<i>Infamous</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Infamous: Exclusive Excerpt Jenny Holiday "Hunter is all Jesse can think about..." <i>Courtly Pleasures</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Courtly Pleasures: Exclusive Excerpt Erin Kane Spock "Can they create a second chance at love before it’s too late?" <i>Roomies</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Roomies: Exclusive Excerpt Christina Lauren "Will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?" <i>A Duke in Shining Armor</i>: Exclusive Excerpt A Duke in Shining Armor: Exclusive Excerpt Loretta Chase "So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him...?"
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May 11 2016 4:00pm

Get the Jump on Spring Romantic Suspense

Taking Fire by Cindy Gerard

My Year of the Monkey has turned out to be one steeped in eight balls. We sold our house, are building a new one; our son is graduating from high school and getting ready for college soon; my mom had back surgery; we went to Barbados in February and will go to Costa Rica in June. Oh, yeah—and we have to move into the new house. Whew! Most days I meet myself coming and going. Life is nearly as heart-pounding and stressful as the romantic suspense novels I love, but without the assassins. Thank God for great books, though, because it means I can manage the crazy real-life situations, and then escape into a world of intrigue and danger where the hot-ass heroes swoop in and save the day.

Here’s a roundup of some really great reads:

Taking Fire by Cindy Gerard 

This adventurous suspense reminded me of Speed, where the action exploded off the first page and never let up. The action is intense, the romance intense, and the betrayal devastating.

[Uh oh...]

May 4 2016 3:30pm

An Intimate Look at First Person with J.C. Cliff’s Undaunted Men

Quinn by J.C. Cliff

Most of the time, I find books written in first-person to be a little unnerving. It’s almost too intimate to bear, for one thing, but I find it can also be limiting in my experience as a reader. First person narrative means that I can only know what’s happening in the story as it’s filtered through the active character’s experience. There’s no dynamic view of the action. In J.C. Cliff’s new series, Undaunted Men, not only do we experience the story through Quinn’s first person perspective, we get the double whammy of a perspective shift from another character, too!

When mob boss Tony Moretti calls on Quinn to track down and return his missing daughter, Alexis, Quinn has no choice but to take the job. Moretti’s line of work means everything is an immediate emergency. Since Alexis has grown up in a mob family, and has access to people who can help her disappear—particularly when she’s wanted for murder (and, oh yeah, pregnant)—it’s very likely she’s taking her efforts to hide very seriously.

[We'll hide away with this book...]

Feb 1 2016 4:30pm

First Look: Rachel Grant’s Cold Evidence (February 2, 2016)

Cold Evidence by Rachel Grant

Rachel Grant
Cold Evidence (Evidence #6)
Janus Publishing / February 2, 2016 / $3.99 digital

The frigid waters of the Pacific Northwest are about to get hot… 

The only thing Navy underwater archaeologist Undine Gray fears more than facing former SEAL Luke Sevick is never scuba diving again. But when a dive on a Cold War-era US Navy submarine ends with an accidental explosion, she’s terrified of going into the deep, forcing her to beg the most experienced diver she knows to take her back to the bottom of the cold Salish Sea. 

Luke wants nothing to do with the woman who destroyed his career a dozen years ago but finds it impossible to turn his back on her plea. Caught off guard by an attraction he doesn’t want to feel, he’s eager to be done with this mission of mercy. But when they dive on the wreck, he only gets sucked in deeper. Someone has been digging on the Navy sub…and it appears the explosion that almost killed Undine was no accident. 

To find the truth, Undine must navigate murky waters and the unexpectedly hot undercurrents swirling between her and Luke. Worse, divers are searching for something lost in US waters during the Cold War, and they’ll do anything to keep Luke and Undine from finding it first.

I’ve long been a fan of Rachel Grant’s romantic suspense novels. And while I consider rich settings, exciting suspense and cool science to be her hallmarks, one underlying truth really stuck out in the latest installment of her Evidence series: Rachel Grant is a fabulous storyteller.

Her pacing is spot-on. It’s easy to connect with her (very human) characters. There’s also a satisfying gender equality in her stories, whereby neither hero nor heroine are blameless, both are equally intelligent, and both exhibit strength and vulnerability.

[Taking another stab at this love thing ...]

Jan 28 2016 9:30am

First Look: Elle Kennedy’s Midnight Revenge (February 2, 2016)

Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy

Elle Kennedy
Midnight Revenge (Killer Instincts #7)
Signet / February 2, 2016 / $7.99 print & digital

From the USA Today bestselling author of Midnight Captive, the latest Killer Instincts novel is “off-the-charts-hot”* romantic suspense that takes readers into the heart of an enigmatic mercenary...

Out of all the stone-cold mercenaries in Jim Morgan's black ops organization, Derek “D” Pratt is the most intimidating. He is tight-lipped and covered in tattoos, and even the other guys on his team are afraid to ask him about his past. D’s been off the grid for years, but after his teammate Sullivan is mistakenly captured in his place, D is forced to come out of hiding and face his demons.

When D lands in Mexico, he’s ready to risk everything to save his friend. To complicate matters, Sofia Amaro, a feisty doctor whom D had a one-night stand with months ago, has tracked him down. And in an instant she’s unintentionally caught up in his life-threatening rescue mission.

Now D must extract not one but two people from the most violent world he's ever encountered. And one of them is carrying his child...

Revenge. A synonym of my favorite word (and concept), retribution … right there in the title. Elle Kennedy is a queen of the concept, and Midnight Revenge is no different. Set deep in the violent grime of organized crime, this is my favorite kind of revenge.

In Kennedy’s Killer Instinct series, we navigate the rough underbelly of society through Jim Morgan’s black ops organization. Derek “D” Pratt is another of his badass mercs doing his ferocious part to make the world a better place, this time taking on a human trafficking crime boss in Mexico named Raoul Mendez.

[He wants blood ...]

Jan 26 2016 4:30pm

First Look: Kat Martin’s Into the Fury (January 26, 2016)

Into The Fury by Kat Martin

Kat Martin
Into the Fury (BOSS Inc. #1)
Zebra / January 26, 2016 / $7.99 print, $7.49 digital

A bodyguard, a bounty hunter, a P.I.—the men of Brodie Operations Security Service, Inc. are down for the job. . .

Sinners, whores, and sluts beware—your time is at hand: a faceless menace is threatening lingerie models on a cross country tour, and Ethan Brodie is there to defend and protect. 

Ethan's learned the hard way that beauty is no substitute for character. So even though Valentine Hart is one of the most breathtaking women he's ever seen, he's keeping his hands off and his eyes open. Or that's what he tells himself. 

Then one of the models is murdered, and the closer Ethan gets to the answers, the closer he finds himself to Valentine—and the hotter the pressure feels. There's more to Val—more to the other girls—than he could have guessed. But one is keeping a secret that could kill them all.

Bodyguards. Lingerie models. Hostages. Diamonds. TWO killers! Kat Martin weaves a robust tale of suspense that’s full of romance and intrigue, with a couple of twists along the way. It all starts with a warning: “Sinners, whores, and sluts beware—your time is at hand.” If the powers that be had heeded it, we would’ve had a much shorter, much less satisfying story.

Valentine Hart won the beauty lottery, so to speak, by winning a national contest to be Miss La Belle. She’s more interested in the income that’ll pay for college than in fame and fortune, but in order to get the income, she’s got to do the job. And who knew lingerie modelling could be so dangerous?

[Ethan's views of women is about to change when he meets Val ...]

Jan 12 2016 9:30am

First Look: Calia Read’s Unhinge (January 12, 2016)

Unhinge by Calia Read

Calia Read
Ballantine Books / January 12, 2016 / $16.00 print, $6.99 digital

In Calia Read’s electrifying and steamy novel of psychological suspense, a handsome stranger shatters a beautiful young woman’s picture-perfect vision of her past.

Hold your breath and count to ten. Soon it will be over before it ever began.
No matter how many times Victoria Donovan repeats that phrase to herself, she’s still trapped behind the walls of a mental institution. Once upon a time, her life was like a fantasy: Wes, the handsome fiancé, followed by a storybook wedding and a white picket fence. But then a picture-perfect marriage twisted into something sinister. And as Victoria’s world warped from dream to nightmare, her husband’s obsessions pushed her beyond the breaking point.

At first Fairfax Mental Health Institute seems like a safe place for Victoria to heal with her baby, Evelyn, and to hide from Wes, presumed dead by everyone except Victoria. Her husband is still alive, she has no doubt: He slips into her room at night to torment and tempt her. One smoldering kiss and she’s powerless. Of course, no one believes her about these visits. When she meets a sexy, mysterious stranger intent on helping her recall her past, Victoria isn’t sure she can trust him. But deep in her heart, she also knows that the only way out of Fairfax is to remember the way she came in.

Unhinge is intended for mature audiences.

Editor's Note: Today is release day so get reading quickly, this review is spoiler free, but may take SOME of the fun out of all the twists and turns in Unhinge.  

If ever there were an appropriate title, this is it. Calia Read’s new psychological suspense, Unhingedelves into the world of Victoria Donovan, a young woman who finds herself in a mental institution with her infant daughter, Evelyn … with no memory of life before waking up in the hospital.

[POVs from both the hero and the heroine ...]

Jan 4 2016 1:30pm

Trouble Never Looked So Good: Shiloh Walker’s Headed for Trouble

Headed for Trouble by Shiloh Walker

Kick off the New Year with the first installment of Shiloh Walker’s sexy new romantic suspense series about the McKay siblings. Set in McKay’s Ferry, Mississippi, Headed for Trouble is full the emotional intensity, thrills and suspense Walker’s readers have come to expect.

We are introduced to Moira, Brannon and Neve McKay, orphaned heirs to the founders of McKay’s Ferry. And while their heritage provided wealth and recognition, it certainly didn’t provide an easy, privileged path.

Neve McKay is the youngest of the siblings, and has returned home nearly a decade after she fled the stifling confines of her small town and disapproving family. Full of piss and vinegar, as many a southerner’ll say, life on her own was not she envisioned as a strong-willed teenager.

She’d left driving a murder-red Koenigsegg—a sweet little car that her brother had bought her in exchange for good behavior, and to get her to stop pestering him to let her drive his car. The McKays were well known for liking their toys.

She came back driving a junker of indeterminate color, although the passenger door was white—clearly something that had come from another car, same make.

[Not all trouble is bad. Sometimes it's worth it ...]

Dec 23 2015 2:00pm

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best Reads of 2015, Part 3

The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne

Each month, we ask our bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read (or things, plural, if our bloggers declare a tie ’cause they just can’t choose). It doesn’t have to be a new book, as evidenced below; just something that made the month sparkle a bit more.

It's the end of the year now, and so we've asked them for their top three books that made the year in reading so memorable. Without further ado, here's Part 3 (of four parts) of our bloggers best reads of 2015—and don't forget to check out Part 1Part 2, and stay tuned for Part 4:

John Jacobson:

The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne - Byrne’s new historical is lush and provocative, with the deep language and drama of older historicals and the escapist spunk of newer historicals. Her characters are entrancing in their emotional depth. I was taken away by the narrative - there’s no other book like it out there today.

What a Devilish Duke Desires by Vicky Dreiling - Dreiling writes sweet historical romances with a sexy zing. This book hits all of the high notes with strong threads of dramatic action and romantic longing. The hero and the heroine are fundamentally good people caught up in bad circumstances, and the way Dreiling unveils their happily ever after is expert. Dreiling’s added homage to popular reality television in a Regency-garbed setting creates a humor that makes it the perfect sweet confection.

[What are your top 2015 recommendations? ...]

Nov 18 2015 2:00pm

Finding the Balance: Types of Romantic Suspense to Get Your Heart Racing

All the Queen’s Men by Linda Howard

To me, the best romantic suspense offers a fine balance of romance and suspense. Conflict, crisis and resolution are important to romantic suspense. By definition, a romance includes “a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.” Suspense adds the intense feeling readers experience waiting for the outcome. And when put together, you get my absolute favorite formula: an exciting, pulse-racing conflict with a happy, romantic resolution.

In reality, I’m a wife and mother; I live in the muggy Southeast, with beautiful, lush gardens; I have a dog and a cat, and a teenager. I’m not a president of industry or an assassin, or an ambassador using a cover sheltering spies on the run. But when I read romantic suspense, I get a glimpse through the looking glass. It makes my heart race, my anxiety skyrocket, and my imagination soar.  It all started with my first romantic suspense, Linda Howard’s Open Season… and grew into a literary passion.

Today, romantic suspense comes in tons of different flavors. It’s not just about crazy stalkers and serial killers. So whether you’re new to the genre or if you’re looking for a couple of titles you haven’t tried yet, I hope you’ll consider these suggestions.

[Join the romance suspense book club ...]

Nov 12 2015 4:00pm

The Laws of Attraction: 3 Romance Novels That Prove Science is Sexy

Perfect Weapon by Amy J. Fetzer

Garrison Keillor said “Beauty isn’t worth thinking about; what’s important is your mind. You don’t want a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head.” I think he’s on to something, because intelligence is sexy.

Everyone’s heard of hormones and pheromones, facts and data … and the law of attraction sort of defines itself. But have you considered Newton’s three laws of motion? Let me lay a little scientific methodology on you. The first states that an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. In romance, once our hero sets his sights on his lady love (or vice versa), the motion is set. The second law of motion establishes a connection between an object’s mass and its acceleration. The third law states rather simply that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you kiss me, I kiss you back. Toni Anderson touches on an important aspect of science in Edge of Survival.

“Daniel Fox was trying to derail her train of thought with his humor and intimidate her with his lack of modesty, but she was hardly a prude. He was manipulating her. She felt hot and sticky and knew it wasn’t her blood sugar going haywire. It was basic biology making her chest tighten and her blood pound.”

Good romances make you smile; great romances make science happen.

Here are three of my favorite authors who regularly delve into that intelligence quotient that bridge my younger self, who wanted to be Jacques Cousteau when I grew up, with my adult self, who loves to read and write romance. Put your thinking caps on; I think you’ll like these!

[Who said science isn't sexy ...]

Sep 16 2015 3:30pm

First Look: Kate Meader’s Playing With Fire (September 29, 2015)

Kate Meader
Playing With Fire (Hot in Chicago #3)
Pocket Books / September 29, 2015 / $6.99 digital

From popular romance author Kate Meader comes the second novel in Hot in Chicago, a brand-new, sizzling series that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests!

As the only female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alexandra Dempsey gets it from all sides: the male coworkers who think she can’t do the job, the wives and girlfriends who see her as a threat to their firefighter men, and her overprotective foster brothers who want to shelter their baby sister at all costs. So when she single-handedly saves the life of Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, she assumes the respect she’s longed for will finally come her way. But it seems Mr. Mayor has other ideas…

Eli Cooper’s mayoral ratings are plummeting, his chances at reelection dead in the water. When a sexy, curvaceous firefighter gives him the kiss of life, she does more than bring him back to the land of the living—she also breathes vitality into his campaign. Riding the wave of their feel-good story might prop up Eli’s flagging political fortunes, but the sizzling attraction between them can go nowhere; he’s her boss, and there are rules that must be obeyed. But you know what they say about rules: they’re made to be broken…

I try to use the same philosophy my husband has with wines when choosing romances: don’t just go for the pretty label. I mean, if the sexy men on the covers would hand-deliver the books to me that would be a different story. But Kate Meader’s new contemporary romance, Playing with Fire, has a cover that piqued my interest. My little town in North Carolina might be Money Magazine’s #1 Place to Live in America, but we don’t have any female firefighters. I was curious to know if this second story in Meader’s Hot in Chicago series was just as forward-thinking as the cover suggests.

[There's nothing like a hot man who knows how to tame fire ...]

Aug 25 2015 10:00am

Hidden Gems from Old Favorites like Crusie, Donovan, and More!

Knock Me Off My Feet by Susan Donovan

The world is full of terrifying, gruesome, depressing headlines … often. It’s one of the reasons I love the romance genre. Of course there’s the romance and the sexy time, and the hot alpha heroes, but mostly it’s the potential—the hope—for a happy ending. Hope fixes a lot of things. Hope keeps you going.

My go-to subgenre is romantic suspense, but I also love contemporary romances. On a broad scale, contemporary means, “existing, occurring or living at the same time; belonging to the same time.” When referencing art, contemporary art is “art made and produced by artists living today … [who] work in and respond to a global environment that is culturally diverse, technologically advancing, and multifaceted.” And when referencing contemporary romance, we’re talking about “novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship.” Great contemporary romances reflect this time in which we live.

There’s a lot of leeway in the genre, and probably as many great contemporary romance authors as there are stars in the sky. Here are a handful of my favorite contemporaries, with a couple suggestions for you to check out on your own.

[Can't go wrong with contemporary romance...]

Jun 2 2015 5:00pm

First Look: Katie Reus’s Shattered Duty (June 2, 2015)

Shattered Duty by Katie Reus

Katie Reus
Shattered Duty (Deadly-Ops #3)
Signet / June 2, 2015 / $7.99 print & digital

A new novel from the author of Bound to Danger who “has the amazing ability of pulling the reader onto the front lines of the action and drama.” (The Reading Café)

When his wife was murdered two years ago, Special Agent Levi Lazaro turned his back on everything he cared about. Ever since, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. Now he's finally uncovered the identities of those who killed his wife—and he's ready to destroy them at any cost. He won’t let anything stand in his way—not even a beautiful NSA agent on a mission of her own.

Special Agent Selene Wolfe prides herself on being the best. Her fearlessness and quick-thinking make her the perfect person to take down a deadly terrorist cell. But she needs Levi’s help, and the moment he shows up, Selene knows her objectivity—and her heart—are in trouble.

As the two strike an uneasy alliance, Levi finds himself tormented by his desire for Selene—a feeling he thought long dead. But when their mission takes an unexpected turn, he finds himself at a crossroads. Can he put aside his need for revenge to save the woman who’s reawakened his soul?

I love a tale of retribution and angst and vengeance … particularly when it’s all wrapped up in a sexy romantic thriller with a hopeful ending. Katie Reus has it down to a science, and her latest installment in the Deadly Ops series, Shattered Duty,is sure to make your heart race.

[Let's get the adrenaline pumping then!]

May 13 2015 3:30pm

Sex (and Suspense) with the Ex in Susanne Matthews’ White Carnation

The White Carnation by Susanne Matthews

Once upon a blogpost, I asked readers if they’d ever seen Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk to Dawn… an unexpected vampire tale. But I can also ask if you’ve ever read Catherine Coulter’s classic romantic suspense, The Edge. It’s also got a fantastic unexpected plot twist. If you like either of those, then Susanne MatthewsThe White Carnation will be like catnip.

I love any story that has an investigative journalist as a key character. And an investigative journalist who’s been demoted because of scandalous happenings? Ohmigod, count me in. Faye Lewis is foundering in the society pages of the Boston Examiner, despondent as her IQ plunges with every story she writes about dog-show judges and their patrons.

Until eighteen months ago, Faye’s life was all smooth sailing. She was a top-notch investigative journalist with a great newspaper, with a sharp mind and killer instincts. Engaged to the handsome detective Rob Halliday, who met her after she’d been stabbed while covering a story. Theirs had been a combustible introduction that had burned bright and hot … and ultimately out.

Out of the blue one day, she gets a call from her best friend’s mother with an urgent request to visit: “I wouldn’t bother you, but I can’t think of anyone else who could help me.”

And we all know how that goes … DON’T GO! But Faye’s able to work in a trip to Lucy’s apartment on her way home from covering a society assignment. Her biggest cheerleader at the Boston Examiner is Jimmy, a young photographer.

He’d been her shadow for almost a year until the debacle that cost her a spot on the crime beat. Now, he joined her as often as he could, but there really wasn’t anything too exciting in the world of dog shows or debutantes.

[Will her old flame be able to help her out of a deadly situation?]

May 11 2015 3:30pm

Love in Action in P.A. DePaul’s Shadow of Doubt

Shadow of Doubt by P.A. DePaulIf you love a fast-paced romantic suspense series, then man, does P.A. DePaul have one for you. Shadow of Doubt is the second in her Sweet Briar Group series about a group of assassins for hire, and once the action starts, it keeps on going.

The story opens with a flashback to when Michelle Alger was on a college research trip in Columbia, South America.

She counted her blessings every day at the opportunity of being an exchange student from the University of California for a semester. To study the ecosystem of the Amazon directly was a dream come true.

Only, paradise isn’t so dreamy when you’re running for your life in the middle of the jungle and a drug cartel is chasing you. As Michelle’s small research group moved deeper into the jungle, transferring from the relative ease of ATV travel to hiking through thicker underbrush, they scattered when a terrifying group of cartel thugs appeared out of the jungle, chasing them across an old wood-and-rope bridge spanning the space between two rock cliffs. Michelle was last to make her way onto the bridge—and the only one kidnapped by the cartel.

Fortunately for Michelle, a team of Green Berets was already in the jungle to stage a raid on the Osvaldo cartel. Captain Jeremy Malone was preparing the final briefing for the assembled SEAL, DEA, ATF and other government entities when he learned the Osvaldo cartel had branched out into kidnapping. The fact that they’d already had an American woman in captivity for two days, Jeremy (“Cappy”) moved quickly to try and save Michelle. Though Cappy saved her life, her brutal imprisonment and deadly liberation changed them both irrevocably.

[But led them to each other...]

Mar 27 2015 1:00pm

First Look: Cynthia Eden’s Broken (March 31, 2015)

Broken by Cynthia EdenCynthia Eden
Broken (LOST Series #1)
HarperCollins / March 31, 2015 / $7.99 print, $4.99 digital

Ex-SEAL and LOST founder Gabe Spencer is accustomed to the unusual in his job. But when knockout Eve Gray steps into his office, he's rattled. For the mysterious woman is a dead ringer for the heiress thought to be the latest prey of the serial killer who goes by the name Lady Killer.

When Eve awoke in an Atlanta hospital, her past was a blank slate. Then she recognized her own face in the newspaper and vowed to learn the truth. Determined to confront the nightmares hidden in her mind, she never expects to find a partner in Gabe.

As Gabe and Eve work together, their explosive attraction becomes irresistible. Gabe knows that his desire for Eve is growing too strong, bordering on a dangerous obsession, but nothing pulls him away from her. And when another Eve lookalike disappears, Gabe vows to protect Eve at all costs. While Eve may have forgotten the killer in her past, it's clear he hasn't forgotten her.

I feel a real affinity with the heroine in Cynthia Eden’s new romantic suspense, Broken. Eve Gray is mysterious and beautiful, vulnerable yet strong … and most importantly, in the wake of escaping a brutal attempt on her life by a serial killer, she is NOT broken.

Broken has set the stage for what promises to be one kickass series. Straight out of the chute this book made my heart race.

[Will there be twists in this series?...]

Mar 26 2015 2:15pm

First Look: Rebecca Zanetti’s Total Surrender (March 31, 2015)

Total Surrender by Rebecca ZanettiRebecca Zanetti
Total Surrender
Forever / March 31, 2015 / $8.00 print, $2.99 digital

A fight he must win . . .

Piper Oliver knows she can't trust him. They warned her that the tall, dark, and sexy black-ops soldier Jory Dean would try to win her over with his steel-gray eyes and deadly charm, but she won't be conned by this man they call a traitor. All she has to do is figure out the science necessary to save his life, and she's done. Something isn't adding up, though, and she won't rest until she uncovers the truth-even if it's buried in his deep, dangerous kiss.

A passion she can't resist . . .

Jory will do anything to reunite with and save his brothers-even kidnap the gorgeous woman who's working to deactivate the deadly chip in their spines. But the forces determined to destroy his family won't let them go so easily. Keeping Piper alive is more than he bargained for—and so is his burning desire for her. But with every second bringing him closer to certain death, can he afford to lose himself in her hot and willing embrace?

Did you ever see the Kurt Russell movie, Soldier? I’m a longtime fan of Russell, harkening back to his Snake Plissken days. I think that’s why I love Rebecca Zanetti’s Sin Brothers series about a trio of hot soldier brothers with enhanced abilities. Here are three men who have never known softness or love or compassion from the laboratory where they’ve been reared or the commander who’s overseen their lives. Yet they have created their own family, forged by blood and sweat and tears…and have allowed their nature to trump the nurture they never received.

The boys don’t know who their mother is: “Who cares? We paid for eggs from extraordinary genetic pools, and those women never wanted the ensuing children.”

[Which brings us to Jory Dean and Total Surrender...]

Jan 21 2015 1:00pm

First Look: HelenKay Dimon’s Playing Dirty (January 27, 2015)

Playing Dirty by HelenKay DimonHelenKay Dimon
Playing Dirty (Bad Boys Undercover)
Avon / January 27, 2015 / $7.99 print, $4.99 digital

As an elite Alliance agent—the joint undercover operation of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service, and the CIA—Ford Decker lives for the adrenaline. But when he befriends sexy property manager Shay Alexander in hopes of finding her cousin, a known national security threat, Ford crosses the line, getting to know her better . . . in bed.

After being burned by her last relationship, Shay wants to take things slow. Yet she can't keep her hands off the drop-dead gorgeous hottie who's moved into her apartment building. So when Ford's identity as an undercover agent is exposed, his betrayal cuts deep. Shay never wants to see him again, but Ford can't let her go, not when her life is still in danger. He will sacrifice everything to protect her, then be prepared to walk away from the only woman he's ever loved, even if it breaks him.

My mother retired from General Motors after 31 years, and when I started working in the marketing department of an international telecommunications company, she was constantly floored with the flexibility I had. During the heyday of telecom, before the dot-com bust around 2000, my Canada-based company spent millions of dollars on product demos and rollouts without blinking. I had to be available 80% of the time, which meant I worked about five hours to cover eastern to pacific time zones, and then a couple more hours in the middle of the night to pick up project teams in Europe and Asia Pacific. It took me YEARS to break the habit of being hyper-productive in the middle of the night. My mother couldn’t even fathom how I considered it a “traditional” workday (because her workday looked like the administrative staff in Mad Men).

[Work hard, play hard—and play dirty!]

Jan 6 2015 9:30am

First Look: Catherine Anderson’s Silver Thaw (January 6, 2015)

Silver Thaw by Catherine AndersonCatherine Anderson
Silver Thaw (Mystic Creek)
Signet / January 6, 2015 / $7.99 print, digital

After years of living in fear of her husband, Amanda Banning has left him and moved to Mystic Creek, Oregon, for a fresh start. But she’s having a tough time providing for herself and her six-year-old daughter. Writing her secret yearnings on slips of paper and sending them into the wind helps her cling to the hope that things will get better…and that she can find happiness again.

Jeb Sterling has no idea that the handwritten messages he finds scattered across his land are the first hints that his life is about to change. Nor does he understand why he feels so compelled to help Amanda Banning and her daughter when a cold snap leaves them temporarily homeless. Maybe he’s inspired by Amanda’s courage or perhaps by her beautiful brown eyes. Either way, the man who once renounced love suddenly finds himself willing to do anything for the pair. Amanda seems to have given up on her dreams, but Jeb refuses to quit until he makes her every wish come true.…

I spent most of the fall in a hurry. Regardless of where I was going or what I was doing, it was always fast and five minutes too late. Could be why I was so focused on working my way through a handful of romantic suspense novellas. They were right up my alley: exciting, romantic, sexy … and fast. But I slowed down a bit over the holidays, with family in town and my son on a two-week break, and took advantage of the slower pace to enjoy Catherine Anderson’s new contemporary romance, Silver Thaw. It’s the restful Aaron Copeland to my typical restive Dave Brubeck.   

[That's sounds peaceful...]

Nov 20 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Eva Siedler’s Las Vegas Layover (November 25, 2014)

Las Vegas Layover by Eva Siedler Eva Siedler
Las Vegas Layover
Samhain / November 25, 2014 / $3.50 digital

One night in Vegas could be their ticket to love.

Coastal Airlines mechanic Sebastian Brisbane is on his way to Las Vegas to fix a broken jet. But after one look at his sexy, travel-sized seatmate, he’s more concerned with revving her engine than fixing the plane’s.

Clara Howe will do anything to fulfill her aunt’s last wishes to have her ashes spread in Vegas. A one-night stand isn’t on the itinerary, but when Clara accidentally pricks Sebastian’s temper, along with his passion, only one thing is certain: It’s bound to be a bumpy ride.

My husband, son, and I are great outdoor enthusiasts. We love to travel, and choose new locales based on the kind of “adventuring” we’ll get to experience. Arizona is great for hiking, from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. Belize offers extraordinary snorkeling and free diving, and beautiful hiking through the lush tropical rainforests. But despite the bounty Mother Nature has to offer, I still find myself fascinated with Las Vegas. My husband went for business last year and hated it. Thought it was over-crowded, over-priced, over-smokey...over-hyped. I don’t care. I want to go to a casino and gamble; I want to go to a dancing show at the Tropicana, where the girls are topless and wear 200-pound headpieces. Hell, I want to get married by Elvis at a quickie roadside chapel. I think that’s why I enjoyed Eva Siedler’s contemporary romance novella, Las Vegas Layover, so much.

[A good gamble, then!]