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Showing posts by: Valerie Bowman click to see Valerie Bowman's profile
Oct 18 2017 11:07am

Valerie Bowman Excerpt: The Right Kind of Rogue

The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie Bowman

Can two star-crossed lovers come together—until death do they part?

Viscount Hart Highgate has decided to put his rakish ways behind him and finally get married. He may adore a good brandy or a high-speed carriage race, but he takes his duties as heir to the earldom seriously. Now all he has to do is find the right kind of woman to be his bride—ideally, one who’s also well-connected and well-funded. . .

Meg Timmons has loved Hart, the brother of her best friend, ever since she was an awkward, blushing schoolgirl. If only she had a large dowry—or anything to her name at all. Instead, she’s from a family that’s been locked in a bitter feud with Hart’s for years. And now she’s approaching her third London season, Meg’s chances with him are slim to none. Unless a surprise encounter on a deep, dark night could be enough to spark a rebellious romance. . .for all time?

Get a sneak peek at Valerie Bowman's The Right Kind of Rogue (available October 31, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.


“How in Hades’s name can you drink at this hour of the morning, Highgate?”

Hart tossed back his brandy, swallowed, and laughed at his brother-in-law’s words. The two sat across from each other at Brooks’s gentlemen’s club. It was decidedly before noon. The only reason Hart was up at this hour was because he’d promised to meet Lord Christian Berkeley. His brother-in-law rarely asked for favors and Hart suspected this meeting was his sister Sarah’s doing, but he would humor the viscount just the same.

“Berkeley, old chap, you don’t know the half of it.” Hart clapped the viscount on the back. “Helps with the devil of a head left over from last night, don’t ya know?”

Berkeley lifted his teacup to his lips. “No. I don’t. But I’ll take your word for it.”

That reply only made Hart laugh harder, which made his head hurt more. Hart liked his brother-in-law a great deal, but the man was decidedly humdrum when it came to amusements. Berkeley rarely drank, rarely smoked, and preferred to spend his time at his estate in the north of England or his hunting lodge in Scotland. Berkeley enjoyed quiet pursuits like reading or carving things out of wood much more than the amusements London had to offer. But Viscount Berkeley was a good man and one who clearly adored Hart’s sister, and that was what mattered.

[Read the full The Right Kind of Rogue excerpt...]

Oct 12 2016 11:00am

Valerie Bowman Excerpt: The Legendary Lord

The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman

When Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, flees the stuffy ballrooms of London for his Scottish hunting lodge, the last thing he expects to find ensconced before his fire is an incredibly beautiful woman. But the plight of lovely young Sarah Highgate, who has run away from an unwanted betrothal, inspires an eminently practical exchange. He’ll safeguard her reputation with the ton while she advises him how to best attract a proper bride…

As the undisputed belle of the season, Sarah has enchanted plenty of suitors. Still, she isn’t interested in marriage, especially not to the pompous bore her father has chosen for her. But her hasty escape seems reckless now that she’s estranged from her family and has no one to count on besides Christian. Turning the luckless lord into such a catch has another unplanned consequence for Sarah: Has he run away with her heart?

Get a sneak peek at Valerie Bowman 's The Legendary Lord (available November 1, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.


Scotland, November 1816

Someone was inside his house. Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, stood outside the small hunting lodge and watched as a plume of smoke from the chimney billowed into the darkening sky. He made his way slowly toward the front door, pushed it open with his boot, and tightened his fist around the pistol he kept inside his coat pocket whenever he traveled. He’d spent the last sennight on the road. He was tired. He was dirty. He hadn’t shaved. And he was in as foul a mood as he ever got. It was bitter cold. The wind was picking up. And from the looks of things, the sky was about to open up and dump an unholy amount of snow on this place. All Christian wanted was a warm fire and some food. Instead, it looked as though he would first be forced to dispatch a thief. He took a deep, calming breath and slowly pulled the pistol from his inside coat pocket.

[Read the full The Legendary Lord excerpt...]

Dec 18 2015 2:00pm

All I Want for Christmas Is...a Cocktail

All I Want for Christmas by Valerie Bowman, Tiffany Clare, Vivienne Lorret, and Ashlyn MacnamaraToday we're thrilled to welcome four beloved romance authors to Heroes and Heartbreakers. In All I Want for Christmas is a Duke, authors Valerie Bowman, Tiffany Clare, Ashlyn Macnamara, and Vivienne Lorret, each contributed a story featuring some of our favorite holiday things—parties, stolen kisses, and so much more! Today, these authors are here to talk about something else we all love: holiday cocktails! Thank you, ladies!

The holidays are a time to make merry. And what better way to do so, say the authors of All I Want for Christmas is a Duke, than with spirits? (The kind you find in a bottle, not a haunted house.) Settle in with your own favorite libation as the authors of this fun historical holiday anthology share their favorite Yuletide drinks with you.

Valerie Bowman: In my large family, the holidays are definitely a time to eat, drink, and be merry with emphasis on drink. One of my favorite holiday beverages is fresh, hot coffee with Irish whiskey and cream. I can still remember the first time I had it in a piping hot mug. It tasted every bit as good as it smelled. Such a delight! And ever so warming on those cold winter nights. I haven’t yet had a character in one of my novels tipple a bit of whiskey into her coffee (or tea as the case may be) but now that I think on it, I need to do that. Methinks a flask must be involved. I’ll definitely be both writing and pouring a mug or two of Irish coffee this season.

[Let's all raise a mug. Cheers!...]

Nov 18 2015 1:00pm
Original Story

H&H Quickie #14: Valerie Bowman Presents The Irresistible Rogue Prequel Scene

The Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman

We are honored and thrilled to share with you a brand-new, exclusive, original Quickie prequel scene to The Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman, which came out earlier this month.

H&H newsletter subscribers were the first to read the Quickie, which we're now thrilled to post for all readers! We hope you enjoy.

Want to be alerted for our next Quickie? Become an H&H member and check “yes” to become a newsletter subscriber and get your quick fix of all other romance news, reviews, and excerpts!

Last month, we asked you to offer suggestions (“prompts”) as inspiration for a short original scene, and you brought your A-game!

Here are the prompts Valerie chose as inspiration (with thanks to everyone who left a suggestion, both here at H&H and on Wattpad, because there were so many fantastic options):

  • A hero with a scar (PhoebeChase)

  • Stale tea cakes (lauralee1912)

The London Docks
Approximately one year before The Irresistible Rogue begins

Ok, this was it. Daphne was going to kiss Rafe Cavendish if it was the last thing she did. Tonight. On this ship. They had only two more days before it was all over. Their mission, that is. She’d spent the last nearly two weeks with him aboard The True Love pretending to be his cabin boy, married to him, and he hadn’t made so much as one inappropriate advance on her whatsoever. It was entirely possible this mission would end without any sort of inappropriate advance being made on Rafe’s part and Daphne had made up her mind. If an inappropriate advance was going to be made, apparently she was the one who was going to make it. So be it.

[Read the full scene now...]

Oct 30 2015 10:00am

The Irresistible Rogue: Exclusive Excerpt

The Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman

A proposal from a scoundrel

Daphne Swift has not laid eyes on her devilishly charming husband, Captain Rafferty Cavendish, in quite some time. As a matter of fact, she wants the rogue to annul their brief marriage so that she can marry the reliable and estimable Lord Fitzwell. But the breathtakingly handsome Rafe is not interested in letting Daphne go-at least not without paying his scandalous price...

The seduction of his wife

Rafe prefers to face the dangers of spying alone, but this time he needs his innocent, fiery wife to uncover the information he seeks. He has even agreed to release her from their marriage if she submits completely to his plan. However, Daphne's alluring combination of courage and curves makes her a dangerous distraction, and it is not long before Rafe is trading subterfuge for seduction in order to prove that Daphne is meant to be his and his alone...

Get a sneak peek at Valerie Bowman's The Irresistible Rogue (available November 3, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.


London, June 1816
The Earl of Swifdon’s town house, Hanover Square

Daphne Swift eyed the mysterious present that rested atop her writing desk. It was wrapped in soft pink paper and tied with a wide white ribbon. Someone obviously knew her favorite color. But the gift did little to stop the dread that had been steadily rising in her throat all morning.

“I think it’s an engagement gift,” her young cousin Delilah said. “For your party tomorrow.” Moments ago, Delilah had flounced into the room carrying the wrapped box in both hands, an impish smile on her face. “I simply cannot wait until I’m old enough to receive an engagement present.” Drama dripped from Delilah’s voice, and she clasped her hands together near her hip. She blinked rapidly. “J’adore presents.”

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt...]

Sep 16 2015 12:00pm

Of Course, Dahling: The 5 Reasons You Should Be Watching Ladies of London

Today we're thrilled to welcome Valerie Bowman to Heroes and Heartbreakers! Valerie's upcoming book, The Irresistible Rogue, comes out on November 3. That's a long way off, right!? Well, if you're looking to fill the void until you can get your next Playful Bride, Valerie has a suggestion—Ladies of London! Add this to your to-be-watched list, and if you're still not sold, Valerie has 5 reasons you should be! Thanks, Valerie!

I admit it. I love me some reality TV. Not all of it. But if it comes on Bravo TV, I’m almost always in. This week Bravo began airing the second season of a delicious little pot of reality cream and—like the little reality-loving cat I am—I’m licking it up. It’s called Ladies of London and here’s why I’m digging it and why I think you might too, especially if you like historical romance set in England. As an American Anglophile, this show is right up my alley, giving me a little glimpse inside the lives of modern-day British aristocrats and some seriously socially connected Americans.

So, how much do I love this show? Allow me to count the ways.

[My love for the Ladies of London ...]

Apr 29 2015 11:00am

The Unlikely Lady: Exclusive Excerpt

The Unlikely Lady by Valerie BowmanFor the bachelor and the bluestocking…

Certain that no man wants a bluestocking for a wife, Miss Jane Lowndes is careful to wield her books and her spectacles as weapons against matrimony. Convincing her ambitious mama that she's content to stay a spinster is easier said than done, however. It's a good thing Jane is not above a bit of manufactured scandal if it will keep her from the altar, and the argumentative, contrary Lord Garrett Upton…

Romance is never by the book

With the war over, Garrett is determined to enjoy his bachelor's life while he can, even when it means attending a house party in celebration of a friend's wedding-and suffering Jane's notorious disdain. But when a masquerade ball leads to a mistaken kiss, he's surprised to learn that Jane's bookish exterior hides a truly passionate soul. When two such headstrong people are determined to remain unattached, can love lead to a happy ending?

Get a sneak peek at Valerie Bowman's The Unlikely Lady (available May 5, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapter 1.

Plus, a very special bonus:  If you haven't done so already, be sure to also read Valerie Bowman's H&H Quickie scene, which just so happens to be a prequel to Jane and Garrett's story, featuring a memorable trip to the Bath Houses! 


London, April 1816

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Mrs. Cat, show yourself and let’s get this over with, shall we?” Jane Lowndes wiped the dark, wet hair from her eyes. It was raining. Hard. The downpour had begun nearly five minutes ago and she’d been standing outside the mews behind her father’s town house for nearly ten.

Jane could live with the rain herself. Who cared about hair or clothing being ruined? She could even stand the fact that her spectacles were foggy. But her book was getting wet and that was not acceptable. She’d tucked the leather-bound volume under her arm as best she could while she balanced a wooden bowl in her hands, but she truly needed to get the book inside and dry it by the fire.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt...]

Oct 26 2014 11:00am

The Accidental Countess: Exclusive Excerpt

The Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman


For seven long years, Lady Cassandra Monroe has waited for the man of her dreams to return from the war. Unfortunately, he happens to be engaged to her flighty cousin. What Cass wouldn’t give to take her cousin’s place! When he mistakes Cass for Patience Bunbury, a fictitious friend her cousin has invented to escape social obligations…even with her future husband, Cass thinks this is her chance.


After defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, Captain Julian Swift is not quite ready to settle down and enter into his unwanted arranged marriage—especially when the real object of his affection turns out to be a beguiling beauty he meets at a party. Patience Bunbury is witty, independent, passionate…and, unbeknownst to him, the cousin of his current fiancée. When the truth about Cass comes out—and Julian discovers that their courtship is anything but accidental—will he surrender his heart to a woman who really is too good to be true?

Get a sneak peek of Valerie Bowman's The Accidental Countess (available October 28, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Chapter 1
London, early October 1815

“How can one attend the country house party of a person who does not exist?” Cassandra Monroe sat in her cousin Penelope’s drawing room, sipping tea and staring at the slightly older woman who had clearly lost her mind. Cass set her teacup aside and rubbed her temples as she spoke. The headache that had begun minutes ago was slowly turning into a full-blown megrim.

Lucy Hunt, the newly married Duchess of Claringdon and Cass’s best friend, sat next to her, also eagerly awaiting Penelope’s answer. The entire story made absolutely no sense. Neither of them was having much luck getting Pen to answer their questions about her elusive friend Patience.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of The Accidental Countess...]

Sep 21 2014 9:00am

Christmas Brides: Exclusive Excerpt from “Once Upon a Christmas Scandal”

Alexandra Hawkins, Suzanne Enoch, Elizabeth Essex and Valerie Bowman

The Christmas Brides Anthology

Relax on a silent night and dive into Christmas Brides, a lush historical holiday anthology featuring a brand-new story from USA Today bestselling author Alexandra Hawkins. And back by popular demand from last Christmas, previously published One Hot Scot, The Scandal Before Christmas, and It Happened Under the Mistletoe are back to deck the halls in this sensual Christmas collection.

One Hot Scot by Suzanne Enoch

Duncan Lenox lives surrounded by enemies, a MacLawry in a land of Campbells. But when an English beauty has nowhere else to turn, he feels obligated to help. Now that they must spend a night together in an abandoned cottage while a storm rages on, will their mutual passion save—or doom—them both?

Once Upon a Christmas Scandal by Alexandra Hawkins

Lady Ellen is outraged when she learns her dowry’s been increased by her dad, eager to draw every bachelor in England to her front door. So when Lord Swainsbury comes knocking, Ellen assumes he’s another dreadful fortune hunter. Little does she know that Swainsbury has completely fallen for her—body, heart, and soul…

The Scandal Before Christmas by Elizabeth Essex

Lieutenant Ian Worth needs a wife by Christmas. He has to find her, woo her, and wed her before he goes back to sea. Anne Lesley is a shy spinster with no prospects, so she accepts Ian’s hasty offer only for the security it will bring. But when a midwinter storm rolls in, things start to heat up between them…and they might just find true, honest-to-goodness love…

It Happened Under the Mistletoe by Valerie Bowman

Oliver Townsende intends to avoid the hordes of marriage-minded misses at a friend’s holiday party. When he meets Miss Cerian Blake, who’s dodging her own unwanted set of admirers, the two decide to join forces and fake an infatuation to keep their suitors at bay. But when mistletoe becomes involved, will their Christmastime prank turn into a love to last all seasons?

Get a sneak peek of the Christmas Brides anthology (available September 30, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt from the story “Once Upon a Christmas Scandal” by Alexandra Hawkins.

Her cheeks were a vivid pink that had nothing to do with the chill in the corridor as they walked back to the main house.

“How long had you been listening?” Derrick quietly asked, sensitive to the fact that Lord Netherley’s comment had upset her.

Lady Ellen halted in front of the closed door. She placed her hand over his to prevent him from opening it. “Long enough to understand that you are a good man.”

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt from Christmas Brides...]

Jul 29 2014 1:00pm
Original Story

H&H Quickies #4: Valerie Bowman Presents a Prequel Scene to The Unlikely Lady

The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie BowmanToday we are over the moon to bring you an exclusive Quickie scene from Valerie Bowman, whose brand new series—The Playful Brides—began with The Unexpected Duchess in April.

Back in June, we asked you to offer suggestions (“prompts”) as inspiration for a short original scene, and you blew us away with a ton of great prompts.

Want to be alerted for our next Quickie? Become an H&H member and newsletter subscriber to get your quick fix, and all other romance news, reviews, and excerpts!

Valerie is here today to introduce you to her scene—along with two characters that are very familiar to fans of The Playful Brides series. Thanks to everyone who left a suggestion, because there were so many fantastic options:

Hi everyone! Many readers have written to tell me how much they love Jane and Garrett, two secondary characters from my latest novel, The Unexpected Duchess. Jane and Garrett have very little use for one another in the book but they do indeed get their own happily ever after next spring in the third book in my Playful Brides trilogy, The Unlikely Lady. I’ve had such a good time writing about these two that I thought it would be fun if I based my quickie on a scene that’s alluded to, but never shown, in The Unexpected Duchess—Garrett and Jane’s trip to the Bath Houses. So, without further ado, here is the quickie. I chose the prompts: pea-green waistcoat, a pair of red leather boots, and missing cravat (wink).


Bath, England
July 1815

“Oh, come now Upton. Must you dawdle?” Jane Lowndes rolled her eyes, her arms crossed tightly over her chest, her foot impatiently tapping along the stone steps leading to the Bath House.

“I’m hardly dawdling, Miss Lowndes. I’m merely not in the rush you seem to be. The Bath Houses have been here for centuries, I doubt they will crumble before I have a chance to exit the carriage.” Garrett Upton stuck his head and shoulders through the door to his coach and jumped to the ground. He straightened his hat and gloves, then turned to Miss Lowndes who had already been helped down by the footman who’d ridden with them. “Satisfied?” he asked her with a smirk.

[Continue on to read the full scene...]

Apr 10 2014 11:00am

The Unexpected Duchess: Exclusive Excerpt


Lady Lucy Upton’s tongue may be too sharp to attract suitors but her heart is good, and when her painfully shy friend Cassandra needs help she devises a brilliant scheme to help her discourage an unwanted suitor, the Duke of Claringdon. Lucy will hide behind the hedgerow and tell Cass just what to say to discourage the Duke of Claringdon…but it turns out that he’s made of sterner stuff than either of them anticipated. And Lucy is shocked to discover that tangling with the tenacious man is the most fun she’s had in ages.


Lord Derek Hunt made a promise to his dying friend to marry the demure Cassandra, and for a man who wants nothing more than peace and quiet after the horrors of war, she’ll make the perfect bride. If only the impudent Miss Upton will let him court the girl! Doing battle is the last thing on his mind, but bantering with Lucy behind the bushes is too tempting to resist. And in The Unexpected Duchess, the spoils of this war just may be true love…

Get a sneak peek of Valerie Bowman's The Unexpected Duchess (available April 29, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapters 1 & 2.

Chapter 1
London, Late June 1815

Lady Lucy Upton blew a leaf away from her lips. A twig in her eye and a mouthful of foliage were the unfortunate by-products of having her head lodged in a hedgerow. Not to mention, it was a bit chilly outside tonight. But this had been her idea, after all, and she intended to see it through.

Lucy was secure in her position behind the bushes in the Chamberses’ garden just steps away from her dearest friend, Cassandra Monroe. There might be a ball going on inside the stylish town house, but out here they were quite alone … for the moment. Lucy pushed her head through the branches as far as she could and craned her neck to see Cass.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of The Unexpected Duchess...]

Dec 14 2013 12:00am
Original Story

“It Happened Under the Mistletoe”: A Holiday Story

As part of H&H's Hot for the Holidays program, we're thrilled to share a limited-time peek at 12 special holiday stories! All 12 e-novellas are on sale now (you may have seen us talk about this H&H-St. Martin's Press program before), but we're offering H&H members the exclusive chance to read the whole story for free—it's our gift to you. But here's the thing: Stories will be available for ONE DAY ONLY over the next two weeks, so grab a blanket, a mug of hot chocolate, and get reading before they disappear with a wink and a smile!

When Oliver Townsende escapes to his friend’s house for a Christmas party, he intends to avoid the hordes of marriage-minded misses who have been dogging his steps in London ever since he inherited a dukedom. He soon learns a bit of Yuletide peace and quiet is too much to ask for. When he encounters Miss Cerian Blake, who’s dodging her own unwanted set of admirers, the two decide to join forces and fake an infatuation to keep their suitors at bay. But when a bough of mistletoe becomes involved, will their Christmastime prank turn into a love to last all seasons?

“It Happened Under the Mistletoe” is no longer available to read on Heroes and Heartbreakers. Be sure and check out our stories section for more original stories and hot new excerpts from Heroes and Heartbreakers.

“It Happened Under the Mistletoe” Copyright © 2013 by Valerie Bowman.

Learn more about or order a copy of “It Happened Under the Mistletoe” by Valerie Bowman, available now:

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Oct 3 2013 11:30am

Secrets of a Scandalous Reality Show: Taping Say Yes to the Dress

Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage by Valerie BowmanToday we're delighted to welcome author Valerie Bowman to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Valerie's newest release, Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage, is the intriguing story of a woman accused of her husband's murder—and the man who comes to her defense. But Valerie has her own 'secret;' she's getting married soon, and she was picked to appear on the reality show Say Yes to the Dress to choose her wedding gown. She's here to talk about her time on-set. Thanks, Valerie!

This week I’m celebrating the release of the third historical romance novel in my Secret Brides trilogy with the tale of how I ended up on the reality TV show, Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta. Yesterday, I was at Romance at Random talking about how I gathered my posse and made it to the show. Today’s post is all about the taping of the show itself! 

The day of the taping dawned. We had to be at the bridal salon at 8am. Bridals by Lori, where the show is filmed, is an actual wedding boutique in Atlanta. TLC sets up their cameras in the store. It’s not on a sound stage or anything. There is a big sign at the front door that says something like, “A TV show is being filmed on these premises and you may be filmed in the background.” Interesting, no?

My posse and I arrived at 8am sharp and quickly realized why we were asked not to wear pink. The background of the interview room is pink so if you wore that color, you’d completely blend into the background and look like a talking head. After a quick wardrobe change for one of my friends, we were asked to sit on the actual couches in the waiting room that you see on the show.

[Go behind the scenes of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta...]

Sep 11 2013 11:00am

Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage: Exclusive Excerpt

Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage by Valerie Bowman

A duchess awaiting trial for her vile husband's murder is the most delicious gossip the ton has heard in years. But for Kate Townsende, the woman in question, it could be a matter of life and death. And when a shrewd and handsome nobleman offers to publish her side of the story while arranging for a barrister to take her case, she's tempted by much more than the chance to defend herself.

James Bancroft, Viscount Medford, tells himself he's only interested in a bestselling pamphlet, but Kate's stubborn determination is captivating. Could the accused widow be telling the truth? At first, James isn't sure of anything besides his growing desire for her-but before long he's willing to risk much more than his reputation to make the infamous beauty his wife.

Get a sneak peek of Valerie Bowman's Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage (available October 1, 2013) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapters 1-3.

Chapter 1

The Tower of London, December 1816
The large metal door to her cell scraped open and Kate closed her eyes. She stepped forward, summoned from one cold dank cell into another. She had a visitor. Her first since she’d been taken to the gaol.

She opened her eyes. The harsh winter light filtered through the only window in the antechamber. The yeoman warder wore a blank expression on his face. He and the other guards always gave her the benefit of respect due her title. Whether they liked it or not.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage...]

Mar 26 2013 1:00pm

Author Valerie Bowman on Eloping to Gretna Green!

Secrets of a Runaway Bride by Valerie BowmanToday we're pleased to welcome author Valerie Bowman, also an H&H contributor, whose forthcoming novel Secrets of a Runaway Bride is out today! She's here to talk Gretna Green, Scotland, and what, exactly, makes it such an intriguing location for romance readers and writers alike... Welcome, Valerie!

Today I thought I’d give a little insight into a certain location. A location that plays a large part in my latest historical romance novel, Secrets of a Runaway Bride. A location rife with scandal and the litter of ruined reputations. A location just over the Scottish border from England, full of possibilities and danger. What is that location? The infamous town of Gretna Green, Scotland.

So, how exactly did a tiny town in Scotland become the focus of so much intrigue?

It all began with Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1754. When the English Parliament passed that act, it prohibited several things. Before the act went into effect, in England young men and women over the age of 16 (but younger than 21) were able to merely declare themselves married in front of witnesses. After the act was passed, couples in the throes of a passionate love affair had to hightail it to Scotland to have their quick (and unapproved) weddings. You see, in Scotland, a boy age 14 and a girl age 12 could marry (as opposed to the legal age of 21 in England and Wales). And again, all they had to do was declare themselves married in front of witnesses…and then get to the business of consummation, of course.

[That certainly simplifies things...]

Mar 5 2013 4:30pm

Secrets of a Runaway Bride: Exclusive Excerpt

Secrets of a Wedding Night by Valerie BowmanMiss Annie Andrews is finally free to marry the man she loves. With her overprotective sister out of the country on her honeymoon, nothing can prevent her flight to Gretna Green—nothing, that is, but an abduction by the wrong gentleman.

When Jordan Holloway, the Earl of Ashbourne, promised to look after his best friend's sister-in-law, he didn’t realize she would prove so difficult. But when he spirits her away to his country house to prevent her elopement, he discovers that the tempting beauty knows how to put up a fight. To make matters worse, he’s stuck playing the role of honorable protector...when what he really wants is to run away with her himself.

Get a sneak peek of Valerie Bowman's Secrets of a Runaway Bride (available March 26, 2013) with an excerpt of Chapters 1 & 2.

Chapter 1
London, Late September 1816

Annie Andrews was halfway up the side of Arthur Eggleston’s town house—scaling an oh-so-convenient and strong ivy vine—when the telltale clip-clop of a horse’s hooves stopped her. She squeezed her eyes shut. Oh, this was not good.

Despite the fact that she was in the alley at the back of the house and it was dark as pitch, she’d just been discovered. She knew it.

[Please log in or register to read a full excerpt of Secrets of a Runaway Bride...]

Dec 23 2012 2:00pm

Author Valerie Bowman’s “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” Regency Parody!

Secrets of a Runaway Bride by Valerie BowmanAuthor Valerie Bowman not only writes great books—Secrets of a Wedding Night has already been released, and watch for her Secrets of a Runaway Bride out in March, 2013)—but she is a regular H&H contributor and, it turns out, a fabulous parody-er! 

We're pleased to run a special version of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” she wrote for She Loves Hot Reads. Thanks, Valerie!

To the tune of “Walking In a Winter Wonderland”…

Dukes are hot; earls are to–oo.
Viscounts make me want to dro-ool.
If he wears a cra-vat, he’s super hot.
Oh, Re-gen-cy, his-tor-i-cal romance.

Make a be-et in White’s bo-ok.
Run off and kiss, inside a no-ok.
A romance novel for me, must be a Re-gen-cy.
Oh, Re-gen-cy, his-tor-i-cal romance.

[You know you wanna sing it...]

Oct 2 2012 12:30pm

Stuck in the Past: Great Historical Romance Debuts in 2012

Heiress Without a Cause by Sara RamseyWhile contemporary and erotic romances are getting more of readers' attention, historical romance continues to deliver, with more and more new authors busting out their dance cards and writing dashing heroines and delicious heroes. Here are some of historical romance's most auspicious debuts:


The year began hot and heavy with Sara Ramsey’s Heiress Without a Cause. Who doesn’t love an actress heroine? The story is about a proper chaperone by day who masquerades as an acclaimed actress by night. Lady Madeleine Vaillant will do anything to guard her secret talent—including becoming the mistress of the most notorious rake in London. But when the duke demands her heart, will she give up her dreams for a chance at love? The rest of Ramsey’s Muses of Mayfair series includes a writer and a painter. Delicious!

[An actress, a writer, and a painter walk into a bar...]

Sep 24 2012 2:00pm

Author Valerie Bowman on Regency Weddings

Secrets of a Wedding Night by Valerie BowmanToday, we're thrilled to have Author Valerie Bowman (and regular H&H contributor!) at Heroes and Heartbreakers. Valerie's Secrets of a Wedding Night is released tomorrow, and is a delicious Regency-set historical which author Lisa Kleypas says is “too delightful to miss.” Thanks for joining us, Valerie!

Since my debut Regency romance novel, Secrets of a Wedding Night, has a lot of mentions of weddings, what better topic to discuss on H&H today than the fascinating subject of Regency weddings?

Unfortunately, weddings during the Regency were not always the grand affairs we have today. Instead, they were (by law) performed in the morning and usually only the family and very close friends of the bride and groom were in attendance. Often the bride simply wore her best dress, though Princess Charlotte wore a grand concoction of silver (see picture below). White was popular, but apparently so was blue. Veils made a comeback in this period as well and long white kid gloves were essential.

[You've gotta have the gloves!...]

Sep 12 2012 4:30pm

Many Different Points of View on...Point of View in Romance Novels

Couple’s legs image by grodt1987 via FlickrPoint of view (POV). When you get a bunch of writers together, those three letters can start a good, old-fashioned donnybrook. These days it seems everyone’s got an opinion on the subject. I’ve even seen readers mention it in book reviews. It’s a topic I find fascinating since the trend lately is to have a very rigid, controlled POV, even if there are multiple POVs in the story itself. I, personally, love a good head hop if it’s done well and with some finesse. Changing POVs within a sentence or paragraph = no. Changing POVs in a chapter or scene (without the obligatory scene break!) = I’m on board.

Here’s the thing. I’m a fan of some old school romance novels. Ms. Judith McNaught, whom I consider incomparable, can head hop like nobody’s business and I think it’s done so well, I don’t mind one bit. In fact, when I first began to study writing and was told OVER AND OVER again by everyone how I MUST restrict my POVs, I went back and read several McNaught books to see how she did it, if it bothered me (now that I “knew better”), and if not, why not.

[The results are in...]