Oct 23 2012 1:30pm

Short and Sweet (and Hot!): Novellas from Lori Foster, Shannon McKenna, and More!

SEAL of My Dreams AnthologyI didn’t really begin reading romances until after I’d been out of college for a few years. With my literature degree in writing and editing, I’d read my share of novels, but there’s a point during the curriculum where reading changes from pleasure to pressure. And then I discovered novellas.

In the span of my crazy, busy life, novellas gave me the passion-filled, hopeful stories I craved on my multi-tasking-addled advertising brain. When I had more time, I invested in full-length novels; but during the week when there was only time for quickies, I voraciously consumed novellas. They were a great way to introduce me to a ton of new authors.

In the years since, I’ve cultivated and expanded my tastes, and have a great method for finding new authors and titles. But I still love novellas. My favorite books to purchase for my e-reading are novellas, because the faster-paced story is the perfect match for readers on the go. Here are some great stories and authors to get you started … I’m starting with some newer authors and following it up with some oldies but goodies.

SEAL of My Dreams by … lots of authors
I can remember reading about this anthology, which all started with a photo Christie Ridgway posted on Twitter of a Navy SEAL. The next day she suggested getting together other romance authors to write an anthology for which all proceeds would be donated. Six months and much collaboration later, SEAL of My Dreams was released. There are 18 novellas that range from okay to great, but the fact that all proceeds from the sale of the book are pledged to the Veterans Medical Research Foundation urged me to buy it. One great discovery, though, was a new-to-me author, Elle Kennedy.

Heat It Up by Elle KennedyHeat It Up by Elle Kennedy

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Maybe it’s the unexpected elevator sex between two strangers. Maybe because it’s sexy Navy SEAL Thomas Becker is so surly and unreceptive to Jane Harrison’s attempts to interview him for a magazine. Whatever the reason, this is a quick, sexy, fun read. It’s part of her Out of Uniform series, and the premise of this story drew me in first (and out of order). The whole series is good, and can be read out of order.

Tempting Alibi by Savannah Stuart
How can you not love the town bad boy, who’s championed by the town good girl when the Sheriff blames him for a crime he didn’t commit? When tattoed ex-Marine and body shop owner, Scott O’Callaghan, has a run-in with the Boss Hog-like sheriff, he’s lucky that his neighbor, yoga instructor Michaela Miller, is in the shop to witness the harassment and steps in to save his honor. It bugs Scott that she would lie to the Sheriff about being with him…so imagine his surprise when she fesses up to knowing he was home because she’s been watching him work out. In his little marine manties. Sigh...

Tell It to the Marines by Amy J. FetzerTell It to the Marines by Amy J. Fetzer

This trio of novellas is wonderful because they’re all by one of my favorite authors of romantic suspense. The first story, Hot Conflict, is just meh. Good characters, good plot, good to read on the go. But Hot Landing Zone and Hot Target are the kinds of stories that stick with you. Sexy, alpha males; exotic locales; daring rescues; strong female characters. And this book, when I got it at the library years ago, led me to seek out other Fetzer full-length novels.

I Brake for Bad Boys, by Lori Foster, Janelle Denison and Shannon McKenna
This anthology was good, but what was great about it was that it introduced me to Shannon McKenna. The story caught my attention enough to seek out more of her work, and today she’s one of my favorite authors. I love her voice, the gritty sexual tension between her characters, and those oh, so alpha heroes she writes so well. My favorite McKenna novella is in another anthology called Baddest Bad Boys, and it’s called Anytime, Anywhere.

Bad Boys Over Easy by Erin McCarthy, Jen Nicholas, and Jordan SummersBad Boys Over Easy by Erin McCarthy, Jen Nicholas and Jordan Summers

I remember reading Erin McCarthy’s first book, Bad Boys Online, and thinking it was so cool that winning a contest with Lori Foster was her first experience with publishing. So I found Bad Boys Over Easy at the library, and have since downloaded it. Her voice was so fresh, and I loved that her stories could make me laugh out loud all while she delivered smoking hot, sexy love scenes. It was a memorable combination, for sure. These novellas led me to her full-length novels, which I loved (especially Smart Mouth and Mouth to Mouth).

I love to read novellas for the faster-paced plots and satisfactory feeling of finishing a great story, whether it’s in an anthology I can hold in my hand or a digital book on my iPad. But one of the greatest aspects of novellas on your e-readers is the quick availability and affordable price. I love novellas for the faster-paced plot and quick resolutions (particularly when I’m on deadlines and spare time is short), but I also love to use them as springboards for new authors—novellas are priced to sell, and well worth the money.

Why do you read novellas? Have you got any suggestions for us to try?


Dolly Sickles is a Southerner with a lifelong penchant for storytelling. Her Secret Squirrel identity is Dolly Sickles, but she also writes romance as Becky Moore, and in the spring of 2012, her first children’s book will be published as Dolly Dozier. She’s an avid reader of all literature, but she takes refuge in the romance genre, where despite the most grandiose, exhilarating, strange, and unlikely plot that’s out there, every story has a happy ending.

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
I, too, am a fan of novellas. As you said, they're great ways to find new authors and for when you're on the go. Also, in my case, I sometimes have the attention span of a gnat, so short, quick reads can be just what I need, depending on my mood. Thanks for the recs.
Dolly Sickles
2. Dolly_Sickles
Hey redline ... I, too, have the attention span of a gnat. It ain't easy, being ADD-sie, I always say. They're like romance for the Short Attention Span Theatre goers. :)
Joyce S
3. Joyce S
My favoite novella is THE BREED NEXT DOOR by Lora Leigh (you can buy this by itself).. My favorite book of shorts is SUPERNATURAL by authors IVY, IONE, AIKEN, and FRANK. It is the only anothology ever written where I have read ALL the authors. This is a paranormal romance book if that matters...
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