<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...?"
From The Blog
November 21, 2017
From Team H&H, With Love
Team H & H
November 21, 2017
How to Advocate for Happily Ever Afters
November 20, 2017
Insight into MaryJanice Davidson’s Deja New
Lucy Dosch
November 19, 2017
Helena Hunting: A Sexy, Angsty, Funny Superstar
Nicola R. White
November 17, 2017
3 Pets from Romance We Wish Were Ours
Tara Leigh
Showing posts by: Jena Briars click to see Jena Briars's profile
Aug 21 2017 11:00am

9 Lisa Kleypas Quotes That Will Make You Swoon, Sigh, and Laugh

Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

As part of Heroes and Heartbreakers' EBook of the Month Club, we had a walk down memory lane with this month's choice, Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas. We love historical romance, and Kleypas brings humor and passion to each of her novels. Download your copy of Mine Till Midnight and that's never more highlighted than in these quotes below. Join the discussion on Mine Till Midnight (and all the Hathaways) and share your favorite Kleypas quotes today!

Certain scenes or phrases from our favorite romances can get trapped in our memories. How often do we recall a scene, a phrase, a confrontation or a confession, or a clever quip—and we feel compelled to immediately run to our bookshelf and look up the scene. Nothing is more comforting to me than picking up a Lisa Kleypas novel and finding a favorite quote. I know my favorite scenes from the Bow Street Runners’ series to the Wallflowers. For your reading (and re-reading) pleasure, I’ve collected a small sampling of some of my favorite Lisa Kleypas quotes.

(Warning: Reading over these scenes will increase your odds of distraction, procrastination, and completely re-reading the entire book.) 

I’m going to start with Suddenly You, showing us that Kleypas knows our passion for both books and romance. This has to be my favorite standalone Kleypas romance (which I believe is also the first romance I ever read), but don’t be fooled by the book-talk; the tension in this scene packs as much of a punch as a love scene!

“A poor man needs the escape far more than a wealthy man does.“

”Escape,“ Amanda repeated, having never heard a book described in such a way.

”Yes, something to transport your mind from where and who and what you are. Everyone needs that. A time or two in my past, it seemed that a book was the only thing that stood between me and near insanity. I-"

He stopped suddenly, and Amanda realized that he had not meant to make such a confession. The room became uncomfortably quiet, with only the jaunty snap of the fire to intrude on the silence. Amanda felt as if the air were throbbing with some unexpressed emotion. She wanted to tell him that she understood exactly what he meant, that she, too, had experienced the utter deliverance that words on a page could provide. There had been times of desolation in her own life, and books had been her only pleasure.” 

Suddenly You

[Read more...]

Feb 15 2017 11:00am

Reading Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflowers: Appreciating the Final Wallflower in Scandal in Spring

In a delightful journey that began with Secrets of a Summer Night in 2004, we accompanied the Wallflowers—young society misses Annabelle, Lillian, Evangeline, and Daisy—as they banded together in a hunt for husbands that led to love and matrimony...if not always in that order.

But if we thought we’d seen the last of our beloved friends, we were (happily) wrong: Lisa Kleypas has announced the Wallflowers will return in her next historical romance, Devil in Spring with the story of Evangeline and Sebastian’s son!

In anticipation of Devil in Spring’s release on February 21, we’ve decided to do what any romance reader would: Revisit the books that started it all! And so, every week for the next four weeks, we invite you to join us in reading—whether for the first time or the fiftieth!—and discussing the first four Wallflower romances: Secrets of a Summer NightIt Happened One Autumn, Devil in Winterand Scandal in Spring.

Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

The date Scandal in Spring came out, in 2006, I distinctly remember storming through three different Barnes & Nobles in my hometown area (before e-readers), because the previous two stores I had visited did not have the book available on the day it was released. Talk about a panic attack. When I finally flew home, ready to savor my copy, I remember the split-second thought of, “This is it! This is the last book in the Wallflower series. How is this going to end? All my characters that I just spent the last year with, obsessing over each romance…”

And with the reread, truly my heart went out to Daisy. Dating was rough for Daisy Bowman. Yeah, she had that hot Gypsy kiss, but she’s still single, and now her soap tycoon father is convinced that she cannot find a suitable match in England. To add insult to injury, he’s ready to arrange her marriage, and he knows just the bachelor; his own butt-kissing protégé from the United States, Matthew Swift. Daisy could not be any more turned off. She recalls Matthew as a gangly awkward kiss-up who doted on her father’s every business advice. But, of course, Daisy ends up surprised when she meets the handsome, mature, and charming Matthew Swift. Luckily, she has her friends there to support her. I’m not sure she could have had her story without the support of the Wallflowers. Sure, Lillian was an overbearing older sister at some points, but Matthew is successfully vetted through all their judgements and evaluations.

[Get by with a little from your friends...]

Dec 24 2016 3:00pm

We Say I Do to Lisa Kleypas’ I Will

I WIll by Lisa Kleypas

Miss Caroline Hargreaves is just the sort of respectable spinster that rakish Andrew, Lord Drake, is looking for in a sham engagement! She is perfectly content to take care of her mother and brother in the family’s lovely London town home, however, when she learns that her brother is squandering the family bank, Andrew seizes the opportunity to propose: If she can pretend to fall in love with Andrew, enough to convince his father to re-include Andrew in the will, then Andrew will stop gambling and partying with Caroline’s brother.  As soon as the town sees their faux-love, and Andrew is back in the will, then Caroline’s brother will be fine, and everything will go back to normal.

Don’t call her a blue-stocking just yet; she might be sweet and innocent with her glasses, but Caroline is not afraid to call out Lord Drake on his awful rakehell behavior.  Die-hard Lisa Kleypas fans might recognize Andrew, Lord Drake, as the villainous brother of Logan Scott from Because Your Mine.  Andrew only knows Caroline or “Caro,” as his friend’s sister. She only knows him as a Super Rake that her brother parties with too much. 

[Read more...]

Jan 10 2015 10:00am

Beguiled by Ally Broadfield’s How to Beguile a Duke

How to Beguile a Duke by Ally Broadfield

He raised a brow. “Have you forgotten the circumstances under which we met?” He looked down. “I can only assume you are wearing slippers under your gown… Miss Malboeuf, I will admit that you are quite captivating and proper this evening, but knowing what I know about you, I do not believe that you will be able to keep your less civilized side hidden for the length of the season.”

How to Beguile a Duke by Ally Broadfield is a standalone historical romance with a dueling hero and heroine. The heroine, Catherine Malboeuf, wants the hero, Nicholas Adair's, gorgeous house, and the tiara hidden inside, and Nick won’t give up. He rebuilt Walsley Manor after Catherine’s distant relatives couldn’t maintain the property, and it was a very cathartic process for him which helped him move past his own family troubles. He’s not just going to walk away from that because the sexy and dangerous Catherine breaks into his study.

[That's a very auspicious beginning...]

Oct 30 2014 2:00pm

First Look: Ashlyn Macnamara’s What a Lady Demands (November 4, 2014)

What a Lady Demands by Ashlyn MacnamaraAshlyn Macnamara
What a Lady Demands
Loveswept/ November 4, 2014 / $2.99 digital

Viscount Lindenhurst cannot seem to find a governess who meets his impossible standards—until Cecelia Sanford becomes the first woman to interrupt the widower’s brooding in years. Lind had returned home from the Napoleonic wars, broken in body and soul and longing for his wife’s embrace, only to find her changed. Before they could reconcile, an accident struck their son and claimed her life. Now enter Cecelia, with her soft curves and sharp tongue—a tempting distraction, it is true, but not a welcome one.

Past the usual marrying age and haunted by a scandal of her own, Cecelia soon finds herself caring for both the child and the man. The viscount is brittle and even abrupt at times, yet she cannot deny the attraction that stirs her body in his presence. Moved by the deep sense of abandonment that tortures his soul, Cecelia aches to fully awaken Lind’s heart from its rancorous slumber—if she can just keep their pasts from destroying a second chance at love.

What a Lady Demands by Ashlyn Macnamara is quite possibly one of the best romances involving the blossoming friendship between the hero’s child and the heroine. It’s adorable, yet not over-the-top cuddly. Despite having zero qualifications, and even having a few dark skeletons in her closet, Cecilia truly is the perfect governess for Lindenhurst's daughter, and it made this romance that much more enjoyable to read. The mystery and the heat made this romance feel like a master blend of Jane Eyre and Rebecca, but with a much more satisfactory ending.

[We demand to know more!]

Oct 10 2014 8:30am

Louisa Completes Ellie MacDonald’s Governess Club Series

The Governess Club: Louisa by Ellie MacDonaldThe Governess Club: Louisa by Ellie MacDonald (released in e-format now, available in print on November 11) is the fourth and last novella in MacDonald’s Governess Club series. The series revolves around four independent women (“Four stories of independence. Four stories of love.”) who support each other through their club and, eventually, find love.

The heroine Louisa might have a tiny bit of a grudge towards men, and of course, given her past, and even current situation, we can see why she feels bitter. You might expect a historical heroine to be a shy violet, but Louisa is hardly that; more like a vibrant rose, completely covered in thorns. But she’s not looking at the world through rose-colored lenses. Because Louisa is on her own at the beginning of the novella, she is very aware of, and angered by, the patriarchal society that oppresses her and limits her options:

At what point did ‘what’s best for the woman’ become entire acquiescence to man’s desires? Why is it that no one can see the disparity? And those who do are scoffed at, ridiculed and shunned for being ‘unnatural’ females, merely for wanting the acknowledgement that they are in possession of a working mind and are capable of using it just as effectively as a man.

It feels as if Louisa’s guiding assumptions and decisions scream out, “It wasn’t supposed to be this way!” And luckily, she meets John, and he proves in the opening chapter that he is a gentle sweetheart of a man, ready to be the patient protector that Louisa has wanted all along. Once they start working together at the Inn, we quickly see an affection develop between the two, despite Louisa’s gruffness. MacDonald does a wonderful back-and-forth narration style to show Louisa’s and John’s magnetic attraction, and of course, John is just such a sweetheart, that Louisa can’t help but fall for him. Fast and hard.

[We have a feeling we won't be able to help it either...]

Sep 30 2014 12:15pm

First Look: Amanda Scott’s Moonlight Raider (September 30, 2014)

Moonlight Raider by Amanda ScottAmanda Scott
Moonlight Raider (Border Nights #1)
Forever / September 30, 2014 / $8.00 print  / $7.99 digital

Border lord Walter Scott of Rankilburn, grief-stricken after burying his father, goes to the forest seeking solace. Instead he finds a half-naked young lady fleeing pursuit. Wat offers his protection, but honor demands that he return the golden-eyed beauty to her rightful husband-even though the last thing he wants is to see her in another man's arms.

Molly Cockburn has fled her home, family, and the brutal scoundrel she was forced to wed. Her pursuers are closing in when the powerful new Lord of Rankilburn bravely intervenes, then promises to help prove her marriage unlawful. Though fiercely loyal to her family, Molly fears they might harm the man she is coming to love, and now she must decide whether to remain faithful to her blood . . . or to her heart.

Moonlight Raider, the first book in Amanda Scott's new Border Nights series, is a must-read for Scottish history buffs and avid historical romance fans. She does a brilliant job of pulling the reader into the Late Middle Ages of Scotland. Before the Jacobites, there were Border lords—or Border Reivers (according to Wikipedia) during the time of the Stewarts in Scotland and the Tudors in England.

“The attitudes of the English and Scottish governments towards the border families alternated between indulgence or even encouragement, as these fierce families served as the first line of defense against invasion from the other side of the border, and draconian and indiscriminate punishment when their lawlessness became intolerable to the authorities.”

So Molly’s fear for being “returned” to her home, and her bridal bed with her gross villainous illegally-enforced husband, is quite valid. This is not to be confused with her delightful bridal bed with her handsome and heroic legally-enforced husband. Well, it’s more like they’re trying to find a loophole in the marriage laws in order to save Molly. And of course, because Wat is honorable and good-hearted, he wants to properly convince Molly to marry him, since he is the one protecting her from her own family.

[Bound by honor!]

Aug 19 2014 8:30am

First Look: Sabrina Jeffries’s How the Scoundrel Seduces (August 19, 2014)

How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina JeffriesSabrina Jeffries
How the Scoundrel Seduces (Duke's Men)
Pocket / August 19, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital

The third deliciously sexy novel in the New York Times bestselling Duke’s Men historical romance series, featuring an investigator who sets out to find gypsies—and unexpectedly finds love.

Investigator Tristan Bonnaud has one aim in life—to make sure that his half-brother George can’t ever ruin his life again. So when the pesky Lady Zoe Keane, the daughter of the Earl of Olivier, shows up demanding that the Duke’s Men find a mysterious gypsy woman, he seizes the opportunity to also hunt for a gypsy friend who knows secrets about George. Tristan doesn’t expect to uncover Lady Zoe’s family secrets, as well…or end up falling for the woman who will risk all to discover the truth.

How does the Scoundrel seduce? First, he’ll bewitch the pesky heroine with his good looks. Then he’ll tell her the news that she needs to hear, even if it makes her pout. (Think Rhett Butler telling Scarlett O’Hara that Ashley isn’t the right man for her.) Next, he’ll convince her with one hot make-out session that he can awaken her sexual desires. Follow this with him looking out for her, protecting her interests, and just being an all-around rugged independent man—and our heroine is successfully seduced!

[Sounds good to us!...]

Jul 25 2014 1:00pm

First Look: Manda Collins’s Why Lords Lose Their Hearts (July 29, 2014)

Why Lords Lose Their Hearts by Manda CollinsManda Collins
Why Lords Lose Their Hearts

St. Martin's Press / July 29, 2014 / $7.99 print / digital

Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormond, keeps a dangerous secret—the truth of how her brutish husband died. But a mysterious avenger seems to know it, too, and when anonymous threats turn into public attacks, there’s only one friend she can turn to for help—her husband’s former secretary, Lord Archer Lisle. The man who witnessed her every heartache. The kind of man whose love she can only dream of…

The youngest of the Duke of Pemberton’s five sons, Lord Archer Lisle is used to waiting his turn. For years, he could only stand by, seething, as Perdita suffered at the hands of her husband, but now she’s under threat from another source—one who will stop at nothing to make her pay for the late duke’s death. But the good-natured Archer can be dangerous when crossed—and he’ll do anything to keep the woman he’s adored for so long safe in his arms…

For the third and final installment of the Wicked Widows trilogy, Why Lords Lose Their Hearts, Manda Collins does a brilliant job at building the suspense, with a strong element of danger and paranoia that will keep you on edge even as you root for the romance. The heroine, Perdita, was in an abusive marriage to the Duke of Ormond. The hero, Lord Archer, is the youngest son of a Duke, and also the secretary to the Duke of Ormond. Don’t be fooled, he is a lion wearing lamb’s wool. Underneath the appearance of being just another loyal “employee” he is quite the force to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to going after what he wants and protecting Perdita. But he wasn’t an alpha hero in an over intimidating way.

[But we think there are other things to be intimidated by in this book...]

May 12 2014 3:30pm

First Look: Julie LeMense’s Once Upon a Wager (May 12, 2014)

Once Upon a Wager by Julie LeMenseJulie LeMense
Once Upon a Wager
Crimson Romance / May 12, 2014 / $4.99 digital

When Lord Alec Carstairs returns from the Peninsular Wars, hailed as a hero in the midst of the London Season, only Annabelle Layton knows the sort of man that he really is, that the honor everyone praises is illusory.

They’d been close friends once, before a passionate kiss changed everything. But if she’d secretly loved him, those feelings had died one bright summer morning, when a reckless wager left Annabelle with terrifying injuries. Alec had abandoned her without a backwards glance.

Hardly the actions of a hero.

But Alec has never forgotten her, despite his vow to stay away. There is more to that long-ago day than Annabelle knows, and shocking lies have distorted the past. Can he uncover its painful truths, and still keep his distance from the stunning beauty? Can he deny his forbidden desire, even as it flares again between them, hotter than ever?

Annabelle Layton used to have it good. Really good. She was young, gorgeous, and carefree—and if she felt like taking off her dress to splash in the water fountain outside, by golly she’d do it! Her brother, Gareth Layton, was the same way. Until he made a dangerous wager.

[Did he bet he wouldn't fall in love?]

Apr 29 2014 3:30pm

First Look: Victoria Alexander’s The Scandalous Adventures of the Sister of the Bride (April 29, 2014)

The Scandalous Adventures of the Sister of the Bride by Victoria Alexander

Victoria Alexander
The Scandalous Adventures of the Sister of the Bride (Millworth Manor)
Kensington / April 29, 2014 / $7.99 print & $6.99 digital

The bride's sister, Delilah, the very proper widowed Lady Hargate, and Samuel Russell, the groom's friend, a very eligible, slightly improper bachelor, at their upcoming wedding.

Lady Hargate and Mr. Russell, previously acquainted during one unforgettable night in New York City when caution—and clothing—were thrown to the wind will choose to pretend they have never met before.

The lady plans to avoid love and its complications at all costs.The gentleman intends to change her mind.

Guests are invited to enjoy the many diversions of Millworth Manor—delightful grounds, lavish drawing rooms, secluded corners—and the chance to discover that one night may have been only the beginning. . .

If I have ever doubted that opposites attract, Victoria Alexander's new romance The Scandalous Adventures of the Sister of the Bride has made me a believer.

[Why so convinced?...]

Dec 23 2013 1:00pm

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best of 2013, Day 3

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae CarsonMay old friends be forgot? We don't think so! We're celebrating our favorite reads with four days of the Best of 2013. We asked our bloggers for their favorite books of 2013, with one stipulation, they had to be new to them and not necessarily new to 2013. We know we got a few recommendations to add to our to be read piles and it's a great way to feed those readers you hopefully get for Christmas!

Check back every other weekday between now and Christmas for all of the blogger recommendations! See the picks from Day 1Day 2, and Day 4.

Rae Alley:

Bitter Kingdom (by Rae Carson) would be my top read. It's billed as a YA, but like so many YA titles lately it isn't just for young adults. There's a bit of finding yourself and making sure you know your purpose in the world throughout this book (and the previous two in the trilogy) but what was interesting to me was seeing how we got to the happy ever after for our heroine and her captain. You start the novel with her running to his rescue and him unaware of whether or not she really is coming to save him as it might mean her trading places with him and how does he really feel about that...and this pace of action stays throughout.

[Action-packed is the way we like it!...]

Oct 28 2013 12:30pm

First Look: Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Player (October 29, 2013)

Beautiful Player by Christina LaurenChristina Lauren
Beautiful Player
Gallery / October 29, 2013 / $15.00 print, $4.74 digital

When Hanna “Ziggy” Bergstrom moves to New York City for graduate school, Will Sumner thinks his responsibilities to his best friend’s nerdy little sister will be limited to the occasional dinner and check-in. Little does he know that Ziggy is ready to break out of her bookworm academic shell and move more into bombshell territory. Of course she figures the gorgeous womanizing venture capitalist Will is the best person to help mentor her in this new field of study: dating.

Will takes on the challenge with more than a healthy dose of skepticism and humor, but soon finds that Ziggy just needed a tiny push, not a world of change, to reveal a woman every man seems to notice. Soon “Ziggy” is gone and the unfiltered, innocently seductive Hanna Bergstrom is hijacking his dreams, his moods, and even his orderly no-strings-attached dating life—beginning the night his mentoring activities move between the sheets.

Beautiful Player is the third book in Christina Lauren's Beautiful series, and it feels like an everyday believable erotic romance. No one is disgustingly rich. No one talks about owning the city. Everyone still has a day job. No one obsesses in an overdramatic way. Our hero and heroine aren’t strangers who’ve just met. The dual first person point-of-views, alternating between chapters, feel like one minute you’re listening to Hanna, and the next minute you’re listening to Will, as they switch “player” roles and try to cope with their newfound emotions as a result of their steamy sexcapades.

[No billionaires here...]

Sep 19 2013 4:15pm

First Look: Ella Quinn’s The Seduction of Lady Phoebe (September 19, 2013)

The Seduction of Lady Phoebe by Ella QuinnElla Quinn
The Seduction of Lady Phoebe
eKensington / September 19, 2013 / $2.99 digital

Lady Phoebe Stanhope, famous for her quick wits, fast horses, and punishing right hook, is afraid of nothing but falling in love. Fleeing a matchmaking attempt with the only man she despises, Phoebe meets a handsome blue-eyed stranger who sends her senses skittering. By the time Phoebe discovers the seductive stranger is the same arrogant troll she sent packing eight years ago, she is halfway to falling in love with him.

Lord Marcus Finley last saw Phoebe striding regally away, as he lay on the floor with a bruised jaw and a rapidly swelling eye. Recently returned from the West Indies, Marcus is determined to earn Phoebe’s love, preferably before she discovers who he is. Determined to have Phoebe for his own, Marcus begins his campaign to gain her forgiveness and seduce her into marriage.

Can Phoebe learn to trust her own heart and Marcus? Or is she destined to remain alone?

In Ella Quinn's The Seduction of Lady Phoebe, it all starts with one unwanted boob grab. A drunken twenty-year-old bad boy, Lord Marcus Finley, is determined to sweep innocent young Phoebe off of her feet with a passionate kiss. He has nothing to lose because his father is going to banish him to the West Indies, and Phoebe will probably be married to someone else by the time he is able to return to England. The heat of the moment quickly dissipates when he scares Phoebe by caressing her breast, so she punches him. Very hard. Right in the face.

[What a way to start a romance!...]

Sep 10 2013 8:30am

Neither Comfy Nor Cozy: Bathrobes in Romance Novels

Escape to the Pan Pacific Vancouver image by ppacificvancouver via FlickrHow often do we have to read a specific detail in our romances before we consider it a cliché, a trend, or a trope? What if it’s a very minor detail that pops up more than once or twice? Is it considered a trend if it happens in three different romance novels?

A minor detail that always sticks out in my mind is in a scene from Linda Howard’s romantic suspense Dream Man, where the heroine and the hero are at home eating pizza, and she’s wearing a bathrobe. Not like a silky sexy-lingerie robe, but a puffy non-flattering terrycloth bathrobe. (She had to take a shower because she just woke up from an exhausting seizure-induced slumber after psychically witnessing a murder.) So she is sitting on the sofa, with her uber-protective hero, confessing all the intimate traumas of her life thus far, and eating pizza, and all I could think was, “How could she only be wearing a bathrobe?”

[What is it about bathrobes lately?...]

Aug 24 2013 10:00am

First Look: Mary Jo Putney’s Sometimes a Rogue (August 27, 2013)

Sometimes a Rogue by Mary Jo PutneyMary Jo Putney
Sometimes a Rogue
Zebra / August 27, 2013 / $7.99 print / $6.99 digital

Even the most proper young lady yearns for adventure. But when the very well bred Miss Sarah Clarke-Townsend impulsively takes the place of her pregnant twin, it puts her own life at risk. If the kidnappers after her sister discover they’ve abducted Sarah instead, she will surely pay with her life...Rob Carmichael survived his disastrous family by turning his back on his heritage and becoming a formidable Bow Street Runner with a talent for rescuing damsels in distress. But Sarah is one damsel who is equal to whatever comes. Whether racing across Ireland with her roguish rescuer or throwing herself into his arms, she challenges Rob at every turn.

The amount of adventure and thrills packed into mary Jo Putney’s latest Regency romance was completely unexpected—and thoroughly entertaining! Don’t let the gorgeous cover fool you, with the heroine luxuriously reclined in a silky sea of white lace. This romance is all action.

[Kidnappings, Sword Fights, Wrestling, Escapes.... ]

May 27 2013 10:00am

Holding Out for a Hero: Military Romances and the Veteran Hero

The Rule Breaker by Rhonda Nelson

“In answer, she’d looked hungrily at his mouth, released a shallow breath, then leaned forward and kissed him. Tentatively, at first, almost reverently, as though she’d been waiting a lifetime to taste him and didn’t want to ruin it by hurrying. Shock and sensation detonated through him, delaying his reaction.” - The Rule-Breaker by Rhonda Nelson

When I think of a military romance novel, I imagine that our hero will be bare-chested, wearing dog tags, jumping out of a helicopter, with a knife clenched between his teeth, holding two huge machine guns, ready to fight terrorism—before/during/after bringing his lover to orgasm. But those front covers and back synopses aren’t all the same. The factor that makes a romance a “military romance,” mainly involving a hero who is either active-duty or a veteran, can vary with each book.

Maybe our hero fought with time-travelling Vikings, or he was a brave knight in the crusades. Maybe he fought for or against Napoleon—and then he became a spy for the crown. Or maybe he’s a more modern military hero with a sun-bronzed body (from all those desert deployments), complete with battle scars and gorgeous muscles that just won’t quit. Here are a few things to note about our military romance heroes:

[Let me tell you what I need...]

Apr 10 2013 3:30pm

Preaching to the Unconverted: The Anatomy of an Inspirational

Mistaken Bride by Renee Ryan“Real love endures through all things.” - An Enduring Love by Jillian Hart

If you asked me a couple months ago what an inspirational romance was, I would have just said, “It’s a Christian romance novel—or maybe it’s an Amish romance novel. And there’s no sex scenes.” But it’s much more than that. Harlequin offers a wide variety of inspirationals in the Love Inspired Series: Suspense, Historical, and Special Edition. A sampling of inspirationals (a novella, a historical, a western, and a suspense), reveal a few common themes and elements throughout the sub-genre, besides a strong focus on basic Judeo-Christian values (following the Ten Commandments, no drugs, no dirty thoughts, etc.) Here are the observations from Mistaken Bride by Renee Ryan, The Deputy’s Duty by Terri Reed, Winning the Widow’s Heart by Sherri Shackelford, and An Enduring Love, a novella by Jillian Hart:

The Love & HEA

The inspirationals are lighter on the passion, but they can still be passionate. Let me be clear: there is no sex scene (or descriptive lovemaking of any kind) in an inspirational romance. Even though there are still warm affectionate embraces and hand-holding, a lot of times the characters have known each other for a long time. They hold the “I love you” until the very end, so the tension build-up can be best kind!

[Make us work for it!...]

Mar 22 2013 11:00am

Ex-Ray Vision: Meeting Past Loves in Romance Novels

Carrie and Big in Sex and the CityWhat's more awkward and anxiety-inducing than running into an ex-lover? It’s never going to be pleasant, and depending on who-dumped-whom, it can be downright painful. If it hits you like a gut-wrenching slap from the past, it’s not going to be something that you could easily brush off and forget.

We see this “meeting of the exes” in romantic comedies, and sometimes the television’s canned laughter can highlight the hilarity of the situation, while we’re cringing on the inside. In romantic dramas, we don’t need the canned laughter. Just leave us with the cringing and heartache. (Did anyone else go insane, during the Sex and the City series, whenever Carrie ran into Big?) Whether it’s running into your ex or running into your partner’s ex, remember that you’re supposed to take the higher road...unless you’re in a romance novel!

Romance novels can have extremely gratifying “ex” scenes, especially if the hero is meeting the heroine’s ex. In Romancelandia, the “running into the ex” situation usually looks like this:

[You know how it goes...]

Jan 28 2013 4:30pm

First Look: Lisa Kleypas’s Crystal Cove (February 5, 2013)

Crystal Cove by Lisa KleypasLisa Kleypas
Crystal Cove (Friday Harbor)
St. Martin's Press / February 5, 2013 / $14.99 print, $9.99 digital

Justine Hoffman has made a comfortable life for herself on the island of Friday Harbor. She is the proprietor of a successful boutique hotel, and she has the safe, predictable life she has always wanted. Growing up with her flighty, nomadic mother, Marigold, has instilled in her a deep longing for stability. But in spite of everything Justine has achieved, there is still something missing. Love. And after years of waiting and dreaming, she is willing to do whatever it takes to change her destiny.

What Justine soon discovers is that someone cast a spell on her when she was born, with the result that she will never find her soul mate. Determined to change her fate, Justine finds a way to break the enchantment, never dreaming of the dangerous complications that will follow.

And when Justine meets the mysterious Jason Black, she accidentally unleashes a storm of desire and danger that threaten everything she holds dear . . . because Jason has secrets of his own, and he wants more from her than fate will ever allow.

Whether you live in a small town or a large city, dating can be difficult. Falling in love and finding true happiness can be even tougher. Now imagine that you are Justine Hoffman, and you were cursed to never experience true love. Everyone tells her that one day she’ll find “Mr. Right,” but she knows it’s not that simple. Justine is trying to get rid of a bad spell that was placed on her from her childhood in the hope that she can experience a Happily Ever After of her own. She’s curious about the soulmates-forever kind of love. As Zoë explains to Justine about love, “Until you’ve felt it…you haven’t really lived.”

[Way to rub it in, Zoë...]