RamseyWhile contemporary and erotic romances are getting more of readers' attention, historical romance continues to deliver, with more and more new authors busting out their dance cards and writing dashing heroines and delicious heroes. Here are some of historical romance's most auspicious debuts:


The year began hot and heavy with Sara Ramsey’s Heiress Without a Cause. Who doesn’t love an actress heroine? The story is about a proper chaperone by day who masquerades as an acclaimed actress by night. Lady Madeleine Vaillant will do anything to guard her secret talent—including becoming the mistress of the most notorious rake in London. But when the duke demands her heart, will she give up her dreams for a chance at love? The rest of Ramsey’s Muses of Mayfair series includes a writer and a painter. Delicious!

[An actress, a writer, and a painter walk into a bar...]

Sep 24 2012 3:00pm

Author Valerie Bowman on Regency Weddings

Secrets of a Wedding Night by Valerie BowmanToday, we're thrilled to have Author Valerie Bowman (and regular H&H contributor!) at Heroes and Heartbreakers. Valerie's Secrets of a Wedding Night is released tomorrow, and is a delicious Regency-set historical which author Lisa Kleypas says is “too delightful to miss.” Thanks for joining us, Valerie!

Since my debut Regency romance novel, Secrets of a Wedding Night, has a lot of mentions of weddings, what better topic to discuss on H&H today than the fascinating subject of Regency weddings?

Unfortunately, weddings during the Regency were not always the grand affairs we have today. Instead, they were (by law) performed in the morning and usually only the family and very close friends of the bride and groom were in attendance. Often the bride simply wore her best dress, though Princess Charlotte wore a grand concoction of silver (see picture below). White was popular, but apparently so was blue. Veils made a comeback in this period as well and long white kid gloves were essential.

[You've gotta have the gloves!...]

Sep 12 2012 5:30pm

Many Different Points of View on...Point of View in Romance Novels

Couple’s legs image by grodt1987 via FlickrPoint of view (POV). When you get a bunch of writers together, those three letters can start a good, old-fashioned donnybrook. These days it seems everyone’s got an opinion on the subject. I’ve even seen readers mention it in book reviews. It’s a topic I find fascinating since the trend lately is to have a very rigid, controlled POV, even if there are multiple POVs in the story itself. I, personally, love a good head hop if it’s done well and with some finesse. Changing POVs within a sentence or paragraph = no. Changing POVs in a chapter or scene (without the obligatory scene break!) = I’m on board.

Here’s the thing. I’m a fan of some old school romance novels. Ms. Judith McNaught, whom I consider incomparable, can head hop like nobody’s business and I think it’s done so well, I don’t mind one bit. In fact, when I first began to study writing and was told OVER AND OVER again by everyone how I MUST restrict my POVs, I went back and read several McNaught books to see how she did it, if it bothered me (now that I “knew better”), and if not, why not.

[The results are in...]

Aug 23 2012 10:30am

Pouring Your Heart Out: The Angstiest Scene in Judith McNaught’s Whitney, My Love

Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaughtSettle in. Today we’re talking angst. You know the scene that knocks your heart into your throat and solidly lodges it there? The scene that makes your eyes scour the page faster as you worry for the characters? The scene you can read again and again and still be drawn in every last time? Yeah, that scene.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE me some angst. And my absolute favorite angsty scene OF ALL TIME is the scene in Judith McNaught’s classic Whitney, My Love when Whitney takes a chance and (unannounced) visits Clayton at his estate in an attempt to win him back. When Clay finally arrives, he’s got another woman with him!

(Bites nails)

Clayton’s brother, Stephen, convinces Whitney to stay. At one point, their mother even gets involved, squeezing Whitney’s hand under the table to demonstrate her support. This is all done in multiple POVs, I might add (and all the better for it, in my opinion. But don’t get me started on POVs…)

[Get with the program, Clayton, before the angst kills us!...]

Jun 28 2012 5:00pm

Great Expectations: Downton Abbey Season 3

Lady Mary and Matthew CrowleyI love Downton Abbey! The wide pans of people walking through all the gorgeous rooms of the manor house, the to-die-for clothing, the upstairs/downstairs plot lines, the sisterly snark, Isis, the dog, and oh, the intro music.

And I simply miss the show. The last angst-tastic episode aired months ago and since then I’ve found myself daydreaming about what they’re going to DO with all our beloved favorites.

So, here my little “wish-list” of plot twists and turns I’d like to see on Season Three of Downton Abbey. Are you listening, Julian Fellowes?

[Opinions abound! Not all of them popular! Do you feel the same?...]