Jun 19 2017 12:00pm

Two Different Authors, One Very Sexy Hero—The Alpha!

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Today we're thrilled to welcome not one but two authors to Heroes and Heartbreakers—Anne Calhoun (Turn Me Loose) and Jeffe Kennedy (With a Prince). It's always a great coincidence when two authors are not only friends but have books releasing on the same day. Anne and Jeffe are here to talk about their love of the alpha hero and what they loved about each other's heroes! Thanks, Anne and Jeffe!

Romance readers love a wounded hero. We love our book boyfriends to be alpha, brusque, stoic, able to beat off the bad guys with their meaty fists or arsenal of lawyers. But the very best part is discovering what’s hiding under the hero’s gruff exterior. What soft, chewy center awaits the heroine who perseveres to chew through his tough shell?

Romances are all about that most human of journeys: from identity (the surface they present to the world) to essence (their true selves, the ones they trust to almost no one). We keep our inner selves secret, and no one does this better than a romance novel hero. Whether the situation calls for a lighthearted “fake fiance for my BFF’s wedding” or a wounded soul striving for justice and honor, romance novel heroes almost always carry a deep wound and - like most guys - aren’t exactly excited to talk about their true feelings.

But finding love requires vulnerability connection. It's only through the breaking down of the hero’s walls that he's able to love. It's not saving the girl, or signing the billion dollar contract, or winning the Oscar, that makes him able to love and be loved it's those moments when he says this is what hurt me in the past and she says I see that and love you anyway. Or even better, I love you because those things happened in your past. They made you who you are today.

Anne: In the second book in Jeffe’s wonderful Missed Connections series, With a Prince, we meet Damien, a bad boy Brit with a secret he doesn’t dare share, at the risk of losing Marcia. Marcia’s been waiting for her dream prince, for that perfect happy ever after—and Damien doesn’t fit the fantasy in any way. Because he’s so not what she’s looking for, she drops her guard and is able to enjoy the ride. And what a ride it is!

Damien is good at pretending to be something he’s not. With a driven father who’s always demanding more of him, Damien juggles many faces for many people, so he understands wanting the fantasy. He gets Marcia’s obsession with the perfection of a prince, and doesn't make fun of it. He just quietly shows her another way. When she discovers his secret, the fact that he’s been emotionally honest with her makes all the difference.

Jeffe: My bestie Anne Calhoun ended up with the same release date as With a Prince, for her latest Alpha Ops book, Turn Me Loose. It was a funny coincidence because hers is traditionally published, so she was assigned the date long ago, and mine is self-published, so I picked the date it would be ready. When we realized we shared a release date, we began talking about how our heroes both share secrets.

In Turn Me Loose, the sixth book in the Alpha Ops series, Ian, a stone cold cop has a secret he won’t share. Ian was on track to not just follow in his brother Jamie’s footsteps as a Navy SEAL but go one better and graduate from the Naval Academy as an officer, then go through BUD/s, when he was diagnosed with cancer. He stuffed down the rage he felt when his body betrayed him, leaving him cold, distant, and invested in the Lancaster Police Department’s integrity as his identity. He needed that shell when he first met Riva Henneman, a teen he busted for selling drugs and turned into an informer to rack up the stats he needed to prove himself and get his first promotion. But when they meet again, years later, that anger and stony shell is only a disadvantage. Ian knows Riva's history. That's not the dealbreaker for him. It never was. It's the anger and shame and the betrayal he felt when he got cancer.

Riva, who’s grown up herself in the time they’ve been apart, challenges Ian emotionally, physically, intellectually, coaxing him to open to her and trust her not just with his defenses, but with his pain.  At the same time he must create a whole new identity—to fool Riva’s father, a sociopath who manipulated Riva into some very bad situations, and who is now under investigation. As the tension mounts, and Riva gets deeper under his skin, Ian could take the easy way out and use the demands of the job, and creating another tough cover identity, keep hiding his wounds. But that could cost him everything he knows he wants—Riva. The moment he takes that risk, daring to be not a failed Navy SEAL, or a cop on track to make Captain, Ian becomes most truly himself, Riva’s lover and friend. That’s the moment he truly starts to live again, after cancer.

Both Ian and Damien are pretending to be something. And in order to let love in, they have to drop their walls, the facades, and their defenses, and take the ultimate risk - sharing their true selves with someone else, and facing the rejection we all fear. The heroines are on journeys of their own, mirroring the heroes’ changing selves. Letting go of expectations and loving the reality allows them all—Ian and Riva, Damien and Marcia—to find their HEA.

We won’t ask what your deepest secret is, but what about a time when you were most vulnerable? Have you ever pretended to be something you're not to get someone to like you, or keep someone at bay?

Turn Me Loose by Anne Calhoun


When she was on the verge of adulthood, Riva Henneman committed a crime and got caught red-handed. Luckily, she was busted by a HOT young cop…who also had a big heart. A one-time SEAL candidate, Officer Ian Hawthorn knew how it felt to have your dreams derailed. So he gave Riva a choice: face prison time or work for him as a confidential informant. But even a get-out-of-jail-free card comes with a cost...

Years later, Ian still remembers beautiful, innocent Riva—and the smoldering attraction they shared but both tried to ignore. Will they have a second chance, now that they’re back in each other’s lives? Riva’s work with inner-city children has led to a surprise run-in with Ian, who has his own agenda—one that could put them both in grave danger. Is their desire worth the risk this time?

Learn more about or order a copy of Turn Me Loose by Anne Calhoun, available now:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

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Buy at Kobo




With a Prince by Jeffe Kennedy

The guy on the train is just Marcia’s type. A face like an angel, a scent like raw honey, treats her like he has a white horse and suit of armor stowed in his messenger bag. Perfect.

Too perfect. No guy like that would be interested in prim, awkward Marcia, notorious goody-goody and a twentysomething still clutching her v-card. She’s been following rules her whole life—but somewhere, the game changed. And left her behind.

So when she meets Damien, with his rumbling motorbike, gleaming piercings, and wicked imagination, she doesn’t care that he’s the exact opposite of “her type.” Her type would never dare her into such shocking, fiendishly inventive adventures—and she can’t wait to say yes.

Yes to whiskey in the middle of a workday. Yes to letting her hands roam over his body from the back of his bike. Yes to a fling full of wild abandon and absolutely no long-term potential. Except Damien’s not just the straightforward bad boy she imagined. And as they burn through Chicago’s nights, Marcia can’t shake the fear that this happiness is just another fairy tale.

Learn more about or order a copy of With a Prince by Jeffe Kennedy, available now:

Buy at Amazon



After doing time at Fortune 500 companies on both coasts, Anne Calhoun traded business casual for yoga pants and started writing the stories that got her through a decade of tedious meetings. Her first release, Liberating Lacey, won the 2010 EPIC Award for best Contemporary Erotic Romance. Sarah Wendell of Kirkus Reviews and NBC Washington listed Liberating Lacey as a great choice to follow 50 Shades of Gray for readers new to erotica and erotic romance.

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include novels, non-fiction, poetry, and short fiction. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award.

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1. Kareni
Both of these sound quite enticing! Congratulations, Jeffe and Anne, on your new books.
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