Archive | May, 2014

Dragons, Humor and Sensual Heat Abound in Jamie K. Schmidt’s Latest, The Queen’s Wings

31 May
The Queen's Wings (The Emerging Queens) by Jamie K. Schmidt (Entangled: Edge, May 27, 2014)

The Queen’s Wings (The Emerging Queens) by Jamie K. Schmidt (Entangled: Edge, May 27, 2014)

It’s an exciting fact about the romance industry today that publishers (and maybe authors) are becoming more open to publishing books that don’t quite fit exactly into one subgenre of romance. It’s completely and utterly due the rise of ebooks, since knowing what genre you are is vital for the bookseller who needs to (literally) put you on a given shelf. With an ebook however, you can be tagged into multiple categories, with all those interested readers empowered to discover you with just the click of a mouse. Undoubtedly, readers (at least those with ebook access) are the richer for it.

Jamie K. Schmidt‘s latest novel, The Queen’s Wings, is a great example of a unique novel that straddles a few subgenres. Containing a world in which male dragons abound and everyone knows it, it’s undoubtedly a paranormal romance, but the fact that it is written in the first person and involves a human who is unexpectedly nearing a dragon transformation (and therefore needs to be indoctrinated into a foreign world), gives the novel several strong urban fantasy elements.

Pretty much everyone thinks Carolyn is crazy. She dreams of flying as a dragon at night, one of the rooms in her bargain house is possessed by a ghost who writes messages in blood, and now she’s coughing up stinky belches which take the wallpaper off her walls. She feels everything is pointing to her becoming a dragon, even though as a graduate student in parazoology she’s well aware that 1) there are only five female dragons in the whole world and 2) you’re either hatched from a dragon egg or transform into one at the onset of puberty.

While there are many breeds of dragons in Schmidt's alternate world, the descriptions are terrifying, and probably much closer to this beautiful Thai sculpture than the dragons of fantasy literature. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

While there are many breeds of dragons in Schmidt’s alternate world, the descriptions are terrifying, and probably much closer to this beautiful Thai sculpture than the dragons of fantasy literature. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

Chalking her impending transformation as another example of her being a late bloomer, she goes about attempting to convince everyone, or anyone, that she is one, but there are no takers, especially not the nice dragon at the local embassy. When she witnesses the embassy’s attack by two rogue dragons and ends up spewing up some kind of debillitating clear liquid, all of sudden her claims are being looked at with more care, particularly by two smoking hot dragon operatives. The sexy looks are par for the course since most male dragons could double as underwear models, but one of the officials, Reed, will barely give her the time of day since he’s got a “no humans” rule. That she seems to chip away at his good intentions the more time they spend together has lots of benefits for Carolyn, but as her oncoming transformation is confirmed, she’s not sure that she actually wants to join the dragon club.

Because according to everyone – Reed, his mother the crazy dragon queen of North America, and even Carolyn’s ancient boss, the dragon Niall – a female dragon has no life of her own, and is instead is sequestered away where she MUST take a harem of many male dragons and produce eggs to replenish their numbers. No love, marriage, or monogamy – all qualities of a relationship that Carolyn’s very human heart wants, and that Reed, the growing object of her affection, can’t possibly give her. When Carolyn and Reed begin to uncover exactly why there are so few female dragons – and a dangerous plot to bring more of them to light – Carolyn’s very life and her future happiness are in grave danger.

Jamie K. Schmidt has crafted a fascinating world, one in which dragons have never passed into lore and instead live among humans. The voice of her heroine, Carolyn, is fascinating – she’s a quirky, absent-minded professor with an internal filter resembling swiss cheese based on how many comments come out of her mouth that she meant to stay in her mind. Because of the first person perspective, Reed ends up coming off as a pretty big asshole for much of the book, in that really good, “wowza-he’s-an-alpha” kind of way.

The fact that this compelling first novel of the Emerging Queens series is going to have successors leaves me with more questions than answers. Will the next book, The Queen’s Flight, continue to star Carolyn and Reed or will one of the other new queens (say Arianna and the hunky, red-headed Jack) be the main focus? There is certainly plenty of political wiggle-room to continue the larger conspiracy and conflict and the existing characters are strong enough to continue the series.

Paranormal and urban fantasy fans (and dragon shifter lovers) should definitely give this novel a try. I have a feeling this is going to be a series I’m going to get a lot of enjoyment out of. 🙂 Hopping on the bus now insures you take advantage of Entangled’s $.99 offer for new books (which only lasts a couple of weeks). There’s also a Rafflecopter giveaway for a pair of silver dragon earrings and a $25 Amazon gift card for interested parties, so take a look!

Happy reading!

Enjoy a Great Addition to Sheikh Romance with Alexandra Sellers’s Latest, Her Royal Protector

30 May

Her Royal Protector (a Johari Crown Novel – Arif and Aly) by Alexandra Sellers (Entangled: Indulgence, May 27, 2014)

If you want a good sheikh romance, I recommend putting yourself into the hands of an expert. Since there are few romance writers with more sheikh romances under her belt than Alexandra Sellers, you instantly know that you are in for a treat with her latest romance, Her Royal Protector.

Aly Percy feels like a duck out of water at a Johari royal event, stuck in one of her sister’s cast off formal gowns. With the team leader of her environmental expedition is suddenly hospitalized, it’s up to her to represent their interests at the black tie fundraiser for the endangered Johari sea turtle, a creature so enmeshed with this history of this gulf nation that the country’s legend indicates that as long as the turtle exists, so will the crown. Aly knows her strength is doing research for her Ph.D. dissertation in cut-off shorts and sunscreen, so she is utterly out of her element in this crowd, particularly with one of the Sultan of Bagestan’s stunningly handsome advisors looking right through her in his dress uniform.

Arif al Najimi is irritated that he can’t help but be fascinated by the scientist working so hard to be invisible. She’s in an ill-fitting gown that does nothing for her, trips on her way to the podium and then fluffs her speech and yet he finds himself irritated when his assistant calls her plain. She might have no confidence to speak of, unless she’s talking about turtles, but he sees the underlying sensuality she works so hard to dismiss. When circumstances allow him to take his state-mandated undercover time with her to protect her while she researches her turtles, he finds himself drawn to Aly more and more, yet worried on behalf of his country about her intentions when he finds her acting suspiciously.

Baby sea turtles heading for the ocean - while Sellers's Johari turtles making a noctural journey, the little cuties would undoubtedly look a lot like these babies. (Public doman image via Pixabay)

Baby sea turtles heading for the ocean – while Sellers’s Johari turtles making a noctural journey, the little cuties would undoubtedly look a lot like these babies. (Public doman image via Pixabay)

For her part, Aly is totally conflicted. Being close to the compelling Arif and learning the extent of his patriotism and honor has her feeling an unfamiliar level of desire. Yet her shattered self-esteem, eroded over years at the hands of her family and led by her deceptive father (a Bernie Madoff-like businessman who bankrupted his family while losing the life savings of thousands of people), can’t bring her to believe that the heat she sees in Arif’s eyes is real. When she trusts him with her suspicions regarding the deliberate sabotage on the turtles she’s trying to protect, the heat between them reaches inferno levels, cracking open her heart. Aly knows that Arif is a player who has made clear that he plans to marry a Bagestani woman after a long life enjoying the stunning women who throw themselves at his feet. But his tender, protective behavior and the way he awakens all her desires is at odds with his declaration, yet she knows she needs to be ready to walk away to minimize the hurt. When the forces who threaten her life’s work also endanger her, Aly and Arif both have to confront their feelings for one another and see if they can work past their individual baggage to claim the happiness that is right in front of them.

Sellers does an outstanding job of building a country rich in history with a stunning coastal geography. Aly is an intelligent, sensitive heroine who has used her scientific interest as a necessary outlet for everything she couldn’t be with her emotionally abusive family. Arif is torn between two cultures, with a Bagestani father and an Irish mother. He’s passionately chosen to embrace his Middle Eastern heritage and work for the good of his country, but his heart is clearly guiding him toward Aly despite all his best-laid plans. While the sexual tension climbs throughout the novel, the nature of Entangled’s Indulgence line has everything built up only to slam the bedroom door in your face and open it the following morning (my only complaint). Even with that frustration, I was so utterly wowed by this book that I eagerly await the additional books in the series. Rich secondary characters and ongoing cultural and political tensions make this fictional country a terrific locale for future plotlines.

I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to ask Alexandra Sellers a few questions about her latest novel.

1) You’re an established romance author with a long history of specializing in the “sheikh romance.” What do you think is the perennial appeal for readers in that sub genre? 

Sheikhs can be more mysterious, more masculine, more powerful than many heroes, I think. They maybe hark back to the early days of category romance, when the hero embodied the powerful, unknown patriarchy—and the heroine brought it to heel.  I think the hidden masculine is still a draw, even though nowadays we get right inside the hero’s head.  Sheikhs seem to represent the masculine as Other. They embody the mystery of romance: that hidden other self that we all need to find before we can become whole. And of course there has never been a period in art and architecture to rival the Golden Age of Islam. From jewels to miniature paintings to palaces, there is no beauty to match it. For fantasy locations sheikhs can’t be beat.

2) Did you have fun putting a sexy scientist and a dashing royal together? What did you enjoy the most?

HER ROYAL PROTECTOR is more an ‘ugly duckling and a protective alpha male’ trope.  I always enjoy writing the fun and humorous bits, of course, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading them, too. But this book has a serious side—Aly Percy, my heroine, is trying to save an endangered species from extinction. I worked as a volunteer with sea turtles in Crete while researching this story, and I enjoyed that immensely. Sea turtles are simply beautiful in every way.

3) I noticed on Amazon that there’s a series title next to Her Royal Protector – “a Johari Crown novel.” Do you have other books planned for us? When can readers expect to see them?

Yes, I do have at least two more books planned in the series. The second should be out in November, and the third early next year.

4) Now for the most important question. For your ideal cupcake, what is your preferred cake/icing combination?

My ideal cupcake is one that can be bought at Tim Horton’s with a cup of coffee.

Thanks, Alexandra! A Tim Horton cupcake and Her Royal Protector on an e-reader sounds like an ideal combination, particularly since the book is only $.99 right now with Entangled’s (God bless them) intro pricing.

Happy reading!

Honor Reclaimed by Tonya Burrows Gives Military Romance Fans a Wounded Warrior Worth Fighting For

27 May

Honor Reclaimed (HORNET #2 – Seth and Phoebe) by Tonya Burrows (Entangled: Select, May 27, 2014)

My God, Tonya Burrows simply doesn’t know how to write a book that doesn’t blow my socks off.

I adored the first book in the HORNET series, SEAL of Honor, as it carried Burrows’ brand of steamy, emotional romance featuring spunky heroines and super hot military men, but with Honor Reclaimed I’m in awe of just how far the very damaged Seth Harlan has clawed his way into my heart.

Our ragtag group of misfit mercenaries are once again off on another mission and former Marine sniper Seth Harlan is slightly astonished to be included. His severe PTSD has him botching training missions right and left, to the point where he isn’t exactly part of the group, no matter how stern the orders from their commander are to integrate him. That this mission is to find a POW taken while on a black op no military branch will claim, and that said captive is in Afghanistan, dredges up the horrifying nightmare that was Seth’s own torture for over a year.

Despite time having passed, the damage was so extensive – physically and psychologically – that Seth doesn’t even consider himself human anymore. The fact he lost his team as well, and that some particularly torrid branches of the media spun the story as one in which Seth caused their deaths, just made the healing that much harder. He doesn’t speak to his family, doesn’t reach out to his friends and hasn’t been able to talk to the families of his fallen team members. The instinct to look over his shoulder only gets worse when they land in Kandahar, particularly when one woman in a blue chadori starts acting suspicious. Grabbing her for questioning reveals a pretty, copper haired American and what’s worse, she’s a journalist who clearly recognizes Seth.

SEAL of Honor (HORNET #1 – Gabe and Audrey) by Tonya Burrows (Entangled: Select, May 28, 2013)

Phoebe Leighton should recognize Seth since she was the one responsible for ruining his life. Her pictures of him sold to a particularly heinous tabloid were what allowed them to spin that ridiculous tale about him being responsible for his team’s demise. She was so disgusted with herself and her willingness to whore her ethics for her so-called career that she changed her name, divorced her unhappy husband, and resolved to do nothing but good with her life. Taking back her maiden name and using her middle name gave her a kind of rebirth, but it’s nothing like the good she’s been able to do with her photojournalism. When her current assignment on child brides brings her to a women’s shelter and a particularly brave 16 year old running from her husband, Phoebe’s assignment brings her right into Seth’s path.

Realizing she can help him with his mission and maybe also help him heal has her withholding the revelation of her role in his vilification. Yet as the two of them are drawn together and as Seth begins to trust her enough to tell her about his captivity and torture, Phoebe realizes that there is never going to be a time when telling Seth what she did doesn’t seem like the ultimate betrayal.

For his part, Seth can’t believe that Phoebe has the ability to get under his very scarred skin. No matter how many times he pushes her away or is cruel to her, she just calls him on his behavior and makes him live up to her expectations. Her courage and openness shines a light into his inner darkness and Seth finds himself not only beginning to feel happy but also experiencing sexual desire, both previously dormant emotions. However when he discovers her betrayal, it’s up to Seth to decide if he will let that same numbness reclaim him or if he can work through his past and reclaim both his honor and the woman he loves.

Oh, wow. While there is an abundance of sexual tension throughout the book, this volume is understandably less heated than the fan-yourself previous novel, SEAL of Honor, and that is exactly as it should be. I had my doubts in the beginning of the book how Burrows was going to pull off getting Seth into a place where he could actually have anything resembling a relationship, but her skill as a storyteller is so profound that she pulls it off in the most believable way. Phoebe is a woman embracing the present and working to correct her past and even when you are cringing at every missed opportunity to tell Seth who she is (or in her case, was), you understand that she is reacting to the fragility he projects into their burgeoning relationship. I usually have zero patience for a hero who blows hot and cold but Seth received an unending supply based on what he endured. I appreciated that his PTSD was never sugar coated, and the other physical and emotional issues on the team were also boldly confronted.

Not only was this book amazingly heart-wrenching (in the best possible way) but I continue to be impressed that Burrows has given us further insight into the team members who will undoubtedly be starring in the future books of the series. She has brilliantly laid the foundation for their romances and I am salivating over the potential (Quinn! Jean-Luc!!).

Honor Reclaimed is another brilliant addition to Burrows (and Entangled’s) body of work as well as military romance as a genre. Don’t forget to check out the Giveaway Info (for a blanket with the her four covers on it + swag) at this link for a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Happy reading!

Seven Titles You Cannot Miss This Week

27 May

I make no bones about the fact that Entangled Publishing produces the greatest concentration of outstanding romance authors on the market, so I was happy to offer to highlight some really terrific books that are coming out this week (many of which I will be reviewing independently).

These books are from solid authors who know how to get readers “lost” in a longer story and -considering that Entangled is great with giveaways and author events (check out the link to the Tonya Burrows/Katee Robert event below) – I figured you should know about it. I’ve already reviewed Queen of Swords by Katee Robert (SO GOOD) and will be following that with reviews for Honor Reclaimed by Tonya Burrows (because she’s an amazing writer and this HORNET series rocks), The Queen’s Wings by Jamie K. Schmidt (because who doesn’t love dragons) and Audra North’s Healing Her Heart (because it has friends-to-lovers and I’m a sucker for that). Do note that several of these titles are at the $.99 price which is Entangled’s introductory deal, so snap them up for yourself at the low price and tuck them away for later!

To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books are coming next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook page.
Today I’m happy to be featuring Select’s May releases:

 

A Hornet Novel



Available in Print and eCopy!



Find out more!



Giveaway

A Sanctify Novel



Available in Print and eCopy!



Find out more!



Giveaway

Never show fear to a demon.



Special $0.99 Introductory Price!



Find out more!



Giveaway

Save the Dragons


Special $0.99 Introductory Price!



Find out more!



Giveaway

A week together could be
just the cure she needs…



Only 99 Cents!



Find out more!



Giveaway

It’s never the
same old song…



Only 99 Cents!



Find out more!



Giveaway

 

 

Fall in love,save some immortal souls,

break a curse…

No problem.




Special $0.99 Introductory Price!



Find out more!



Giveaway

Plus don’t miss these two special events!
 

 

Katee Robert Shows She’s More Than Just Contemporary Romance with Her Pulse-Pounding Sci Fi Novel, Queen of Swords

27 May

Queen of Swords (Sanctify #1 – Boone and Ophelia) by Katee Robert (Entangled: Select, May 27, 2014)

One of my favorite discoveries is when I realize a romance author shows that her writing chops cross genres and Katee Robert has totally made my day with her release, Queen of Swords.

I adore good science fiction romance (Lauren Dane’s outstanding Federation Chronicles are the epitome of the subgenre to me) and, tipping the scale at over 350 pages, Robert’s latest work demonstrates that she can not only write fabulous contemporary romance (like her outstanding Come Undone series) but also can craft a science fiction world and multi-species characters that will make fans of galactic travel and interesting worlds sit up and take notice.

Ophelia Leoni lives in a dangerous world. Her home planet has slowly come under the influence of Sanctify, a people who worship the purity of the human race and who have an unfortunate manifest destiny problem. As they systematically takeover planet after planet, non-humans are eradicated, put to death in horrifying ways. While Ophelia’s father is a former Sanctify lieutenant, his allegiance to his old religion shifted decades ago to his beautiful Diviner wife and his Diviner daughter. Ophelia and her mother both possess not only the stunning lavender eyes of their race but the ability to hear the Lady’s voice and divine her will through Tarot card readings. When living in plain sight of Sanctify’s forces is combined with helping her father with his successful gunrunning business, things can get ugly.

The High Priestess (Sanctify #.5 – Gerard and Marianna) by Katee Robert (Entangled: Select, March 15, 2012)

Case in point, Ophelia’s recent loss of her ship and her crew who, when confronted with a looming Sanctify battleship, drugged her and shoved her on an escape pod rather than have her die at the enemy’s hands as a Diviner. Knowing that the Lady had warned her of this loss in the cards – a warning Ophelia ignored – has her guilt reaching heights that only alcohol and sex can dull. In her favorite bar, she’s well on her way to the drunk piece of her plan but when the sexy, grey-eyed stranger slides into her booth, Ophelia realizes that she’s about to realize her second goal. It’s not his hard body or face that makes her decide to bed him but the shared sense of loss she sees in his eyes. One insanely hot night she barely remembers and a quick retreat to home has Ophelia hoping that she can hold onto the freedom from guilt a little while longer, but that’s not in the cards.

Boone O’Kierna has battled his sadistic father and his psychopath brother for as long as he can remember. That they happen to be the ruling monarch and heir apparent of the desert planet of Hansarda just means that their reach to hurt others just extends that much farther. Boone and his impetuous sister Jenny managed to get a couple hundred of their people to safety and now they all work to undermine the Hansardian royal family. When Boone hears that his brother is brokering a deal to add a woman to his harem because of the gun-running contacts she can bring him, he tells himself he needs to go get a look at this dowry package. One glimpse of this tough-talking fighter with the haunted lavender eyes of a Diviner and Boone is lost against his better judgment.

That she doesn’t seem to remember his name or the night they spent together too clearly the next day hurts more than he thought, but it reminds him of the distance he must place between them. Luckily for him, he shows up on her family’s doorstep around the same time that she learns from her parents of the Prince’s request. While her father is happy to tell any royal to go to hell, her mother’s cards and Ophelia’s both tell the true story – that Ophelia must go on a journey that will end with her happily married to the Prince of Hansarda. Having had such a recent example of ignoring the Lady’s wishes, she reluctantly agrees to go with the Prince’s emissary, the same man whose name she doesn’t remember and in whose bed she awoke that morning.

Queen of Wands (Sanctify #2 – Jenny and Mac) by Katee Robert (Entangled: Select, June 24, 2014)

What follows is a fabulous story filled with rich secondary characters (some of whom who are destined for their own books in the series) and a story of two people learning to dig past their emotional baggage and trust each other, particularly when certain life events give them a swift boot in the rear. Boone and Ophelia are extremely well-matched, sympathetic but tough characters who are equally willing to sacrifice themselves for the people they love. The prejudice and cruelty meted out by the Sanctify movement is both horrifying and a well-drawn vehicle for plot development and conflict. These are bad guys you are going to love to hate!

Happily there is already a prequel to the series, The High Priestess (all book names come from the Tarot deck the Diviners use to channel the Lady’s voice), which tells the story of Ophelia’s parents Gerard and Marianna. Since it’s hard to imagine a Sanctify lieutenant and a Diviner getting together, this one is on my buy list. I was pleased to see the second full-length novel in the series, the Queen of Wands, will not only be published at the end of June but will star Boone’s wild and dangerous sister, Jenny.

Katee Robert’s Sanctify series is a wonderful and much-needed quality addition to the world of science fiction romance. I look forward to being an avid pre-ordering fan of each book in the series!

Happy reading! 🙂

Tonya Burrows’ Honor Reclaimed Gets Sexy New Cover

27 May

Honor ReclaimedTonya Burrows is one of those writers who doesn’t know how to write a bad book (thank heavens), so I was interested when Entangled announced that her terrific book, Honor Reclaimed, the second in her HORNET series about a motley group of mercenaries, was undergoing a redesign. The previous cover (designed to tantalize us into pre-ordering book #2 – mission accomplished) had plenty of chiseled ab goodness, so no one was complaining, but this cover is much better, largely due to the intense facial expression of the model.

The first book SEAL of Honor (which was AMAZING) was full of romantic suspense and some sex scenes that almost set my iPad on fire, so I’ve had Honor Reclaimed pre-ordered since November 2nd. Take a gander at my review of SEAL of Honor for an introduction to the series and some of the characters.

Here’s the blurb for Honor Reclaimed, and all military romance and romantic suspense fans will especially want to take note of this book (and series).

Former Marine scout sniper Seth Harlan is new to HORNET and anxious to prove he can still do his job despite an ongoing battle with PTSD. He remembers all too well what it’s like to sit inside an enemy camp, praying for rescue and waiting for death. So when a black ops soldier contacts HORNET to rescue a buddy who was left behind, all sorts of nasty memories strain his newfound stability.

When an interview with a runaway Afghan child bride leads photojournalist Phoebe Leighton to an arms deal involving a suitcase bomb powerful enough to wipe out a mid-sized town, she realizes this is one battle she can’t win on her own. Forming an unlikely alliance with a ragtag team of military and government delinquents, she meets Seth, a sniper carrying as many emotional scars as physical, who impresses her with his steely will and ignites passions within her she thought long dead.

Suddenly this mission is about a lot more than an abandoned soldier. Racing against the clock, Seth, Phoebe, and the rest of HORNET struggle to stop that bomb before it reaches it’s final destination: The United States.

Fabulous, yes? To celebrate the redesign and the publication of Honor Reclaimed, Entangled Select is having a Rafflecopter giveaway so be sure to check that out. Want to learn more about Tonya Burrows (and believe me, you do if you haven’t read anything by her yet!)? Here’s all the places you can find more about this terrific author.

Website: http://www.tonyaburrows.com/

Blog: http://www.tonya-burrows.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tonyaburrows

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonyaburrowsauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Tonya_Burrows

Newsletter: http://tonyaburrows.us6.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=e03d7c5ec1a8fdc67db99bac3&id=3cafb9c112

Stay tuned for my review of Honor Reclaimed and happy reading!!

Lea Nolan Makes Pregnancy (and Billionaires) Sexy in Her New Release, His Billion Dollar Baby

19 May

His Billion Dollar Baby by Lea Nolan (Entangled: Indulgence, May 19, 2014)

Billionaires and babies go together, and it’s not just for the alliteration.

Gwen Radley has made a life for herself almost entirely on her own. A product of the foster care system, she managed to get an education and become a physical therapist, and she loves her job working with wounded soldiers at Walter Reed hospital. A few months ago she became friends with Ben Anderson when he was a patient and one tequila filled night led to a hot and heavy night prior to his getting shipped out.

Now it sucks that she has to go to his funeral after an IED claimed his life. The ten-weeks-pregnant Gwen knows this nice guy would have been a great dad and a good friend to her in her pregnancy, but all she has now is a sonogram to slide into his coffin. The high-end funeral parlor complete with bodyguards has Gwen quickly realizing that the low-key soldier she knew was actually one of the heirs to the Anderson fortune, money based on the success of football star Rocky Anderson who founded a billion-dollar fitness apparel corporation decades ago.

While Ben’s mother is elated to discover Gwen’s pregnancy, his older – and she has to be honest, hotter – brother, Carter, sees nothing but a gold-digging liar the instant the sonogram photo falls out of her purse. When a series of events has her reluctantly living in the Anderson mansion, Gwen is determined to pay her own way and not take any money from Ben’s family. She grows to care about Judith and especially Rocky, who is wheelchair bound after a debilitating stroke, too depressed after the loss of his son and his mobility to try and improve.

awaiting-18917_640Carter Anderson has always been the good son, and as much as he loved his younger brother, he resented that Ben could go off to the military and follow his dream in ways that Carter never could. He’s an excellent CEO of the family company, Work It, and considering his brother’s death and his father’s health, that’s a good thing. After his scheming bitch of an ex-wife betrayed his trust and attempted to take him for everything he had, he’s known that most women are in it for the money.

As attractive and compelling as he finds Gwen, Carter knows that she’s a woman like any other, and after he reads the background check with her foster home experience, he’s labeled her a ladder-climber as much as any of the blond floozies he squires around the city as one of DC sexiest bachelors. The problem is that the corporation is structured so that Ben’s baby – if it is Ben’s – inherits a third of the company, and there’s no way that Carter is going to stand for his family’s hard work resting in the hands of a manipulative stranger. He needs to charm Gwen enough to get her to sign the paperwork putting him in charge of the baby’s shares.

But the more he gets to know Gwen, the more she defies his expectations. This is a woman who wants to improve the world around her, from his father’s health to the soldiers she helps every day, and she doesn’t hesitate to tell Carter how his company can help. Denying his fascination with Gwen doesn’t last for long, but when Carter still insists on lumping her in with the women from his past, no epiphany on his part may salvage the fragile love he may have destroyed.

I have to warn you, Carter is a grade A asshole in every respect, but Lea Nolan’s choice of starting from that point is brilliant as the book becomes a vehicle for this character’s transformation. Gwen is a great person who has had a crappy stream of life obstacles that she’s managed to overcome time and again. Nolan’s secondary characters of the Anderson parents and Carter’s best friend/corporate attorney are well-developed yet never dominate the book, offering exactly the right amount of support. Being an Indulgence novel, the physical part of the relationship takes a while to develop, but in this case the pacing feels spot-on as these two people really don’t know each other, and Carter has a long row to hoe in terms of his personal development. Honestly, if it were me, I’m not sure I would have accepted his apology without more reassurance, but Gwen is a much better person than me. 🙂

I really enjoyed this novel and Nolan’s writing in particular, so I’ll be checking out more of her work as she adds to her adult contemporary romance titles. With writing friends like Laura Kaye and Christi Barth (who she lists as beta readers), it’s no surprise to discover this relatively new author producing a novel that leaves the reader wanting more.

Don’t wait nine months to check out His Billion Dollar Baby, do it now, especially as Entangled offers its new release discount. 🙂 Happy reading!

You Simply Won’t Dare to Resist the Latest by Laura Kaye

12 May

Dare to Resist (Wedding Dare #.5 – Kady and Colton) by Laura Kaye (Entangled Brazen, May 12, 2014)

I can be guaranteed to love everything Laura Kaye writes but sometimes she just outdoes herself (I don’t know how she manages it). Her latest, Dare to Resist, is one of those books that just left me breathless with its combination of emotion, intelligence, and heat.

Kady Dresco is a gorgeous, confident young woman who is making it in a man’s world. She’s been a coding prodigy since she took apart her parents’ PC as a kid and her career took off from there. It’s not easy being an attractive woman in the computer world, but she’s determined to land a big military contract, which is why she’s traveled into the middle of God-knows-where to kick ass in her presentation. Triumphing over her competition, who is currently sitting out in the lobby, is going to feel pretty sweet.

That’s not only due to how a solid win would feel, putting her in line for partner at her firm, but also because it would mean trumping Colton Brooks, sexy former soldier and owner of his own computer security firm. That he is her brother’s best friend and the man she’s crushed on since she helped him with his college comp sci homework is a minor technicality, as is the fact that he once brought her to screaming orgasm in her family’s pool house at the party welcoming him back from the Middle East. An untimely interruption and some really hurtful words cut that encounter short, but Kady has gotten over it, accepting their friendship/rivalry as the status quo.

Colton and Kady are hot, hot, hot with plenty of up-against-the-wall-while-I-hold-your-wrists sexy time. Yum. (Image purchased from Shutterstock under web license)

Colton and Kady are hot, hot, hot with plenty of up-against-the-wall-while-I-hold-your-wrists sexy times. Yum. (Image purchased from Shutterstock under web license)

Colton has never gotten Kady out of his head but the fact that she’s his best friend’s little sister  -combined with his own dark desires – means that this woman is off limits. When the crappy weather grounds them after their presentations, Colton is forced to share a room with Kady. What would normally be physical torture becomes something much worse as their camaraderie and playful banter further convinces him that this woman is all but perfect. A discovery in Kady’s luggage stuns Colton as he makes the realization that she could be exactly what he’s always wanted sexually as well.

Oh. My. God.

Not only are these two people who you instantly fall for – Kaye’s wonderful humor is laced throughout the couple’s banter, driving the sexual tension even higher – but she does an amazing job showing their shared history, the foundation upon which their friendship was built. Kady really does see and understand Colton – his crappy childhood and disastrous parents have convinced him he wouldn’t be any good in a real relationship, so he’s never had one. For Colton, Kady makes him want to take a chance and when he finally lets the blinders he’s worn since she was in high school completely fall, he sees a woman who is everything he’s ever dreamed off. It’s downright swoon-worthy.

Also making me faint is that the kick ass editors at Entangled have made this wonderful novella the kick off for a series – Wedding Dare – which manages to line up four of their best contemporary romance authors who will each write one of the full-length novels, using Kady and Colton’s wedding as a springboard for a relationship which develops between the couple’s friends and siblings.

And who will be writing the other books, you ask? Well, look at the window and check that it’s not actually December, because the series’ authors will be none other than: Tessa Bailey (who writes heroes who really know how to deliver the dirty talking in her Line of Duty series), Diane Alberts (author of the most wonderful tortured, emotional heroes and heroines in her Take a Chance series), Katee Robert (of Come Undone series fame) and Samanthe Beck (whose McCade Brothers series is a must-read for any contemporary romance reader).

The four other books in the series are due out in 2014, with all of them released on June 9th! Isn’t that brilliant? No stringing readers along month by month AND I’m on vacation that day, so you can bet I’ll be reading all of them in one sitting and just glorying in the fabulous writing. So psyched!!

Go out and grab Dare to Resist and begin building the anticipation for June 9th while enjoying another amazingly crafted work by Laura Kaye. It’s exactly the Monday you needed, I promise. 🙂

Happy reading!

Don’t Miss It! New Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week of May 11, 2014

11 May

New and Upcoming Books

I’m a big fan of romantic suspense a la Lori Foster, so in case there are readers out there who have not yet read her Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series, you’re in luck, as Foster just released all of them in a book bundle for $9.39, a great price for four full-length novels and a novella. This series is outstanding, focusing on a group of men with various military/law enforcement backgrounds who work together on their own to fight human trafficking. Foster’s research is excellent, but her ability to write protective, hot alpha men and the feisty women who bring them to their knees is unbelievable.

The third book in Rebecca Zanetti‘s excellent Sin Brothers series is out and the ebook version is only $2.99, so fans will want to leap on this while the getting is good! Focusing on a group of enhanced warriors who were cruelly raised to kill as children, the paranormal operatives are now on the run and trying to find out the details of their creation by attempting to evade the authorities while hunting down the scientists responsible for their abilities. In the third book, Blind Faith, Nate Dean loved the chief scientist’s daughter Audrey when he lived in the compound and while he always maintained her innocence in any wrongdoing, all the soldiers had their doubts. Now he must go the woman who broke his heart years ago and ask for her help in saving his chosen family, risking their safety and his emotions once more.

Considering how much I enjoyed Tawna Fenske’s novella, Eat, Play, Lustand her laugh aloud, sexy novel, Marine for Hire, I can’t wait to tackle her latest novel, Frisky Business, which just came out this past week. Marley is surrounded by rich, bossy men and she’s had enough. She’ll schmooze with the donors because that’s her job, but from now on, isn’t only working class guys with dirt under their nails for this jaded woman. Naturally she butts heads with her new boss, eccentric millionaire William Barclay the Fifth, whose questionable fashion choices, attending dog pack and strong opinions about she does her job makes her crazy. But when their charity is put in danger, the two of them realize not only they are playing for the same team but that their friction has been hinting at some serious chemistry…if they can put aside past prejudices to embrace what is right in front of them.

Contemporary romance fans know the value of Lauren Dane‘s Petal, Georgia collection, a spin off from her Chase Brothers (*fanning myself*) series. Set in the same small, southern town, the women of Petal are hot and the men determined, which make for a pretty unbeatable combination. In Count on Me, the third book of the series due out on June 10th, Dane once again explores the challenges of a romance that involves at least one person from the wrong side of the tracks, as lawyer Caroline Mendoza returns home to find out if her father really did kill her mother sixteen years ago. Organic farmer Royal Watson is busy with his business but cannot resist this smart, sexy woman, who quickly discovers he’s a naughty alpha male in disguise. But with the real killer nervous as she digs deeper, Caroline and Royal may not have a lot of time to enjoy their new feelings before someone threatens to put an end to it.

June 17th will mark the publishing of Janet Evanovich‘s twenty-first full-length Stephanie Plum novel, Top Secret Twenty-One, with that characters usual antics amidst a mystery and the two men who hold her heart. In this installment, feral chihuahuas, assassins and our favorite bounty hunter attempt to figure out the location of a missing used car dealer who skipped bail while also helping Ranger who is getting some murderous attention (and Stephanie’s help uncovers more about Ranger’s mysterious past). I’ll be teasing my hair and getting my gum ready to crack in anticipation!

Yes, I realize that October 28th is a long way away, but Nalini Singh fans don’t care (or we care more than other people), when that date houses the debut of the seventh Guild Hunter novel, Archangel’s Shadows. I am head over heels in love with this series, and the powerful archangel Raphael and his lover, vampire hunter turned angel Elena, are the main reason, but the secondary characters are fantastic and one of the best parts about Singh is that she periodically showcases them in novellas and full-length novels. In the last book, Archangel’s Legion, Raphael and Elena barely survived a war, managing to save the vast majority of the humans and vampires in their territory of New York, but the threat to them has not diminished as much as they would like. In this novel, an insane enemy means that Raphael must call upon one of Elena’s friends, fellow Guild Hunter, Ash, and the sexy Cajun vampire, Janvier, who is both her nemesis and her obsession. Working together, the two of them must track and take down a person of such power that their survival is in question, but the two of them discover something worth fighting for between them that will hopefully tip the balance in their favor. BRING. IT. ON.

October 28th is going to be a banner day (please note that I feel a terrible flu coming on October 27th) as the husband and wife team of Ilona Andrews also has the first in their new Hidden Legacy series debuting, Burn for Me, via Avon Publishing. Considering that I worship every page of their Kate Daniels series (I just reread the whole thing, including novellas and extras, last week) and their Clean Sweep novel blew me away with it’s originality, I’ve been excited about this series since they began discussing the project on their blog. Set in a hierarchical world of magic users, the book’s heroine, detective Nevada Baylor, is swept up in a deadly game that forces her to be an unlikely ally with the powerful billionaire Connor “Mad” Rogan, whose power is only superceded by his allure. I’m beginning to fan myself and I haven’t even seen the heat between them yet. Thank heavens the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a cool fall season – I’m going to need it!

Contests and Giveaways

Cindy Dees is known for her deft rendering of romantic suspense tales, probably due to the fact that she’s a former military pilot and no stranger to intelligence work. Loving her authentic voice, my ears perked up when I heard there was a Goodreads giveaway for her latest book, Close Pursuit. Katie McCloud agrees to travel to the mideast with Dr. Alex Peters, a Doctors Unlimited volunteer specializing in women in childbirth. She’s an excellent translator and with brothers in Special Forces, no stranger to keeping her eyes and ears open to look for danger. Recognizing that the drones she’s spotting means that things are not safe for them, particularly after they lose a mother in surgery, Katie wonders if the handsome doctor is hiding any secrets. Alex, the son of a Soviet spy, hates his father’s profession but has to reluctantly call him for an airlift out of the country, but even a return to the U. S. doesn’t take either him or Katie out of the crosshairs of whoever wants to silence them, throwing these two people together in an adventure that reveals there is more between them than a shared enemy. Enter before May 15th for your chance to win!

Despite it’s questionable cover (be careful with that rose, milord!), Eliza Lloyd‘s erotic historical romances are popular for a reason, so the fact that she’s giving away a copy of the third book in her Wicked Affairs series (in time for the RT Booklovers’ Convention in New Orleans next week) is cause for celebration. Wicked Lord contains a sensual, talented heroine who is happy to pursue her art and dream of being a good wife to the Baron to whom she’s betrothed. When her father changes his mind and gives her to rakish Lord Redding instead she’s honor-bound to marry him. Edward Chase, Lord Redding, was delighted to steal the fiancee of his rival, but realizes quickly that’s he won much more in his talented, innocent wife. Determined to seduce her into forgetting the man she thought she loved, he employs all his erotic talents to the point that his lovely and sated bride has to ask herself if she loves her husband or merely their bedsport. Enter before May 14th to win a copy.

If firefighters are good, smoke jumpers are better based on how many authors are putting out excellent books about the men and women who battle wildfires (Nora Roberts and M. L. Buchman are just a few). Anne Marsh‘s Smoke Jumpers series is going strong with great reviews so it was awesome to find the fifth book in her series, Sweet Burn, due out on May 30th, being featured in a Goodreads giveaway. When the town’s bartender and resident bad girl, Mimi, has a wedding hook up with former Special Forces soldier, Mack, they are lucky the sheets don’t catch on fire. But she’s not the person to be sweetly courted and he’s not a man who is going to give up after finally finding the place – and woman – who helps him confront his demons. Enter before May 15th to see if you can snag a copy (and note that the fourth book in the series, Smoking Hot, is available in the below

Fun Stuff

If you’re already planning your summer reads, take a look at Harlequin’s brilliant flow chart to help you discover the book(s) perfect for your beach bag. Several of my favorites are on there and now I have more to discover!

Tea and books have always gone together, as has the desire for peace and quiet while you’re enjoying your favorite romance, so Oxford University’s Bodelian Library’s gift shop has the perfect teapot, emblazoned with the reminder “Silence Please” for just those times. Matching cups, a creamer pitcher and sugar bowl, can complete the set if you choose, but just the teapot is £40.00, about $67 U. S. dollars. 

The next time you are sandwiched flying coach as a four year old kicks your seat and a stranger spills peanuts in your lap, give yourself a mental fantasy vacation flight by thinking about Etihad Airways’ incredible airbus, complete with suites containing real beds, full private bathrooms with showers and big screen televisions.

Want to show your literary side proudly? Consider doing it with your next manicure! Espionage Cosmetics offers “Literary” nail wraps that are book excerpts. These are super thin stickers with nail lacquer on top made of high quality and without a ton of yucky chemicals like so many of the novelty nail decorations out there. Espionage even has a terrific tutorial on their website to walk you through how you can make them look amazing (honestly, it looks easier than painting your nails with your non-dominant hand!). Talk about a conversation starter as you are sipping your latte in that cute coffeehouse and a sexy man walks up to ask you what you are reading…oh, wait. I think I slipped into a book again. 🙂

Great Deals

Hmm…Red Hot Chance is a sexy short story by K.T. Grant set in Las Vegas (and we know how that city affects people!). Brian’s returned home to Sin City to attend his best friend’s engagement party and to help his sick father despite their estrangement. When said best friend asks him to take out his fiancee’s boss, Brian’s wondering how much worse this trip home can get, that is until he catches a glimpse of the beautiful Diane. Diane’s not been much for dating since her fiancee’s death, but her best friend convinces her in can’t hurt to just talk to the date she’s arranged. When sparks fly and kissing ensues, Diane’s guilt at feeling something for someone other than the man she loved and lost causes her to run…but this time someone is running after her, and he’s not accepting no for an answer. Currently available for free on Amazon.

Maggie Shayne has a ton of fans and her books regularly hit the best-seller list, so I feel rather guilty about not having read that much of her work. Luckily for me, the three books that make up her Immortal Witch series are now available as an ebook bundle entitled Eternal Love, available for only $.99, pretty awesome for about 600 pages! These books each focus on one woman who was pursued by dark forces when she was a witch in the past, only to find those same forces bent on her destruction in the present day. Considering that each witch has a lover from the past determined to help them survive makes this books a blend of historical and contemporary with a healthy dash of paranormal. Sold!

Where would we be without ebook bundles? I’d certainly have not discovered some great authors, hence my devotion to them. The Beyond Desire Collection: (A Limited Edition Boxed Set of Alpha Males, Badboys and Billionaire Romance Novels) is 1500 pages of exactly what it’s title promises, with authors I admire like Roxie Rivera, Deanna Chase and Marie Hall among others. Take a look now since I’m not sure when the $.99 price tag is going to expire.

Come Away With Me by Kristen Proby (the first book in her insanely popular With Me In Seattle series) is currently free on Amazon right now, so readers will definitely want to download it and same this author’s writing. When Natalie Connor is doing what soothes her scarred soul, taking morning photographs on the beach, she’s startled at why the good-looking man walking in the sand flips out and accuses her of deliberately taking his picture. Luke Williams quickly realizes that the stunning woman with a camera really has no idea who he is, and therefore has no idea of why he’s so tired of being on the wrong side of a telephoto lens. Rather than enlighten her, he decides to get to know a woman just as himself…and quickly realizes his fallen hard for this ethereal beauty. But when Natalie, who has reason to despise lies, finds out about his deception, photographs might be the only thing he’s left with.

Another ebook bundle that looks tempting is exactly what a romance reader needs for Memorial Day weekend by the pool. SEALS of Summer: Military Romance Superbundle contains ten novels and novellas by authors such as Delilah Devlin, Sharon Hamilton, Anne Marsh, and Roxie Rivera (again!). I have an entire Kindle collection dedicated to military romance so this anthology is going to live quite happily in there after I’ve devoured it. Did I mention it’s only $.99 right now? Uh-huh. Show your patriotism by grabbing this bargain while you can.

Historical romance readers will want to check out Kasey Michaels second book of her The Redgraves series, which focuses on a aristocratic family determined to unearth their possibly tainted past. In What a Lady Needs, Lady Katherine Redgrave and her brother are given the task of finding her father’s journals in the hope that they will reveal more about the traitorous conspiracy endangering her family. Simon Ravenbill, a Marquis, also wants to find those journals in order to find out the truth about his brother’s murder, so he allies himself with the beautiful Lady Katherine in the hope that seducing her will distract her enough that he can get to the journals first. The only problem is that what starts as a clever strategy rapidly becomes something much more as he falls for this independent beauty, one who may just run when secrets are revealed. Doesn’t that sound great? And it’s only $.99 right now for the ebook at Amazon.

Biker romances are hot (I guess it’s the throbbing machine between their legs) and readers who’d like to dip into this phenomenon may want to take a look at Riding Desire: Alpha Bad Boy Boxed Set which has collated 14 stories from various authors into 1200 pages of fan yourself goodness. With such authors in the lineup as Opal Carew, Sarah Castille, Lauren Hawkeye, Eden Bradley, R. G. Alexander and Mari Carr, this compilation definitely errs on the erotic side (yay!) with a few menage stories and hot and dirty sex to accompany the romance in every title. The price tag of $2.99 seems a lot cheaper than a Harley to me, so take a ride on the wild side.

Stacey Kennedy‘s erotic Club Sin series is incredibly popular among erotic romance readers and now interested fans have the chance to pick up the second book, Bared, for only $.99. Filled with the BDSM sex and roiling emotion she’s known for, this installment has a Master, Aidan Knight, who is renowned for uncover the hidden desires of his submissives in the Las Vegas club. His ability to read people has him fascinated with Cora Adams, a woman who has come to the club to escape her heartbreak. As a kindred damaged spirit, he recognizes that she’s keeping secrets, and determines to use all his talents to bring her emotions to the surface in the hope that by doing so he can heal and free them both.

Amazingly, the super sexy bundle, Bring On the Heat: Romance Box Set (Bad Boys and Alphas and Handcuffs, Oh my!) is still only $.99, so I’m jumping on this deal and riding it home. With BDSM, menage, naughty cowboy and dark shifter stories from ten best-selling authors, including Stephanie Julian, Ann Mayburn, Cassandra Carr, Eden Bradley and Cari Quinn, this set is sure to do exactly what its title promises!

Happy reading everyone. 🙂

Don’t Miss It! New and Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff, and Great Deals You Might Have Missed

4 May

New and Upcoming Books

Paranormal doyenne N. J. Walters has recently published the first in her new Salvation Pack series, Wolf at the Door, about a paranormal writer who in the process of getting information about werewolves discovers that they are actually…gasp…real. When the werewolf hero realizes that this woman he’s supposed to silence is his mate, he also is aware that the head of the rival pack – who is also his father – will do anything to get rid of her.

Any reader who enjoys steamy category romance is familiar with the wonderful writing of Leslie Kelly, so they’ll be pleased to hear that she’s recently published another wonderful book under Harlequin Blaze’s “Unrated” label (mrrrroooowwww), Double Take. When a sex therapist gains way to much media attention, she retreats to an island off the coast of Michigan as a substitute teacher hoping to not even think about sex for a while. That intention is blown out of the water upon meeting former Chicago cop Mike Santori who came to this safe small island to settle down and avoid danger. Falling for a hot teacher who is more than she appears was not part of the plan, but he’ll do everything he can – and use every one of her naughty toys – at his disposal to strip her of her defenses.

Kaylea Cross is one of the best military romance writers out there, so I was elated to discover that the most recent book in her outstanding Bagram Ops series is out. Danger Close has Army nurse Lt. Erin Kelly ready for her well-deserved leave back home in Montana, but plans go awry when a strange man unintentionally puts her in the way of the American-born terrorist currently enemy number one. This places her in tremendous danger and, now that his cover has been blown, CIA Operative Wade Sandberg isn’t about to leave Erin’s safety in anyone else’s hands, particularly as the man he once guarded hunts them down.

As historical romance fans wait for Erin Knightley‘s next full-length novel to come out, they will be elated knowing that she’s given readers a terrific novella, Deceived by a Duke, as the next installment in her All’s Fair in Love series. Published this past Friday, this 97 page morsel of goodness has a responsible duke who takes his dissolute younger brother to Spain with the caveat that if he agrees to live minus their station for a month, his debts will be paid. What no one expected was the English beauty who helps them with the local language, but what will happen when she realizes that her heart which has been captured has been deceived by a duke? At only $.99, there’s no mistaking this novella as a great bargain, so grab it now while you wait for The Baron Next Door, her Prelude to a Kiss novel, to be published on June 3rd.

Harlequin is embarking on another glamorous multi-author series, this time centering on a decadent Monte Carlo hotel, The Chatsfield (the name of the series as well as the surname of the billionaire family who owns it). First up is Lucy Monroe with Sheikh’s Scandal, about a ruler who is jilted in the hotel, only to find solace in a beautiful chambermaid who he promptly whisks back to his home country when circumstances arise that their night together may result in pregnancy. Published on May 1st, the next sequel will be Playboy’s Lesson (debuting on June 1st) by Melanie Milburne and then the gothic sounding Billionaire’s Secret by Chantelle Shaw due out in August.

Everyone knows how much I adore M. L. Buchman, so I’m thrilled that his new spin-off series, Firehawks, debuts this coming Tuesday, May 6th, with Pure Heat. Fans who enjoyed his incredible Night Stalkers series know that our favorite couple in those books have taken the news of their pregnancy and decided to turn civilian, flying helicopters in dangerous fire-fighting situations. In this opening novel, an emotionally shut down forest fire specialist who has lost loved ones in the line of duty is assigned as a co-pilot to a hot former smokejumper. When they discover a terrorist threat in the wilderness, it’s hard to determine what’s hotter, they’re attraction to each other or the fire they are desperate to conquer.

If you love animals, hot men and Jill Shalvis (and who doesn’t?) you must adore this contemporary author’s Animal Magnetism series, set in a small Western town where hot vets seem to be a speciality. You can chalk up one more citizen who fits this description as her latest book, Then Came You, focuses on a veterinary intern fulfilling her vet school scholarship by serving a year in a clinic in the middle-of-nowhere Idaho, only to come face to face with her hot one night stand at the Reno veterinary conference she attended. The problem? He’s her boss. Unfortunately we’re going to have to wait until July 1st for this one, but I have a feeling the summer is going to be a little bit hotter! FYI, be sure to enter the Goodreads giveaway before May 9th to see if you can win a copy. 🙂

Lauren Dane’s long-awaited Hurley Boys series is driving the anticipation higher with both the cover release for The Best Kind of Trouble, the first book in the series, which will debut on August 26th in print and September 1st in ebook form (it’s an annoying Harlequin thing) as well as the pre-order page for the second book, Broken Open, going live despite its November 25th release date. Having met these sexy rock stars who stay close to their small-town Hood River, Oregon roots in Dane’s fabulous book Lush, we’ve been chomping at the bit waiting for all their stories. The Best Kind of Trouble focuses on the town’s librarian, a once wild girl in her youth, who has mastered self-control and now has her life going to plan…that is, until Paddy Hurley, the musician with whom she once spent two unbelievable weeks returns to tempt her.

Whether you love them for the amazing writing, Victorian Era Highlanders (who are NOT as tame as their English counterparts) or the loving mess of the Mackenzie family, any installment of Jennifer Ashley’s Highland Pleasures series is a must-read. Fans of quality historical romance will be thrilled to note the next book in the series, Rules for a Proper Governess, is available for pre-order, with a release date of October 7, 2014.  This book focuses on one of the McBride men (related to the Mackenzies via the sister who married Lord Cameron), the brilliant barrister Sinclair whose widowed status has led to an amazing career but two hellion children. When a thief manages to tame his wayward offspring, he offers her a job as their governess, but pocket watches aren’t the only thing she knows how to steal, and Sinclair begins to realize that his heart is in danger as well.

Contests and Giveaways

RT Book Reviews magazine has a terrific giveaway featuring the first novel of M. L. Buchman’s Firehawks series (his spin off from his successful – and amazing – Night Stalkers books, see above description in “Upcoming Books”), Pure Heat, as well as Julie Ann Walker‘s latest Black Knights Inc. book, Hell for Leather. That’s a lot of muscled alpha male, but I know you can handle it, so enter their Rafflecopter giveaway before May 8th for your chance to win!

Susan Mallery has an incredibly successful series with her long-running Fool’s Gold collection, and now you can win the fourteenth book, Before We Kiss, in a Goodreads giveaway. With a former pro-football player with terrible luck with woman and the one night stand he runs from when he discovers a room filled with wedding gowns, this is classic Mallery, so readers will enjoy this journey to a happily ever after. Be sure to enter by May 6th for your chance to win!

Kat Latham and Ashley LeMar are doing a wonderful giveaway for the month of May in honor of Memorial Day’s focus on our nation’s men and women in the military. Entitled 2014 Read, White and Blue, it’s goal is to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund, which provides assistance to military personnel (and their families) who have have been injured or are coping with illness. It’s a great cause and helping out and promoting the giveaway enters you to win the grand prize, a Kindle, donated ebooks, custom coffee mugs, a cozy blanket and a $20 Starbucks gift card! Enter before May 31st and make your Memorial Day about more than a great cookout with friends and family.

Western romance fans instantly recognize Linda Lael Miller‘s name, so they’ll be pleased to discover that she has a new series, The Brides of Bliss County, debuting at the end of May and the first book, The Marriage Pact, is available as a prize in a Goodreads giveaway for readers who hustle over and enter before May 6th. Considering this has a best friend’s little sister, a divorced hero who once saved the heroine from making a bad marriage and heat that cannot be denied, I’ll be reading this one whether or not I win!

Fun Stuff

Anyone needing a blast from romance novels past should check out BuzzFeed’s hilarious “19 Things Fabio Is Really Thinking on Romance Novel Covers.” Readers who lived through the bodice ripper days of the 1980s will recognize more than a few of these covers!!

If you’ve got a honey bunny who needs a love card, romance enthusiasts need look no further than Meow Kapow shop on Etsy and their hilarious (to the library geeks among us) “checking you out” card. Be sure to look at their other delightfully retro and quirky offerings – there are more than few stocking stuffers and hostess gifts in this great shop!

Great Deals

Pirate fans will want to take a look at Pleasing the Pirate by Sharon Cullen which features a spunky Highland miss determined to save her brother from imprisonment so he can take over the management of their lands. Unfortunately, she has to seek help from a handsome Sassenach buccaner who has little use for her money, but plenty for her body. That her brother is exactly the person the crown has asked him to apprehend is an unexpected bonus, but his obligations prove less and less appealing the more time he spends with this Scottish beauty. Only $.99 for 261 pages on Amazon!

Shifter and romantic suspense fans will want to take note that Wolf Protector by Milly Taiden (part of her Federal Paranormal Unit series) is also currently only $.99. I enjoyed this book tremendously as it stars a psychic heroine who keeps herself tightly under control, particularly around her devastatingly handsome coworker, who she has labeled trouble of the player variety. The hero, a wolf shifter, knows this woman is who he’s been waiting for but his patience is reaching its limit as she continues to ignore him. When a gruesome serial killer has them both working together, no one is denying the fiery attraction between them. But does their love come too late? With the next book in the series, Dangerous Protector, just out this past Friday, this is a great opportunity to see if you want to commit yourself to the series (which I think you will!).

Erotic author Jasmine Haynes has the first of her Open Invitation series, Invitation to Seduction, available for free right now on Amazon. With an artist heroine low on confidence, a bachelorette party at an exclusive club and a hero whose fallen for the heroine from afar and will do anything to get her now that he’s seen her in person, we’ve reached “fan yourself” territory. Grab it now as a present to yourself.

We’ve got to feature at least one awesome book bundle, and this one is a doozy! If you haven’t yet picked up Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance, get on it, as it gives you quite a line-up of authors for only $.99! With Jennifer Ashley’s Bodyguard (a fabulous novella from her Shifters Unbound series) heading the list, the bundle also features powerhouse writers like Alyssa Day, Felicity Heaton, Erin Kellison, Laurie London, Erin Quinn, Bonnie Vanak and Caris Roane. WOW!

May means the advent of romance authors everywhere raising money for Brenda Novak’s Online Auction to benefit Diabetes Research and this amazing book bundle, A Sweet Life Boxed Set, has fourteen contemporary romances from best-selling authors with all proceeds headed straight to that charity. At only $.99 for 1500 pages of great writing, it’s not just the research that’s benefiting, particularly with authors like Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, Heather Graham, Susan Mallery, Brenda Novak (the fundraiser herself!), Susan Wiggs, and Debbie Macomber among others. Don’t let the “sweet” in the title fool you either – there’s a variety of sensuality levels from steamy to sweet between these covers.

Happy reading! 🙂

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