<i>Suspicious Behavior</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Suspicious Behavior: Exclusive Excerpt L.A. Witt and Cari Z "They find themselves on the tail of a prolific serial killer who’s about to strike again." <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!
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Jun 5 2017 2:00pm

First Look: Christina Lauren’s Dating You/Hating You (June 6, 2017)

Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren
Dating You/Hating You 
Gallery Books / June 6, 2017 / $16.00 print, $7.99 digital

Christina Lauren is back. And I for one am glad that this writing duo has ventured into stand-alones with Dating You / Hating You, their first romance release after the long-running, fan-favorite Beautiful series. And if there’s a shift in tone, it’s still the same great Christina Lauren we love.

Carter and Evie hit it off at mutual friends’ couples Halloween party, where they’re singles and strangers, but who come dressed as Harry and Hermione… I mean, this is a no-brainer. But it’s really in the brutal light of day that they discover they’re both top Hollywood agents, and the hits keep coming when they learn in that Twilight Zone kind of way that their companies have actually merged and not only are they now under the same roof—they’re in the same department, competing for the same job. Talk about trick or treat.

So far I’ve only given them the bullet points:

  • Hiding in my office, worrying I was going to be fired.
  • Meeting with Brad.
  • Thinking I might not be fired.
  • Surprise! There might only be a job here for one of you.
  • And by one of you, we mean you or this new guy you want to bang.

[Read more...]

Mar 13 2017 9:33am

First Look: Kendall Ryan’s The Play Mate (March 13, 2017)

The Play Mate by Kendall Ryan

Kendall Ryan
The Room Mate (Roommates #2)
Kendall Ryan / March 13, 2017 / $3.99 digital

Remember those first days of reading romance, the trope-tastic feel-good of a couple stumbling through their way to being together? A little bit fantasy—what we wish we could maybe do or go after ourselves—and the happily ever after that makes us sigh. But Kendall Ryan is bringing back the fun and the feels in her newest series, Roommates, which hits on all the favorite tropes like roommates, friends-to-lovers, and brothers’ best friend/little sister, and celebrates them for everything they are. And in the standalone second book, The Play Mate, inexperienced Evie is all grown up, fresh on the heels of graduating with a college degree, and ready to take on the world… and her brother’s best friend Smith Hamilton.

[Read more...]

Dec 13 2016 11:30am

First Look: Kit Rocha’s Beyond Surrender (December 13, 2016)

Beyond Surrender by Kit Rocha

Kit Rocha
Beyond Surrender (Beyond Series #9)
Kit Rocha / December 13, 2016 / $4.99 digital

Can you believe this is it? There is no other dystopian romance series on the market that is more powerful, more starkly drawn and developed, nor more wildly sexy than Kit Rocha’s Beyond series, and with Beyond Surrender, not only is war between the sectors and the city compound Eden finally realized, but it’s also O’Kane princess Nessa and Sector Five’s groomed hero leader Ryder’s long-awaited love story. It’s darkness and urgency, passion and uncertainty, beginnings and endings. And it’s a testament to the family gang that Rocha has created that, no matter what’s coming next in this world, will make it awfully hard to say good-bye.

We’ve been itching for Nessa and Ryder’s story since their explosive introduction lit up the page in Nessa’s whiskey distillery in the previous book. Nessa, “the heart of O’Kane’s empire”—because of her OG status and her brilliance with hand-crafting the liquor that’s made them famous—is also the equivalent of the little sister with a bunch of scary, intense, big brothers to ward off any guy who got too close. But Ryder’s a force of his own, the man who hails from Sector Eight under the guidance of the only leader who prepared for every aspect of the inevitable war with Eden and then took over Sector Five through sheer will. He’s an outsider, unintimidated by anything except what comes after this grand plan and what dreaming looks like, so he’s the perfect fit for effervescent, hopeful Nessa. And it’s important to remember that in the midst of such destruction, they’re the light here.

[Read more...]

Dec 12 2016 12:00pm

“Girl 101”: Jasper and Eleanor Get Exclusive (Maybe? Maybe Not?) in The Royals 3x02

Show/Episode: The Royals Season 3, Episode 2, “Passing Through Nature to Eternity”
Ship(s): Jasper and Eleanor (Jaspenor)

“Well played.” That’s the theme of episode two. Eleanor and Jasper are back to the games. It’s what they do. But the games have a different tone this time—it feels like authentic Jaspenor, but at the same time, it isn’t cutthroat and designed to cut deep now; it’s a means to a greater end. That being, Jasper and Eleanor together, again, for real. Even scenes where she’s trying to flirt with other guys, or he’s being quiet and mysterious, are ultimately all about them. What we get is not so much “will they or won’t they, but when will they?” Between all the exclusivity talk, confessions on her side, admissions on his, this episode was one truth bomb after another. And this episode, which begins light-hearted with Jasper serving as bodyguard to Eleanor and Liam at the Electric Carnival, ends with such blatant evidence that Eleanor and Jasper are so full-blown in love with each other, it’s just about making it happen.

[Thank goodness!]

Dec 8 2016 3:00pm

Royal Obsession: Royalty in Romance from Chase and Pace!

Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

The public has always been pretty passionate about looking through the lens at royals. From royal weddings to royal babies to royal scandals, there’s something about the glamorous, almost untouchable world of people who sit on actual thrones, live in palaces, and have titles like “Prince” and “Princess.” It feels like a different world than the modern, everyday one most of us live in, which makes it more than anything like a fantasy. So it seems like a natural fit that this theme would make its way to become a trend in romance, and there really couldn’t be one more fun.

Infamy is temporary, celebrity is fleeting, but royalty… royalty is forever.

-Royally Screwed, Emma Chase

It was to great enthusiasm and fanfare that Emma Chase made the announcement that her new self-pub series would be decadently royal. Royally Screwed is all about Nicholas, the crown prince of the fictional country of Wessco, and American commoner Olivia Hammond. Her life as a struggling coffee shop owner is as normal as it gets, and for the most part, so is her introduction to Nicholas, who stumbles in out of a blistering New York snowstorm. Yes, he’s with his entourage, but soon there’s just coffee and pie, and well, a proposition—to make it very worth her and her floundering business’s time, as only a wealthy, set-apart royal prince could do.

[Read more...]

Dec 6 2016 5:00pm

You’ll Be Back: Eleanor Forgives Jasper in The Royals 3x01

The Royals 3x01

Show/Episode: The Royals Season 3, Episode 1, “Together with Remembrance of Ourselves”
Ship(s): Jasper and Eleanor (Jaspenor)

“This place is weird.” This is the repeated tagline of the Season3 premiere of The Royals, and although it does seem as though all the characters have taken a collective breath of relief after the anxiety and tragedy of where they left off last season, happily they’re all up to their usual quirky antics. Everything does feel lighter, more fun. And the Eleanor/Jasper relationship, besides being give the significant screen time it deserves, has definitely taken a shift.

[Read more...]

Dec 3 2016 3:00pm

Will Jasper and Eleanor Get Back Together?: What’s to Come in The Royals Season 3

Jasper and Eleanor hold hands in The Royals Season 2Spoiler Note: This post will contain spoilers for all aired episode of E!'s The Royals and will include speculation for Season 3, which airs Sunday, December 4. 

No doubt about it, Season 2 was rough for The Royals fanatics. It doesn’t matter which storyline makes your heart trip a beat, none of the characters had it particularly easy, as the United Kingdom traded one excellent monarch in King Simon for his buffoon of a brother, Cyrus. Because of Queen Helena’s devious playing of one side against the other, her twin spare-heirs were left out in the cold in the line-up to the throne, due to her chocked-up paternity scandal. Now with the kingdom run amok, and the two most upstanding family members dead, Liam and Eleanor were left floundering, and the road for the heart of the whole show—Princess Eleanor and bodyguard Jasper — was the toughest of all. And with Season 3 premiering at the beginning of December, it’s pretty much the best Christmas present for those of us who love an angsty, all the feels romance on TV.

[Happy Holidays to us!]

Nov 27 2016 12:00pm

First Look: Karina Halle’s Heat Wave (November 28, 2016)

Heat Wave by Karina Halle

Karina Halle
Heat Wave
Karina Halle / November 28, 2016 / $14.00 print, $3.99 digital

If you haven’t hopped aboard Karina Halle’s travel romances, you’re seriously missing out. Halle has almost single-handedly defined the trope because for her, the setting isn’t just a place for the story; it lends an element to the mood, the emotion, and all the romance. In Heat Wave, we’re transported to magical, mystical Kauai, Hawaii, for the second-chance, forbidden, enemies-to-lovers love story of Veronica and Logan. And not only is Kauai practically a third main character, it’s where timing, circumstances, and fate have converged for two people with quite a past and a lot of time to make up for.

Halle sets the stage beautifully with a prologue that, no matter the angst to follow, shows right away the powerful chemistry and connection between twenty-something Ronnie and thirty-something Logan. They’re two kindred spirits who see something in the other in an instant, and the complication of literal politics and a meddling family can’t get in the way. Not even when their moment is quickly and irrevocably overshadowed by Ronnie’s older, beautiful, in-the-spotlight sister, Juliet. And Ronnie and Logan don’t get the something together they want right away, but you know what they say about things that are worth waiting for…

[Read more...]

Oct 15 2016 11:00am

She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy: Farmers Are the New Alpha

Nuts by Alice Clayton

Rural romance, agrismut, agriculture erotica, lumbersexual, “50 Bales of Hay”… All new terms popping up in the romance community. Did we ever think we’d be talking about farmer heroes as the new alphas? But that’s what makes romantic fiction so great. I’ll admit, Alice Clayton’s Hudson Valley series, starting with Nuts, had me researching local CSAs and falling in love with sexy farmers. And that’s just the beginning.

In Nuts, organic farmer Leo is doing it all; son of a prominent New York City family who’s gotten back to his true roots, he’s all about pastured chickens, rotating crops for sustainability, and working off the land for everything he needs. Then there’s the beard and the “proximity to flannel and Mumford,” the green eyes and passion for the work he does, and it’s enough for perennial vagabond Ruby to stay put and see a good thing when she’s got it, which is all that glorious attention from long-single Leo. Everything he does is sexy, from his laser focus on her to his love of the land and imparting that love to others, locals and families and student groups alike.

[Read more...]

Oct 3 2016 2:00pm

First Look: Christina Lauren’s Beautiful (October 4, 2016)

Beautiful by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren
Beautiful (The Beautiful Series #10)
Gallery Books / October 4, 2016 / $16.00 print, $7.99 digital

It’s clear that Christina Lauren love their lovable players, strangers, bitches, and bastards as much as we do because they’re going out in style. In the last of the best-selling, widely loved and praised Beautiful series—also the final title—workaholic Jensen and down-on-her-luck but adventurous Pippa live across the pond from each other, but have enough mutual friends and family that it seems like fate when they’re brought together as the only non-couple on a couples’ road trip, both needing an escape from lives that have become way too droll to still have so much ahead.

It was a good call having the other players on this boozy, scenic road trip be Will and Hanna—the forever favorites—and Ruby and Niall, the most recent happily ever we get to revisit so soon. In fact, there are a lot of parallels to Ruby and Niall for Pippa and Jensen: jaded, divorced heroes; fun-loving heroines; and a slower burn than some of the more frantic early beginnings for this crowd. It’s almost as though we’ve seen not only the evolution of characters we’ve come to love so much, to feel as ours, but also that of the authors pulling the strings. The emotions are deep, the real-life impact can be felt, and above all, their stories are about two people who come together exactly right.

[Read more...]

Sep 7 2016 9:30am

Out of This World: Dystopian Erotic Romance from Dane, Rocha, and More!

Insatiable by Lauren Dane

Dystopian romance is kind of like the misunderstood, forgotten cousin or red-headed stepchild in the vast world of romantic fiction. Not quite paranormal, maybe sci-fi futuristic or alternatively post-apocalyptic, it’s for the very particular reader, one looking for a world outside of the one we know. But at the same time, there are some real, creative gems out there that make up the genre. Because these authors’ series by definition are outside of the box, and with Kit Rocha’s hit indie Beyond series and Elle Kennedy’s newest mainstream Outlaws series, Dystopian series have roared their presence again in a big way and if you haven’t checked them out, you may be missing something really special from some very bright minds.

Lauren Dane shows all her chops with her hugely underrated Federation series. It’s got something for everyone: menage, enemies-to-lovers, reunited lovers, more menage, and every sexual combination you can imagine in this scorching series about a new time and world with a particular focus on both almost ancient social structures and new technological advances. Dane’s quirky writing really works here, where everything’s off kilter but the romance blooms bright through it all. It’s wild and fun and hot. This series has been on my keeper shelf for a long time, and it really demonstrates Dane’s talent and boundless imagination. If you think you know Dane from her contemporaries, you haven’t seen anything yet — it’s a must-read.

“I know people will say I’m too young, or that it’s only the danger of this mission that made me mistake lust for love. I know I will be told to see others because I can’t possibly know my own mind.”

She tipped back enough to look at his face. She wanted him to see her eyes when she told him the rest. “I come from a world where I was traded to a man I neither consented to marry nor wanted to marry. My entire life has been about people telling me what to do, what to think and believe. I have had little space to express my own wishes. I must tell you I choose you. Choose, Daniel.”

-Insatiable, Lauren Dane

[Read more...]

Sep 5 2016 9:30am

First Look: Jodi Ellen Malpas’s The Protector (September 6, 2016)

The Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Jodi Ellen Malpas
The Protector
Forever / September 6, 2016 / $15.99 print, $7.99 digital

Bodyguards in romance should be on the rise. It’s a little known secret that I am obsessed with Princess Eleanor and her hot-as-sin bodyguard Jasper on E!’s The Royals. And we could stand to see a whole lot more of this guilty pleasure pairing on the page, as it makes for the best in romance: forbidden attraction, close quarters, and heaps of chemistry all wrapped up in protecting the other’s body. Jodi Ellen Malpas has seized on all these things with her brand-new stand-alone The Protector. Here the heroine is famous in her own right as an heiress with a tabloid past, and the hero is hired security when her not-so-scrupulous father’s dirty business dealings have finally led to a threat against her. So now Camille Logan has her own personal bodyguard, whether she wants it or not.

“What do you mean, look after her?” I ask.

“I’ve hired Sharp to watch you,” he explains. Sharp coughs next to me, and Dad rushes to rephrase that. “He’s your bodyguard for the foreseeable future. The best protection money can buy.”

“Excuse me?” I splutter. “He—” I throw an arm out in the general direction of Sharp and my hand collides with his solid bicep, having me retract in shock. Fucking hell, he’s like Action Man. “He’s my bodyguard?”

[Read more...]

Aug 2 2016 9:30am

When Plus Really Is More: Alice Clayton’s Cream of the Crop

Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton

When it comes to romance, you could say a good romance novel has done its job if it gives the feels, if it indulges a fantasy, or provides an escape. And of course the combination of richly layered love story and toe-curling sexy times, sparkling chemistry and exactly right hero and heroine is what separates the wheat from the chaff, an analogy Hudson Valley series author Alice Clayton will appreciate, whose latest entry Cream of the Crop is the best she’s ever done (even better than Wallbanger, I’d pose). And it’s because when a book and its characters go beyond feeling to changing, that’s what turns reading to empowering, and that’s just what the fabulous, size-eighteen heroine Natalie Grayson does, maybe without ever even realizing it.

Natalie is a gorgeous, take-by-storm advertising executive in posh New York City, where she kills at her job and loves life. She’s financially successful, a social butterfly, a devoted daughter and loving friend, and takes men when and how she pleases. And, both way down on the list and of utmost importance, Natalie has curves. Beautiful, hourglass curves “with an extra hour or two at each end” that she works and owns and appreciates.

[A cheesy delight...]

Aug 1 2016 12:30pm

First Look: Tessa Bailey’s Worked Up (August 1, 2016)

Worked Up by Tessa Bailey

Tessa Bailey
Worked Up (Made in Jersey #3)
Entangled Brazen / August 1, 2016 / $3.99 digital

You think you know a Tessa Bailey hero? She created the alpha virgin hero and she’s famous for her dirty talk, but you haven’t met Duke Crawford in Worked Up yet. He’s Bailey’s giant of a hero, big and burly, a hulk—just wait! He’s also guardian of four crazy adult sisters, temporary landlord to his best friend’s family, and steady mechanic at the local factory. And he’s had it with commitment, responsibility, and taking care of anybody else. It’s the dichotomy of his life, until in walks Samantha, a beautiful commitment-phobe herself for another host of reasons, and kindred spirits collide in New Jersey.

There were a handful of certainties in Duke’s life. One, baseball. Two, his tools. Grease. Working with his hands. Three, barbequing on summer Saturdays. Four, he didn’t have any use for women, romantically speaking. Five, this wasn’t going to be the last time he saw Sam.

[All shook up...]

Jun 28 2016 9:30am

First Look: Elle Kennedy’s Addicted (June 28, 2016)

Elle Kennedy
Addicted (Outlaws #2)
Signet / June 28, 2016 / $$7.99 print & digital

With Elle Kennedy’s Outlaws series, she’s accomplished quite a feat: bringing Dystopian out of the shadows into the mainstream in a loud and proud way. In a publishing landscape overrun with contemporaries and even cookie-cutter paranormals, Kennedy’s not only celebrating a post-apocalyptic world, she’s putting her own stamp on it. And if Claimed was a fantastic, nearly primeval forest romp for those on society’s fringe, Addicted takes us to the Outlaws version of Pleasantville, where two long-time best friends finally get their story.

Addicted goes into a new piece of Kennedy’s world. After Lennox and Jamie’s good-time pleasure house is burned to the ground where we left off, they’re forced to relocate—always together—to their friend Connor’s compound, but are soon sent on an assignment with a few other members of the group to help with combat and weapons training at a tight-knit community. It’s a different sort of setting, still free-flowing with sex and booze for the adults, but where the young people are sheltered, everyone has a job and purpose, and self-sufficiency in all things, from food to consumer goods either made by hand or bartered for, is paramount and a carefully crafted network. And it’s here where Lennox and Jamie, due to these new circumstances and plenty of urgency, finally find themselves confronted with feelings for each other that go well beyond friendship.  

[A sexy ride...]

Jun 23 2016 9:30am

Grant Us a Boone: The Long-Awaited Couple of Lorelei James’ Unbreak My Heart

Unbreak My Heart by Lorelei James

Lorelei James has a knack for creating anticipation in her readers. Thanks to her, Sierra and Boone—two teenagers on the sideline of one of her popular Rough Riders entries, Gone Country — exploded into one of the most in-demand couples of the decade in romantic fiction. Their story, four years in the making, is here at last, and for romance readers, having the journey come full circle, watching two young characters we fell for grow up, seeing star-crossed loves seize this as their time, is oh so sweet.

And it’s clear that it was a labor of love for James herself. Unbreak My Heart is a celebration of the story we’ve waited for. From the moment they met on the bus in Sundance, Wyoming, there was just something about Boone and Sierra. He from the wrong side of the tracks, she a daddy’s princess, new to town but part of the catch-all McKays. They were each other’s tether, forming a friendship that became the deepest bond for them both. But it came to a crashing halt — and put on hold for readers everywhere — when Boone decides to head out for the Army, leaving Sierra and all those possibilities behind. Finally, he’s back and ready for them to get the chance they lost, for them to stake their claim.

[It's finally their turn...]

Jun 20 2016 9:30am

First Look: Cara McKenna’s Downtown Devil (June 21, 2016)

Downton Devil by Cara McKenna

Cara McKenna
Downtown Devil (Sins in the City #2)
Signet / June 21, 2016 / $3.99 digital

From the author of Crosstown Crush comes the second sexy novel in the trilogy that explores the illicit pleasures of ménage à trois.

At the edge of thirty, Clare is feeling restless. Even though she’s gainfully employed and pursuing her passion for photography, she can’t shake the feeling that something’s missing. Then she meets Mica. A perfect subject for her portrait exhibit, Mica is sexy, exciting, and everything Clare desires.

One night with the charismatic stranger is all it takes to leave her craving more. But the intensity Mica brings isn’t confined to the bedroom, and Clare wonders if this summer fling might turn more adventurous than she anticipated—especially as a curious energy starts to simmer between the two of them and Mica’s handsome roommate, Vaughn.

As the three-way tension mounts, Mica makes a sinful proposal. It’s an invitation Clare can’t pass up, and an erotic encounter she’ll never be able to forget. Caught up between two irresistible men, Clare is about to get all the excitement she’s been looking for—and then some....

Sometimes in romance, much as we love it for the escape, it feels a little too good to be true. As wonderful a fantasy a romantic hero gives, there are real, three-dimensional, perfectly likable men I’ve encountered that I’ve never quite seen translated to the page. Finally, in Cara McKenna’s Downtown Devil, Mica is that man. And that makes for a McKenna story like we’re used to —unexpected, unpredictable, and unforgettable.

[The three u's...]

Jun 14 2016 2:00pm

Totally Unrelated: 3 Books to Make You Fall in Love with the Stepbrother Trend

Nauti Boy by Lora Leigh

I’ll be honest, the stepbrother theme is my jam. To me it’s always been a little like the Brother’s Best Friend/Little Sister trope, but more forbidden, more tingly and sexy and extreme, more out there. As much as I love the trope, its success is somewhat a mystery to me because it’s so polarizing. Some of the over-publication of this trend has led to retailers being over-populated with books that cheapen and bury the great step-stories, and most of all, what makes the whole stepsiblings element great. I fell in love with stepbrother romance when it was in the margin, as naughty as can be, because above all, it can push romance to the very edge and wring some serious feeling out of the whole thing.

Exhibit A, Lora Leigh's Nauti Boy

Nauti Boy by Lora Leigh is the ultimate stepbrother romance because it was one of the first. If you love the thrill, if you can bask in the forbidden, this will have you hooked. Imagine Leigh’s dirty-talker alpha hero lusting and loving his stepsister. Explode. Rowdy went into the military to get away from the temptation of his younger stepsister, and though he ran as far as he could, Kelly was waiting for him too. When he comes home and they’re finally under one roof again, all bets are off, and it’s the history that makes it hot between Kelly and Rowdy, but also knowing they have to sneak around a little, that being raised together tends to raise eyebrows in a small town. What I see, though, is protectiveness, a shared background and connection, and that twist —two people that might be considered brother and sister but aren’t, at all. The thing is that for Kelly and Rowdy, the love that isn’t all that brother- or sisterly has always been simmering under years of teenage angst and emotion.

[More forbidden romances ahead...]

May 25 2016 9:30am

First Look: Lisa Kleypas’s Marrying Winterborne (May 31, 2016)

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

Lisa Kleypas
Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
Avon Romance / May 31, 2016 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better...

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable . . . the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Winterborne

Helen and Winterborne stole the show in Cold-Hearted Rake, Lisa Kleypas’ family-centric return to historical romance, particularly Avon historicals, after years away. And in the second of the new Ravenels series, Marrying Winterborne, their story is brimming with romance, dazzling with details, and nuanced with depth and delight alike, as only she’s known for. Prepare for a new Lisa Kleypas classic. 

[We're prepared...]

May 16 2016 9:30am

Not-So-Perfect Gentlemen (Just How We Like ’Em) in Lexi Blake and Shayla Black’s Big Easy Temptation

Big Easy Temptation by Shayla Black and Lexi BlakeThe Perfect Gentlemen are back at it again in Big Easy Temptation. Shayla Black and Lexi Blake’s series about conspiracy that goes to the very top, centered around six elite prep school playboys, has combined edge-of-your-seat suspense with some of the very best tropes romance has to offer, and in Big Easy Temptation we’re headed south to New Orleans for a reunited lovers story between Navy captain Dax Spencer and NCIS official Holland Kirk.

Besides the change of scenery, Dax and Holland’s story also stands out for its before-and-after telling. Black and Blake seize on the opportunity to time jump to the group’s former glory days, where Mad is still loud and proud and Dax is determined that his friend Holland finally sees him as more than that. It’s refreshing to see it in two parts, not only for the romance but also to see the winds stirring as pieces are being put in place for the deadly fall-out that’s to come. Dax and Holland’s romance is sweet, inevitable, and the fact that they’re paired up investigating his father’s death adds another dimension to it. Unfortunately, it’s these very stakes that cause a rift and a betrayal that separated them then. And while the past is crucial to the present, once he’s back in NOLA after all that’s happened, a future with Holland is all Dax can think about.

[He knows what he wants...]