<i>An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors</i>: Exclusive Excerpt An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors: Exclusive Excerpt Curtis Craddock "She unravels the lies of her enemies and discovers a truth..." <i>Love Another Day</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Love Another Day: Exclusive Excerpt Lexi Blake "It might be her own personal demons that could destroy them both." Romance's Most Likely: Nominate Your Fictional Faves! Romance's Most Likely: Nominate Your Fictional Faves! Team H & H Like senior-class superlatives--but with romance novels! <i>A Royal Mistake</i>: Exclusive Excerpt A Royal Mistake: Exclusive Excerpt Elizabeth Davis "She’s wild and exciting and thrives on the unexpected."
From The Blog
August 17, 2017
Helena Hunting's I Flipping Love You Promises "Shenanigans and Sexy Times"
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The Delicious Angst of Sci-Fi's Tortured Heroines!
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August 16, 2017
Romance's Most Likely: Nominate Your Fictional Faves!
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Showing posts by: Janet Webb click to see Janet Webb's profile
Fri
Aug 11 2017 1:00pm

Until the Sun Sets’ Friends-to-Fake-Lovers Makes for the Perfect Summer Read

Until the Sun Sets by Tara Wyatt

It’s not too late to read a hot, tender beach-ready romance before summer shifts into fall. Tara Wyatt’s Until the Sun Sets is a perfect choice.

Dean Grayson is nobody’s fool so when his cousin Luke offers him a Goose Island beer and says he needs a favor, his spidey-sense goes into overdrive. What’s this all about?

Just how big a favor was Luke about to ask of him? Jeez, maybe he needed a kidney or something, and he thought because they were cousins, they’d have a better chance of being a match. Granted, he probably wouldn’t be giving him beer—or drinking one himself—if he needed a kidney, and he’d said what he had to ask him was about the wedding, but. . .

Luke admits straight out that what he has to say is awkward, “But Christie and I are a little worried.” They want Dean—on incredibly short notice—to bring a date to their Mexican destination wedding. How’s that going to work out since Dean is solo?

“Well, I’m not seeing anyone right now, so that might be tricky.” Truth be told, Dean saw a lot of women, but not in any official capacity. Never in a let’s-go-to-Mexico-together capacity.

[Read more...]

Sun
Aug 6 2017 11:00am

One Last Summer Romance in Jen Gilroy’s Summer on Firefly Lake

The Cottage at Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy

Mia Gibbs left an indelible impression in Jen Gilroy’s first Firefly Lake novel, The Cottage at Firefly Lake. She was brittle, nervous, trapped in an unhappy marriage, but over the course of the summer, she started to change. Here’s a summation of how her life has evolved.

Mia Gibbs spent her marriage putting her husband's needs before her own. And now, after a painful divorce, she's building a new life for herself and her two daughters back home at Firefly Lake. The last thing she needs is a man to complicate things. But former bad boy turned friend Nick McGuire-and the one kiss they've shared-has turned everything upside down...

What is a mid-life restart without a resurgence of feelings from long ago? Feelings for someone you knew long before life got complicated. New York City attorney Nick McGuire is back at Firefly Lake for the summer because his mother needs his help. Gabrielle Brassard is recovering from cancer and the prognosis is promising but she is struggling to regain her strength. Nick thinks his mother needs to downsize, and he knows who to hire to help make that happen—Mia Gibbs.

[Read more...]

Tue
Aug 1 2017 9:30am

First Look: J.R. Ward’s Devil’s Cut (August 1, 2017)

Devil's Cut by J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward
Devil's Cut (The Bourbon Kings #3)
Ballantine Books / August 1, 2017 / $28.00 print, $14.99 digital

There’s something both irresistible and poignant about the last book of a memorable trilogy. On the one hand, the anticipation! How will it turn out for all the characters who have burrowed into our hearts? On the other, it’s so hard to say goodbye, and what if our favorite characters get short shrift? Fear not, Devil’s Cut is a sensual, edgy, fascinating last chapter in the annals of the Bradford Baldwine Family.

All of the characters in the Bourbon Kings series are, whether they like it or not, tethered to their historical past, and unable to disengage from their troubled present. Readers were told that J.R. Ward’s Bourbon Kings saga would transport us “to the world of elite Southern society, bourbon industry, and horse country,” and Ward more than delivers. She makes her home now in Louisville, Kentucky, “the land of the Bluegrass.”

She has called her Bourbon Kings series a love letter to her adopted home state and a cautionary tale of big money, traditional values, and hidden sins.

That has the flavor of Dallas or Dynasty, doesn’t it? No surprise that Bourbon Kings is being adapted for the small screen. A side note, understanding  the provenance of the term “devil’s cut” illuminates the essence of the story: unlike “the angel’s share” which is evaporated bourbon, the “devil’s cut” is the “absorption into the oak of the barrel,” that is, the charred barrel where fine bourbon is aged. J.R. Ward has a more poetical take on the process.

[Read more...]

Mon
Jul 31 2017 9:30am

First Look: Laura Trentham’s Leave the Night On (August 1, 2017)

Leave the Night On by Laura Trentham

Laura Trentham
Leave the Night On (Cottonbloom #4)
St. Martin's Press / August 1, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital 

What is it about the girl who never fades from memory? That’s the way Wyatt Abbott has always felt about Sutton Mize—going back to when she was a girl—coming by his family-owned garage with her father, Judge Mize.

Back then, Sutton had been so pretty, he’d alternated between fighting his tied tongue and saying something stupid. Typical, but acutely embarrassing.

Even in as small a town as Cottonbloom, their paths hadn’t crossed since. Not that unusual considering he was from the Louisiana side of the river, and she was from the Mississippi side. More separated them than just a body of water and a few miles.

One day Sutton shows up at Abbott Brothers Garage and Restoration in a sweet cherry-red Camaro convertible. She wants Wyatt to restore it to its former splendor: it will be an engagement gift for Andrew Tarwater, her fiancé. Why are all the good ones taken, Wyatt wonders.

Shockingly, when Wyatt and Sutton clear out the Camaro’s glove compartment and check under the seats, they discover a deal more than spare change and fast food wrappers. Sutton’s eyebrows shoot up when she looks at a pile of restaurant receipts from expensive out-of-town establishments, but a “black, very brief lace thong with a red heart embroidered at the hip” stops her cold. When Wyatt says, “Yours, I assume?” speaking “through a clenched, fake smile,” she knows the truth is anything but.

[Read more...]

Mon
Jul 24 2017 2:00pm

First Look: Jennifer Probst’s All or Nothing at All (July 25, 2017)

All or Nothing At All by Jennifer Probst

Jennifer Probst
All or Nothing At All (The Billionaire Builders #3)
Gallery Books / July 25, 2017 / $16.00 print, $7.99 digital 

Over the years I’ve read my fair share of secret-baby-books. It’s such a profound dilemma. What were the circumstances of the pregnancy? Why couldn’t/wouldn’t/shouldn’t the mother share the news that she is with child with the baby’s father? In their circle of family and friends, who’s in on the secret? What finally causes the truth to come out? These are not light-hearted topics, especially years afterward. All or Nothing At All is the final Billionaire Builders book—and it's time for Tristan Pierce’s story.

Jennifer Probst has given us a great run with the Billionaire Builders series, starting with Everywhere and Every Way. As I noted at the time, what’s not to love about men who work with their hands *ahem* using smarts and passion? Cal was the hero of Everywhere and Every Way. After the death of their father, it’s Cal who persuades his two younger brothers to abide by the edict in their father’s will: the three men must run Pierce Brothers together for a year—and make a profit. Only then can they walk away, if they choose, from the family business. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

[Read more...]

Wed
Jul 19 2017 3:45pm

First Look: Joan Johnston’s Blackthorne’s Bride (July 25, 2017)

Blackthorne's Bride by Joan Johnston

Joan Johnston
Blackthorne's Bride (A Bitter Creek Novel)
Dell / July 25, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

In 2013, Joan Johnston published Montana Bride, the third in her Mail-Order Brides series about the Wentworth sisters. Fans have been waiting since then for Josie Wentworth’s story and it was worth the wait. Blackthorne’s Bride has an old-school vibe. 

The titular Blackthorne is summoned home by his grandmother from America. Blackthorne asks his companion to take care of the girl and to do whatever it takes to save her. The back cover copy neatly telescopes the next few years in the lives of our protagonists.

Two years have passed since Josie Wentworth was bought from the Sioux for a gold watch and whisked back to England by Marcus Wharton, the Duke of Blackthorne. When Marcus breaks his promise to return Josie to America, she ends up as a maid in the home of his charming but neglected nephews. Once Josie’s long-lost family finds her, however, the suddenly wealthy heiress sets out to save the two boys from their indifferent uncle—and teach the duke a lesson in honor.

[Read more...]

Sun
Jul 16 2017 11:00am

The Only Way You Can Reread Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster Series: In Order

Beauty Like the Night by Joanna Bourne

Anticipation is building for the last book in Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster series, Beauty Like the Night. (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) It’s the perfect excuse to re-read the entire series, in order of publication, right? But hold on, the author has proposed a different approach. Bourne’s simple advice, read in order of discovery—that is, when the characters first appear on the scene. A word of warning, there are spoilers ahead.

"If you read the books in the order in which they were written, you're going to see the characters develop as they did in my own mind. You'll find out about them in the way I found out about them.

If you read the books in chronological order, everything is going to fit together neatly with the ongoing historical events. And you should — I hope — get some sense of the growth and developing relationships between my folks.

—From Joanna Bourne on reading in chronological order.

Who would argue with Joanna Bourne?  Using her method, the characters reveal themselves and their relationships with others in a pattern of concentric yet overlapping circles. Here’s the chronological reading order.

1. The Forbidden Rose

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

Heroine Marguerite de Fleurignac, “once a glittering aristocrat in a world of privilege” is now “on the run, disguised as Maggie Duncan, British governess.” Hero William Doyle, “England’s top spy,” is a man on a mission with “a score to settle with the de Fleurignacs.”

Marguerite is indomitable and brave, a spirited woman who gives as good as she gets to William Doyle, a seemingly placid, preternaturally observant man. They are the backbone of Joanna Bourne’s “Spymaster series.” Their first conversation inexorably draws in the reader. Marguerite hides from two strangers who are striding around the ruins of her family’s ruined châteaux. When the older of the two finds and attempts to restrain her, she asks him to stand back.

[Read more...]

Sun
Jul 2 2017 11:00am

Tensions Are High in Sharon Sala’s Race Against Time

Race Against Time by Sharon Sala

No one could read Sharon Sala's Race Against Time and not channel the voice of seminal, forever-popular author Linda Howard. Specifically, Race Against Time will resonate with lovers of Howard’s unforgettable, controversial books Death Angel and Open Season. Sex trafficking, near-death experiences, horrific childhood abuse, Race Against Time ticks all those boxes and yet is both liberating and hopeful.

There are three characters whose lives intertwine unexpectedly: a Las Vegas homicide detective, Nick Saldano; a nomadic biker, Quinn O’Meara, who bravely rescues a baby at a burning accident scene; a gangster’s desperate moll. Unbeknownst to Quinn, the baby she rescues is the child of Starla (Star) Davis, a victim of human trafficking and for the last seven years, the unwilling companion of Anton Baba, a Las Vegas crime boss. The accident occurs while Star is trying to escape.

[Read more...]

Thu
Jun 22 2017 1:00pm

Love on a Deadline in Liora Blake’s Second Chance Season

Second Chance Season by Liora BlakeThinking over the very enjoyable Second Chance Season, the lyrics of John Lennon’s “Imagine” kept running through my mind: “You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us…” Chicago-born writer Cara Cavanaugh takes the biggest chance of her life when she turns down a lucrative offer from a big-city newspaper and takes a freelance assignment in the small Colorado town of Hotchkiss. Is this going to be a small-town-life-rules trope tale? Particularly since the “Grand Valley series” encompasses the towns of Paonia and Palisade,

 

…where the wineries, orchards, and a bunch of crafty artisan businesses are the big draw in this once quiet part of southwestern Colorado. While the Grand Valley used to be nothing more than an afterthought in the state, now—thanks to whoever dreamed up the concept of agritourism—it’s a destination.

Not so fast on that prediction.

[Read more...]

Sun
Jun 18 2017 11:00am

If You Like Julie Garwood, Try Mary Wine’s Highland Hellion

Highland Hellion by Mary Wine

Did you cut your historical romance teeth on Julie Garwood’s memorable Scottish historicals? If so, you’ll relish the tempestuous and unusual heroine of Mary Wine’s Highland Hellion. Katherine Carew is unforgettable—“Illegitimate daughter of an English earl… Abducted to Scotland at age 14… No family, no reputation… No rules.” Since her abduction she has been allowed to train with the young men of her adopted clan. Wearing the plaid, not dresses, Katherine is a tomboy, a trained fighter, a hellion in the Highlands.

Recently Marcus, the head of her clan, decreed Katherine would have to stop riding out and raiding with his warriors. She rails against her fate. No one is going to curb her wings.

The night beckoned to her with warm air and enough clouds to keep the moonlight low. It was just a ride. A few hours to restore her spirit before she had to resume the role Fate had decided was hers.

Hellion?

Perhaps.

Katherine is unworried about tempting fate, even though just days earlier she was almost captured by the men of another clan when she was adventuring at night. Why would she take that risk? Is there a man involved?  Oh yes. And she knows his name and his status: he’s “the heir to an honorable Highland laird.”

[Read more...]

Tue
Jun 13 2017 9:30am

First Look: Amanda Scott’s The Reluctant Highlander (June 13, 2017)

The Reluctant Highlander by Amanda Scott

Amanda Scott
The Reluctant Highlander 
Open Road Media Romance / June 13, 2017 / $15.99 print, $7.99 digital

Late one moonlight June night in 1431, on the North Inch of Perth, Sir Adham MacFinlagh spots a graceful lass, clad only in her shift, stepping into the waters of the river Tay. Adham is not a “fanciful man” but if he were, “he might have called it magical.” He is content to watch the water sprite float away from him, buoyed by the current, until “in an eddying swirl, she vanished beneath the sparkling dark surface.”

Suddenly fearful, he dashed after her. Heedless of rocks, the uneven terrain, and other such minor obstacles, he cast off his badric, belt, and heavy wool plaid as he ran.

Lady Fiona Ormiston savored the rare sense of freedom she felt deep beneath the surface, as her arms swept her forward and her legs kicked hard against the Tay’s strong current, heading back the way she had come. She was smugly pleased that she could hold her breath long enough now to count nearly to two hundred.

[Read more...]

Sun
Jun 11 2017 11:00am

Mira Lyn Kelly The Wedding Date Bargain Reunites Lovers

The Wedding Bargain by Mira Lyn Kelly

In the hands of the very skilled Mira Lyn Kelly, not one but two perennial romance clichés—the “one that got away” and “losing one’s virginity”—are combined into a delightfully frothy, occasionally serious, summer confection. The second book in Kelly’s Wedding Date series reacquaints the reader with a tight group of Chicago-based friends, with a wedding and romance (egged on by interfering, all-too-knowledgeable friends) as the backdrop. 

Once upon a time, the “Safewalk stud” aka Max Brandt walked Sarah Cole, a lovely dark-haired young co-ed, back to her dorm from the library. They became friends, and perhaps a little more, until the night that a kiss turned passionate and Sarah begged Max to be her first lover. Tempted though he was, Max turned her down, thinking such a momentous decision should be undertaken with at least of semblance of loving feelings on each side. And he didn’t love her.

Fast forward to Chicago eight years later. Sarah’s been engaged—that didn’t work out so well since her “I-respect-you-too-much-to-sleep-with-you” beau was all about playing around with other gals. Max too has come close to getting hitched but it didn’t work out. He’s very popular with the ladies but lately even that’s been losing its appeal.

[Read more...]

Thu
Jun 8 2017 1:00pm

Brenda Novak’s No One But You Heals the Wounded Heart

No One But You by Brenda Novak

Dawson Reed is recently out of prison and Sadie Harris is imprisoned on every side by her vindictive, cruel ex-husband.  Both constantly under scrutiny in Silver Springs, the small southern California town they call home, they have a lot in common. Still, being a housekeeper for Dawson Reed is not Sadie’s first choice.

The century-old farmhouse looked haunted…

Sadie Harris wasn’t particularly superstitious, but knowing two people had been murdered in an upstairs bedroom of this isolated white clapboard home didn’t make her eager to work here. She parked outside the gate and sat in her car, engine off, angling her head to see through the passenger window.

Sadie doesn’t have a lot of choice though. She and her five year-old son Jayden are “squeezed into a tiny one-bedroom guesthouse,” struggling to make ends meet, while her ex-husband Sly plays mind-games, and more, on her.

He was trying to keep her destitute so she’d have to come back if she wanted to be able to feed and clothe their child—and eat herself.

[Read more...]

Sun
Jun 4 2017 11:00am

2 Commitmentphobes Find True Love in Until You

Until You by Denise Grover Swank

Until You by Denise Grover Swank has the sassy appeal of a screwball comedy with a dash of a Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn movie. Two intelligent, attractive people meet at a wedding shower. Tyler Norris is a confirmed commitment-phobe, although he’s very popular with the opposite sex. Lanie Rogers is a workaholic with no fixed address, way too busy to settle down or settle for a permanent relationship. Aren’t those the perfect circumstances for a no-strings-attached-fling?

Avoiding all attachments, especially the bonds of marriage, are the order of the day for Tyler Norris, a founding member of the Bachelor Brotherhood. Not that all the members are footloose and fancy-free. Like his friend Kevin.

So when Kevin had moved back home two months ago after his last tour in Afghanistan, the three friends had commiserated on their extremely unlucky love life and decided to give up on marriage, imposing a ban on women and forming the Bachelor Brotherhood.

Kevin Vandemeer had lasted one fucking day.

That’s not going to be Tyler’s fate; you can put that one in the bank. 

[Read more...]

Mon
May 29 2017 9:30am

First Look: Jo Beverley’s Merely a Marriage (May 30, 2017)

Merely a Marriage by Jo Beverley

Jo Beverley
Merely a Marriage 
Berkley / May 30, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital 

It is an honor and a privilege to write about beloved author Jo Beverley’s final novel, Merely a Marriage. It is set in Regency London, the primary site of her Rogue world, which is so poignant for me since my first Jo Beverley was An Arranged Marriage, Nicolas and Eleanor’s story. Nicholas is King Rogue, not that knowledge of Beverley’s earlier books is necessary to enjoy Merely a Marriage.

Lady Ariana Boxstall is a statuesque red-head, intelligent and forceful, not in the least shy about pushing and prodding for what she wants. What she wants, in the wake of the tragic death in childbirth of Princess Charlotte, is for her brother Norris, the young Earl of Boxstall, to marry with all due haste and get his new wife with child. Ariana cannot bear to think of a fatal accident befalling her athletic younger brother before he is married, particularly since the heir to the earldom is Uncle Paul, a disgraceful sot. Norris is enjoying being a bachelor and emphatically rejects Ariana’s advice. She won’t let up, however, so he agrees…with the proviso that she marry first.

[Read more...]

Sun
May 28 2017 2:00pm

First Look: Eva Leigh’s From Duke Till Dawn (May 30, 2017)

From Duke Till Dawn by Eva Leigh

Eva Leigh
From Duke Till Dawn (The London Underground #1)
Avon / May 30, 2017 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

From Duke Till Dawn is a fairytale for adults. Two years before the start of the novel, a tall, resolute duke was abandoned by the winsome, impoverished widow who touched his heart, body, and soul…and his purse. Alex, the Duke of Greyland, never stops thinking about Cassandra Blair, his “Lost Queen,” or imagining he hears her as he walks down the street. Eva Leigh’s descriptions of London have an artist’s touch.

Night came on in indigo waves, but the shops spilled golden light in radiant patches onto the street. The hardworking citizens of London continued to toil as the upper echelons began their evening revelries. Crowds thronged the sidewalk, while wagons, carriages, and people on horseback crammed the streets. A handful of pedestrians recognized Alex and politely curtsied or tipped their hats, murmuring, “Good evening, Your Grace.” Though he was in no mood for politeness, responsibility and virtue were his constant companions—had been his whole life—and so rather than snapping, “Go to the devil, damn you!” he merely nodded in greeting.

He’d done his duty.

Life does go on, especially for a duke who is expected to secure his succession, so a few years later, Alex is only mildly disappointed that his fiancée runs away with another. In the aftermath of the scandal of the abandoned duke, Greyland is persuaded to accompany his two best friends to London’s newest gambling hell, an elegant, bustling enterprise in a “slightly raffish part of Piccadilly” with “the slightly overdressed look of a prosperous banker.”  Imagine, if you will, a Regency pop-up gambling establishment. At the age of 38, Alex is on unfamiliar turf.

[Read more...]

Tue
Apr 18 2017 3:00pm

Love on Call in Alexis Hall’s How to Bang a Billionaire

How to Bang a Billionaire by Alexis Hall

How does an almost-graduate of an Oxford college meet a billionaire? How about interview him for a college newspaper…oops, wrong story! Take two.

I was supposed to be doing this college fund-raiser thing where undergraduates called up wealthy alumni and connected deeply with them in a way that got them all nostalgic and wallet-opening or bank-transferring. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly an ideal candidate for the role.

Alexis Hall, though, is an ideal candidate to marry the fantasy of meeting a billionaire with an impressively realistic means to accomplish that feat. Noting that our student caller isn’t even supposed to be there since it his “best friend Nik was actually the one who’d signed up, but he’d come down with laryngitis.” Our hero is not temperamentally suited to cold calling, not well trained, and he’s surrounded by fellow students who are having “life-enriching, college-benefiting conversations.”

I dialed the next number. They’d told me you could hear the smile in someone’s voice, so I made sure I was grinning as if I’d swallowed a coat hanger.

“HelloImArdenSt.IvescallingfromSt.Sebastian’sCollegepleasedonthanguponme.”

Success at last. Who knew that abject desperation on the phone was the way to ensure that an “implacable, cut-glass voice” would actually converse with you?

God, his voice. From the moment I’d heard it, I’d thought it was pretty sexy, in a chilly, upper-class way, but amusement-softened, it was as rich as honey. Irresistible.

[Read more...]

Tue
Apr 4 2017 3:00pm

First Look: Julie Ann Walker’s Wild Ride (April 4, 2017)

Wild Ride by Julie Ann Walker

Julie Ann Walker
Wild Ride (Black Knights Inc. #9)
Sourcebooks / April 4, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

Wild Ride is my first Black Knights Inc. book (9th in the BKI series) but not knowing the past stories of this rugged, iconoclastic band of brothers and sisters was never a barrier. Julie Ann Walker weaves in just enough back-story to clarify why underground operator, former Navy SEAL, Ethan “Ozzie” Sykes is between a rock and a hard place in his relationship with passionate, persistent Chicago Tribune reporter Samantha Tate.

First things first—Ozzie is “both beautiful and masculine.” Samantha draws on her journalistic chops to paint a compelling word picture of her friend.

Combine his mug with his boyish, flyaway blond hair, his half grin, and the kind of loose-hipped swagger that could only be pulled off by the supremely fit, and what you ended up with was the whole package. We’re talking the kind of package seen on the silver screen. The kind of package that—Oh, no he didn’t. As if he’d read her mind, he reached down and adjusted his package as he strolled past a table full of coeds.

A little bit Charlie Hunnam, a little bit Ryan Gosling—Whoa Nelly! Samantha and Ozzie have been friends but not friends with benefit for years. Initially, when she came sniffing around “Black Knights Inc., the covert government defense firm disguised as a custom motorcycle shop,” Ozzie was tapped to deflect her from unmasking BKI’s secrets. Easier said than done, because even though Samantha knows that boys are a distraction—hey, she has scoops to uncover, Pulitzer winning stories to write—it gets harder as the years go by.

[Read more...]

Mon
Apr 3 2017 1:00pm

First Look: Kianna Alexander’s Back to Your Love (April 4, 2017)

Back to Your Love by Kianna Alexander

Kianna Alexander
Back to Your Love (Brothers of TDT #1)
Sourcebooks / April 4, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

Back to Your Love opens with a familiar refrain for women of a certain age—the curse of being a perpetual bridesmaid (but don’t assume the problem is that the bridesmaid wants to be walking down the aisle herself). Dr. Imani Grant has a business to open, a painful episode in her past to forget and she is fine, just fine. Even a room overlooking a “wide, sandy band of beach below as well as the soft, rising waves of the Atlantic lapping at the shore,” doesn’t ease her troubled mind. She wants to be there for Georgia, “her college roommate and constant companion through four years of undergrad at Spelman.”

This was the third time in fourteen months she’d been asked to serve as a bridesmaid for one of her friends. At this point, her nerves were beyond frazzled. If her mother inquired just once more about whether she was seeing anyone, she was pretty sure her head would explode.

Her mother isn’t a guest at the wedding, but there were sure to be “well-intentioned older ladies present for the joyous event.” Questions about her single status will be impossible to avoid. Like the memories flooding Imani’s consciousness.

[Read more...]

Mon
Mar 27 2017 1:00pm

First Look: Jamie Pope’s Hope Blooms (March 28, 2017)

Hope Blooms by Jamie Pope

Jamie Pope
Hope Blooms
Dafina Books / March 28, 2017 / $7.99 print, $4.99 digital

Is past prologue? For childhood friends and once long-ago lovers Cassandra Miller and Wylie Everett, perhaps so.

It takes a massive tragedy to bring Wylie back to Cassandra’s side. The angry, embittered father of one of Cassandra’s students shoots Cassandra and her husband Terrance in the hallway outside Cassandra’s classroom. Terrance dies; Cassandra loses her unborn child, and, her mother Miss Cora fears, her sanity. So Cora tells Cassandra, “speaking” for Terrance.

 “He wouldn’t want you to be like this.”

“He would want to be alive if he had a choice.” She rolled over, away from her mother’s touch, her worried eyes. Suddenly the exhaustion returned again. It was the only thing she felt anymore. Tired and heavy.

“You can’t go on like this. You haven’t left the house in weeks. You haven’t smiled since it happened. You didn’t die that day. Your life is meant to be lived.”

Miss Cora pleads with Wylie Everett to come back to Harmony Falls, Connecticut, for the sake of the friendship—and more—he once had with Terrance and Cassandra. In high school they were an unbreakable trio. But it has been ten years since Wylie has been home. Even though Cora is ageless, so much has changed.

[Read more...]