Halloween 2014 Sweepstakes! Halloween 2014 Sweepstakes! Team H & H Pick your pleasure... enter for a chance to win a paranormal and/or erotic prize! <i>Treasure on Lilac Lane</i>: Deleted Scene Treasure on Lilac Lane: Deleted Scene Donna Alward "His gaze settled on her and his dark eyes seemed to challenge her..." <i>Her Lone Wolf</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Her Lone Wolf: Exclusive Excerpt Paige Tyler "It was all he could do not to bury his nose in the curve of her neck..." <i>His Wicked Seduction</i>: Exclusive Excerpt His Wicked Seduction: Exclusive Excerpt Lauren Smith "Lucien slid his hand down over her bottom, catching her in his grasp..."
From The Blog
October 31, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Crazy/Scary Hot
Team H & H
October 31, 2014
H&H Debriefing: Paranormal Favorites
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October 30, 2014
Best Reads of October 2014
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Captain Marvel Movie in the Works!
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Showing posts by: Wendy the Super Librarian click to see Wendy the Super Librarian's profile
Thu
Oct 23 2014 4:30pm

First Look: RaeAnne Thayne’s Snow Angel Cove (October 28, 2014)

Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne ThayneRaeAnne Thayne
Snow Angel Cove
HQN / October 28, 2014 / $7.99 print, digital

Nothing short of a miracle can restore Eliza Hayward's Christmas cheer. The job she pinned her dreams on has gone up in smoke—literally—and now she's stuck in an unfamiliar, if breathtaking, small town. Precariously close to being destitute, Eliza needs a hero, but she's not expecting one who almost runs her down with his car!

Rescuing Eliza is pure instinct for tech genius Aidan Caine. At first, putting the renovation of his lakeside guest lodge in Eliza's hands assuages his guilt—until he sees how quickly he could fall for her. Having focused solely on his business for years, he never knew what his life was missing before Eliza, but now he's willing to risk his heart on a yuletide romance that could lead to forever.

It was during my reading of RaeAnne Thayne's Snow Angel Cove that I had an epiphany. I get it. I finally get why small town contemporary romances are such a big deal. I understand now why they are so insanely popular and new small town-set series seem to hit the shelves every other week. It’s the comfort factor. The Calgon-Take-Me-Away feeling that reading stories like this one can induce. You know what reading Snow Angel Cove reminded me of? Those cozy made-for-TV holiday movies that begin to overrun The Hallmark Channel after Thanksgiving.

[No turkeys here!]

Thu
Oct 16 2014 3:00pm

Brain Candy: Not-Your-Usual Historicals for October 2014

Jazz Baby by Tea CooperTrick or treat, new historicals cannot be beat! In between watching the leaves turn, unpacking your warm winter clothes, sipping apple cider, and pilfering all the mini-Snickers bars from your kids’ Halloween candy haul, why not check out some of the new not-your-usual historicals that are hitting retailers this month? Remember, costume and dress come in all sorts of styles, not just empire waist.

1920s!

Jazz Baby by Téa Cooper

Sydney is no place for the fainthearted – five shillings for a twist of snow, a woman for not much more, and a bullet if you look sideways at the wrong person.

Dolly Bowman is ready and willing to take on all the brash, bustling city has to offer. After all it is the 1920s, a time for a girl to become a woman and fulfil her dreams. Turning her back on her childhood, she takes up a position working as a housemaid while she searches for her future.

World War I flying ace Jack Dalton knows he’s luckier than most. He’s survived the war with barely a scratch, a couple of astute business decisions have paid off, and he’s set for the high life.

But a glimpse of a girl that he had forgotten, from a place he’s tried to escape suddenly sets all his plans awry. Try as he might he can’t shake the past, and money isn’t enough to pay the debts he’s incurred.

Cooper writes for Escape Publishing, a digital imprint with Harlequin’s Australia. Known for her historicals set in Australia, she continues to diversify, having set stories in rural locales and this time out, the bustling city of Sydney.

[You lead, we'll follow...]

Thu
Oct 2 2014 9:30am

First Look: Sarah M. Anderson’s Tempted by a Cowboy (October 7, 2014)

Tempted by a Cowboy by Sarah M. AndersonSarah M. Anderson
Tempted by a Cowboy (Beaumont Heirs)
Harlequin Desire / October 7, 2014 / $5.25 print / $4.99 digital

How can she resist the cowboy's smile when it promises so much pleasure?

Phillip Beaumont likes his drinks strong and his women easy. So why is he flirting with his new horse trainer, Jo Spears, who challenges him at every turn? Phillip wants nothing but the chase…until the look in Jo's haunted hazel eyes makes him yearn for more….

Sure, Jo's boss is as jaded and stubborn as Sun, the multimillion-dollar stallion she was hired to train. But it isn't long before she starts spending days and nights with the sexy cowboy. Maybe Sun isn't the only male on the Beaumont ranch worth saving!

Given that I read a lot of it, I’m often asked what makes a good category romance. Oh sure, I could wax poetic for a while, give you a laundry list of do’s and don’ts—but the simple answer? I know it when I read it. Tempted by a Cowboy is the second book in Sarah M. Anderson’s series about a family-owned brewing dynasty (think Anheuser-Busch, right down to the horses) and it’s a “I know it when I read it” kind of story. The kind of story that runs a lot deeper than any back cover copy could hope to convey.

[We're tempted, too!]

Wed
Sep 24 2014 9:30am

Hitting the Books: Not-Your-Usual Historicals for September 2014

September means back to school time, and what better way to celebrate than with a bit of history that takes you off the beaten Almack’s path. The variety of settings is a welcome sight this month with a list that includes new voices and established veterans.

1920s!

Night of the Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn

On the verge of a stilted life as an aristocrat's wife, Poppy Hammond does the only sensible thing—she flees the chapel in her wedding gown. Assisted by the handsome curate who calls himself Sebastian Cantrip, she spirits away to her estranged father's quiet country village, pursued by the family she left in uproar. But when the dust of her broken engagement settles and Sebastian disappears under mysterious circumstances, Poppy discovers there is more to her hero than it seems.

With only her feisty lady's maid for company, Poppy secures employment and travels incognita—east across the seas, chasing a hunch and the whisper of clues. Danger abounds beneath the canopies of the silken city, and Poppy finds herself in the perilous sights of those who will stop at nothing to recover a fabled ancient treasure. Torn between allegiance to her kindly employer and a dashing, shadowy figure, Poppy will risk it all as she attempts to unravel a much larger plan—one that stretches to the very heart of the British government, and one that could endanger everything, and everyone, that she holds dear.

According to early review coverage, Raybourn brings in past characters to neatly tie this story to previous releases.

[Like sitting down with old friends...]

Tue
Sep 2 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Rosanne Bittner’s Desperate Hearts (September 2, 2014)

Desperate Hearts by Roseanne BittnerRosanne Bittner
Desperate Hearts
Sourcebooks / September 2, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital

SHE'S A WOMAN WITH A SECRET
Elizabeth Wainwright is on the run. Accused of a murder she didn't commit, she has no choice but to cut ties with her old life and flee West. The last thing she wants is attention, but when her stagecoach is attacked, she suddenly finds herself under the fierce protection of one of Montana's famed vigilantes...whether she likes it or not.
HE'S A MAN WITH A CODE
Lawman Mitch Brady is sworn to uphold justice in the wild lands of 1860's Montana. He's never met a man he's feared, and he's never met a woman more desperately in need of his help. Something's shaken the secretive Elizabeth, but as he gets to know the beautiful city belle, he finds the only thing he wants more than her safety...is her trust.

By this point we’re all aware, and will concede the fact, that small town contemporary romances have been a hot ticket for the last couple of years.  However, what hasn’t been discussed to quite the degree is that the trend has also been heavily influential on the historical western sub-genre.  Cutesy small towns with white picket fences, where the good townsfolk go to church every Sunday, where there are barn raisings, picnics, July 4th celebrations and a hunky town lawman who will inevitably fall in love with the spinster schoolmarm.  Nothing wrong with these sorts of westerns, per se, but God bless Rosanne Bittner for keeping it old school.  Bittner built her career writing lawless westerns.  Westerns set in dissolute areas where the local law consisted of a sturdy tree and a hangman’s noose.  Where the characters would go to church on Sunday assuming there was a church to go to and not six feet of snow outside the front door of their one-room cabin.

[Thank God for cramped quarters though, right?]

Sat
Aug 30 2014 1:30pm

Mad Dogs and Englishmen: Not-Your-Usual Historicals for August 2014

Slave Girl by Lisa CachHere in the States, August is the last month of freedom before the kids go back to school and the parents can celebrate a return to normalcy. It’s also the month where we all try to grab that last gasp of summertime fun before the weather turns cooler and we settle in for what we hope will not be a long, hard winter.

Why not fill your beach bag and/or your favorite digital content device with some tasty not-your-usual historical offerings? While there are a bumper crop of cowboys this month (yeehaw!), there’s still plenty of variety to tickle even the most fickle of fancies.

Ancient Rome!

Slave Girl by Lisa Cach

A sex slave who’s never been touched… National bestselling author Lisa Cach spins an erotic, passionate novel about a young Roman Empire slave who’s intended to become her king’s concubine—until a rugged barbarian prince takes her heart…and more.

Lovely Nimia is a slave to King Sygarius, who’s grooming her to be his consort as soon as she reaches full womanhood. And that time is very close. Nimia is forced to attend shocking lessons in the erotic arts; lessons that leave her body aroused and her mind conflicted. Because while she’s attracted to Sygarius’s power and eroticism, her spirit rebels at being his slave.

Then one of Sygarius’s allies comes to visit. Smart and ambitious, Clovis burns to take over Sygarius’s kingdom—and the beautiful Nimia. And though her virginity is meant for Sygarius, Clovis takes it with her enthusiastic consent.

When Sygarius learns that she is no longer a virgin, Nimia flees for her life. But can she find Clovis before the wrath of Sygarius—and imminent death—finds her first?

[+More new and unusual historicals...]

Wed
Jul 16 2014 4:45pm

With a Bang! Not Your Usual Historicals for July 2014

Erin's Gift by Nancy FraserHere in the States, July means summer vacations, barbeques, July 4th fireworks and soaking up the sun. This month’s crop of not-your-usual historicals certainly gives historical romance fans plenty of options for time traveling while lounging on the beach or by the pool. Whether you want to escape the Regency ballroom in favor of Egypt or India, or fall in love against the backdrop of World War I, July offers a little something for everybody.

1920s!

Erin’s Gift by Nancy Fraser
Prohibition Era, Chicago

Caught in a raid at an illegal speakeasy, good girl Erin O’Mara loses everything: her job, her home, and her reputation. Handsome and so out of her league attorney Seth Harrison, her best friend’s brother, rescues her not once, but twice. He bails her out of jail and offers her a job as nanny for his son. Seth has no intention of falling in love after the death of his wife. But despite his better judgment, he can’t help being drawn to Erin’s innocence. This Christmas, letting go of the past and embracing the future may be the greatest present of all.

Originally published in last year’s multi-author anthology A Very Scandalous Holiday, Erin’s Gift is now available for purchase as a stand-alone novella. At the time of this posting, it was also free at various digital retail outlets.

[Oh, unusual and cost-effective?]

Mon
Jun 30 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Jami Davenport’s Time of Possession (June 30, 2014)

Jami Davenport
Time of Possession (Seattle Lumberjacks)
Boroughs Publishing Group / June 30, 2014

Supposedly undersized for the NFL, Brett Gunnels went off to do a stint in the US Army right out of high school. Returning damaged yet stronger and more determined than ever to prove himself, he was picked last in the draft. Mr. Irrelevant, they called him. The last few years as a backup quarterback have given him no opportunity to compete for the starting job. That’s why he has a chip on his shoulder the size of Puget Sound.

Estelle Harris is engaged to a man she doesn't love, working a job she hates, and fooling everyone including herself in the process. Her love of animals is the only thing that gives her purpose—a love she shares the Lumberjacks’ reclusive quarterback. And then their mutual friendship turns a hot, dark, forbidden corner and there's no going back.

In 1993, fighting for a chance to go to the playoffs, the Buffalo Bills found themselves losing to the Houston Oilers 35-3 at halftime. Not only was star quarterback, Jim Kelly, on the sidelines with an injury, but Buffalo’s star running back and linebacker were also out of the game. Needless to say, the stadium didn’t sell out that day, the game was blacked out locally, and Buffalo’s bid for another bite at the elusive Super Bowl apple seemed doomed. Back-up quarterback, Frank Reich, didn’t get the memo, however, so when the dust settled, Buffalo won the game 41-38, earning their way into the playoffs. Frank Reich is a legend in western New York, and the story of that comeback game is one for the ages. Frank Reich probably hasn’t paid for a meal in Buffalo for the last 20 years and now he’s a romance hero—I’m not sure if Jami Davenport considered this real life game when plotting the romance for Lumberjack’s back-up quarterback, Brett Gunnels, but the similarities are certainly there.

[Is there a tight end involved?]

Wed
Jun 11 2014 4:30pm

Colorful Bouquet: Not-Your-Usual Historicals for June 2014

The Right Wife by Beverly BartonI love compiling these lists of unusual historicals every month because I never know exactly what I’m going to find. Some months are slower, and others, like June, seem to offer a little bit of everything. This month covers a gamut, from late-19th-century Alabama to Henry VIII!

American-Set!

The Right Wife by Beverly Barton

1885. All of Margaret Campbell's hopes for the future lie in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Since the death of her sharecropper father, eighteen-year-old Maggie has no resources and few allies, aside from the relatives who've agreed to take her in. With luck, she might yet make an upright gentleman of her brother, and a real lady of her rebellious little sister. And perhaps, once her siblings are settled, she'll find a decent, hardworking man to marry. But those plans are jeopardized the moment she meets Aaron Stone.

Effortlessly charming, Aaron is building an empire in the South. Maggie knows he wants the right kind of wife to overcome the shadows surrounding his birth—someone like the well-connected widow he's been courting. Someone a million miles from a penniless, outspoken sharecropper's daughter. But neither jealousy, family secrets, nor long-held prejudices will keep Maggie from following her heart. . .

[+More new and unusual historicals...]

Sat
May 17 2014 12:00pm

May We Interest You in Some Historicals? May 2014 Not-Your-Usual Historicals Recommendations

No Place for an Angel by Gail WhitikerSpring has sprung and as all manner of flowers begin to bloom so do a variety of unusual historicals this merry month of May. Heroines that are actresses, mail-order brides, brothel madams, and World War I nurses provide an interesting bouquet of romantic possibilities!

England, With a Twist!

Actress Heroine!

No Place for an Angel by Gail Whitiker

“I am not an angel: only a fallen woman forced to turn to the stage.”

In the eyes of society, famous actress Catherine Jones is the virginal Angel of London. Her spotless reputation is essential if she's ever to get her son back from his overbearing grandparents. But her secret desire for the dashing Lord Valbourg could threaten to destroy everything she's worked so hard for….

The moment he hears Catherine sing, Valbourg is intoxicated. As guardian for his newly orphaned nephew, a dalliance with an actress is out of the question. With so much at risk, can these two burdened hearts find happiness in each other's arms?

[So, what's the next act...?]

Thu
May 15 2014 9:30am

First Look: Amara Royce’s Always a Stranger (May 15, 2014)

Amara Royce
Always a Stranger
eKensington / May 15, 2014 / $15.00 print / $4.99 digital

An international affair, London's Great Exhibition has taken the city by storm. As its newest Royal Commissioner, Lord Skyler Ridgemont must ensure the performers are properly contracted. Among them is the delicate and graceful Hanako Sumaki. Draped in vivid silk robes, Hanako's exotic Japanese fan dance captivates Skyler-and he longs to learn more about her...

But Hanako's enigmatic employer keeps his exquisite charge very close. The consummate artist, she shows the handsome nobleman many faces, but never her true heart, which holds a desperate secret. When Skyler learns the real reason Hanako has been brought to London, he will risk his entire world to win her trust-and save her from losing both body and soul. It's a feat that will require the type of courage only love can give...

All genre fiction, by its very definition, relies on some sort of formula. Killers are caught, quests are accomplished, and couples live happily ever after. What makes genre fiction truly interesting is when an author can take these formulas and spin them around unconventional characters. There is nothing quite like an outsider, a character who does not quite fit in to any niche, breaking free and being the champion in their own story.

[Outsiders make great heroines!]

Thu
May 1 2014 9:30am

First Look: Deeanne Gist’s Fair Play (May 6, 2014)

Fair Play by Deeanne GistDeanne Gist
Fair Play
Howard / May 6, 2014 / $15.99 print & $11.99 digital

Saddled with a man’s name, the captivating Billy Jack Tate makes no apologies for taking on a man’s profession. As a doctor at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, she is one step closer to having her very own medical practice—until Hunter Scott asks her to give it all up to become his wife.

Hunter is one of the elite. A Texas Ranger and World’s Fair guard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character, and skill. Hailed as the toughest man west of any place east, he has no patience for big cities and women who think they belong anywhere but home…

Despite their difference of opinion on the role of women, Hunter and Billy find a growing attraction between them—until Hunter discovers an abandoned baby in the corner of a White City exhibit. He and Billy team up to make sure this foundling isn’t left in the slums of Chicago with only the flea-riddled, garbage-infested streets for a playground. As they fight for the underprivileged children in the Nineteenth Ward, an entire Playground Movement is birthed. But when the Fair comes to an end, one of them will have to give up their dream.

Will Billy exchange her doctor’s shingle for the domesticated role of a southern wife, or will Hunter abandon the wide open spaces of home for a life in the “gray city,” a woman who insists on being the wage earner, and a group of ragamuffins who need more than a playground for breathing space?

I like my romance reading to feature all the colors of the sensuality rainbow. I’ve been known to read a sizzling hot erotic romance only to turn around and make my next read be something gentle and sweet, where the hero’s hands do not stray below the heroine’s shoulders. Inspirational romance scratches two itches for me, neither of which have anything to do with God or religion. First, I like reading a gentler story on occasion and two, inspirational historical romance features some dynamite history. Deeanne Gist has written about heroines who are telephone operators, ladies maids, and now with her new novel, Fair Play, she gives us a woman doctor trying to start her own practice, set against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

[All's Fair in love?...]

Fri
Apr 4 2014 9:30am

April Showers: Not-Your-Usual-Historicals for April 2014

It Had to Be You by Delynn RoyerAs the longest, coldest winter in recent memory emits a last gasp, we welcome April with a spring in our step and a song in our hearts. A new crop of not-usual historicals bloom this month, offering readers some interesting variety. A plucky girl reporter, a passion that nearly consumes Salem, Massachusetts, and a bookseller hero to make us swoon are just a few of the intriguing offerings.

The Roaring '20s!

It Had to Be You by Delynn Royer

New York City, 1924

Determined to pursue her dream of becoming a crime reporter, heiress Trixie Frank believes she's off to a running start when she lands a job at the most successful tabloid in Manhattan. Unfortunately, her high hopes fade fast when she's assigned to the rewrite desk.

Sean Costigan is a demoted homicide detective on the commissioner's blacklist. The last thing he needs complicating his life is a perky debutante with delusions of becoming the next great American journalist. Too bad she happens to hold one of the keys to solving his latest case, the Central Park murder of a notorious gangster. The other key? Sean's childhood sweetheart, the victim's widow, who has gone missing.

Sean soon has more trouble with dames than any good man deserves. But that's the least of his worries. When he suspects deadly corruption within his own department, it's not just his and Trixie's careers that depend on finding the killer. It's their lives.

[Outside of the box is where these books live...]

Fri
Mar 14 2014 9:30am

First Look: Karen Templeton’s More Than She Expected (March 18, 2014)

More Than She Expected by Karen TempletonKaren Templeton
More Than She Expected
Harlequin / March 18, 2014 (print); April 1, 2014 (digital) / $5.50 print, $4.99 digital

Neighbor, handyman and…husband? One woman finds her heart's desire right in her own backyard in award-winning author Karen Templeton's newest addition to her popular miniseries Jersey Boys! 

He's just a friend! is the mantra pregnant Laurel Kent lives by while pretending not to stare at sexy Tyler Noble, the gorgeous neighbor who's been all-too-kindly playing Mr. Fix-It in her house. After all, she needs the help more than she cares to admit—her sharp-tongued grandmother is her only family. But it's getting nearly impossible to ignore the sparks and butterflies she feels in her tummy every time he smiles at her…and that's not the baby talking! 

It's ironic to Tyler that he's repairing the fence separating his yard from Laurel's when all he wants is zero barriers between them! Sure, she's pregnant, and no, she insists she's not looking for Husband #2. But he knows if she'd give him a chance, he could prove that he's the missing piece needed to complete her new family…. 

Romance readers constantly get called into question for their reading choices. Every book published is escapist fluff, ergo all romance readers are so worn down by reality that they need this genre to give their pathetic little lives meaning. Category romance readers get this sort of nonsense from both camps though—non-romance readers and fellow romance fans who cannot fathom why you’re reading a book about a sheikh. Category romance does play upon certain tropes and a lot of them do have a certain element of escapism to them. Royal characters, sheikhs, secret babies, amnesia plots, hunky cowboys—they are all staples of the category universe and I love every single one of them. But the category books none of those naysayers ever seem to know about? Those are the books Karen Templeton writes.

[What makes them so distinct?...]

Wed
Mar 12 2014 9:30am

Thank You for Being a Friend: Not-Your-Usual-Historicals for March 2014

Love's Revenge by Joan AveryEvery month I scour for the new releases for historical romances that offer up readers something a little different. Some months are a boon, and some months feature only a few select titles. When I started this post for March, I found myself getting smacked in the face with only a few titles. Surely, that’s not all there is? Surely, there must be more? I took my quandary, my disappointment, directly to Twitter—where lo and behold my prayers were answered. Yes, there was more! I was looking for love in all the wrong places, and like all trusted friends should do, Twitter was there to hold my hand and offer me advice. March isn’t a lamb, March is a lion! Here her roar!

American-Set!

Love’s Revenge by Joan Avery
St. Louis, Missouri, 1879

Heiress Kate Barker thought she’d met the man of her dreams the night the mysterious English viscount swept her off her feet at the masquerade. Until his real identity is revealed—the cold, calculating scoundrel is really there to rip her world apart.

The only things that have kept widower Stephen Worth alive for the past two years are the pomise of revenge against the man who framed him for murder and the love for Andy, his son, who was taken by the beautiful but vexing sister of his dead wife. He didn’t know what to expect when he met Kate, but it wasn’t undeniable desire.

[Always the perfect unexpected reaction!]

Mon
Mar 10 2014 2:00pm

The “I Can’t Fix You” Moment in Donna Alward’s Her Rancher Rescuer

The Rancher Rescuer by Donna AlwardThere is a moment in every woman’s life where she comes to the realization that no matter how much she loves, how much she pours her soul into a relationship, no matter how hard she may try, she cannot fix what doesn’t want to be fixed. If someone does not want to change, if someone does not want help, there is nothing you can do to will it so. Sure, your love for that person might be a driving force behind them wanting to change, but just you being there and loving hard enough isn’t all it takes. The other party has to want it too, and if they don’t? Sometimes the only thing you can do is let go.

That’s what Amy Wilson realizes about Jack Shepherd in Donna Alward’s latest, Her Rancher Rescuer. Living in a small town, and being single, Amy’s dating pool has been the size of a wading pond. Naturally she’s dated most of the eligible bachelors in town, and naturally none of those relationships worked out. So now it’s “poor, desperate Amy who cannot find a man.” She’s sick of it, tired of it, and knows that if she wants any sort of life she needs to get out of the rut she’s in, which means going to work at Jack Shepherd’s Montana ranch, which doubles as a corporate retreat.

[A change could do you good...]

Sun
Mar 9 2014 11:00am

Shipping Sunday: Justified’s Raylan/Boyd

Boyd and Raylan in JustifiedThere’s nothing like a smooth talker. That guy who always knows the right thing to say and has a way of saying it that will make a girl lose any small shred of common sense that she’s still hanging on to. Oh sure, guys with movie star looks are all well and good—but a man who can turn a phrase? That’s the stuff of true love right there, and it’s what has turned millions of women on to Justified. Half the fun of watching the show is waiting for those few breathless moments when the writers are going to finally, mercifully, put villain Boyd Crowder, and U.S. Deputy Marshal, Raylan Givens on screen together. When that happens the dialogue is fantastic, the chemistry is electric, and you begin to wonder why these guys are even bothering with the women in their lives. Whatever they think they may have with their respective female partners, it’s a pale shadow of what happens when these two guys get into the same room together. C’mon Raylan and Boyd; just admit it to yourselves and the TV viewing public. You’ll never be as good with anybody else as you are with each other.

[+5 more ridiculously hot pics...]

Fri
Feb 21 2014 3:03pm

Be My Valentine: Not-Your-Usual Historicals for February 2014

City of Jasmine by Deanna RaybournThanks to Valentine's Day, February is the month when all our fancies turn to romance. In reality, a lot of us are tired of being buried under snow drifts and thinking about murdering a certain groundhog in Pennsylvania. While many of us may have the winter blues, why take a trip to a more inspiring locale, courtesy of some historical romances that take you off the beaten path?

The 1920s!

City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn

Famed aviatrix Evangeline Starke never expected to see her husband, adventurer Gabriel Starke, ever again. They had been a golden couple, enjoying a whirlwind courtship amid the backdrop of a glittering social set in prewar London until his sudden death with the sinking of the Lusitania. Five years later, beginning to embrace life again, Evie embarks upon a flight around the world, collecting fame and admirers along the way. In the midst of her triumphant tour, she is shocked to receive a mysterious—and recent—photograph of Gabriel, which brings her ambitious stunt to a screeching halt.

With her eccentric aunt Dove in tow, Evie tracks the source of the photo to the ancient City of Jasmine, Damascus. There she discovers that nothing is as it seems. Danger lurks at every turn, and at stake is a priceless relic, an artifact once lost to time and so valuable that criminals will stop at nothing to acquire it—even murder. Leaving the jeweled city behind, Evie sets off across the punishing sands of the desert to unearth the truth of Gabriel's disappearance and retrieve a relic straight from the pages of history.

Along the way, Evie must come to terms with the deception that parted her from Gabriel and the passion that will change her destiny forever...

[But wait, there's more!...]

Tue
Feb 11 2014 10:30am

The “Fighting Takes the Edge Off” Scene in Michelle Willingham’s To Tempt A Viking

To Tempt a Viking by Michelle WillinghamThere is nothing quite as tragic as unrequited love; when one person yearns for another and circumstances invariably end up keeping them apart. In Michelle Willingham’s recent Forbidden Vikings duet (To Sin with a Viking and To Tempt a Viking), she took the idea of an arranged marriage that was miserable and slowly dying. Eventually the couple realizes that this relationship is no good, a reality that must be acknowledged after they land in Ireland and are separately kidnapped.

The husband ends up falling in love with an Irish peasant (in To Sin with a Viking). After he is reunited with his wife, Elena, they try to start over, but it is too late. While he has not said anything, and is determined to do the honorable thing by staying true to his vows, Elena knows the truth: their marriage is over. She sets her husband free, which is the right thing to do, but it does not make her feel like any less of a failure. She was terribly unhappy in the union as well, but it doesn’t change the fact that, in her mind, her inability to be the wife her husband needed and wanted is a black mark on her soul.

[Enter another sexy Viking, Ragnar...]

Thu
Feb 6 2014 10:30am

First Look: Maisey Yates’s Crazy Stupid Sex (February 11, 2014)

Crazy Stupid Sex by Maisey YatesMaisey Yates
Crazy Stupid Sex
Cosmo Red Hot Reads from Harlequin / February 11, 2014 / $3.99 digital

A multimillionaire by the age of 27, app developer Evie James is clueless when it comes to hooking up. So she does what any self-respecting geek-girl looking to get laid would do: she programs her own app for landing a hot guy. After a few failed attempts at making contact, beta testing leads her to Caleb Anderson.

Caleb is used to female attention, but finds himself attracted to Evie because of her unique brand of awkward. A master of one-night stands, he's more than happy to show her what she's been missing in the bedroom. But he quickly discovers that one night with a woman like Evie will never be enough for him…

I’ll admit that I was leery when I first read the description of Maisey Yates's Crazy Stupid Sex—Oh great, just what we need in contemporary romance, yet another socially awkward heroine who gets schooled in the ways of seduction by a filthy rich playboy hero. Lather, rinse, yawn, repeat. Also the dreaded “smart heroine” description was thrown about.

So often when “smart” is used to describe the heroine that is code for until the hero gives her spectacular orgasms and then she’s going to forget all about her great career and morph into a pod person. What does Yates’s heroine do? She stays awesome, that’s what.

[Now that's what I like to hear...]