What enjoyments do I find in writing historical romance?

Many people use reading as a means to escape reality and step into another life; one filled with glamour, intrigue, and adventure. The genre doesn’t always matter, it is the author’s ability to transport a reader to another world. Many find enjoyment in reading historical romance, I find enjoyment in writing it. The characters roaming in my mind are given names, homes, families, and entire lives. My heroine can wear a daring midnight blue silk gown or my hero can avenge the honor of his fair lady. It is all up to me. I am writing my own adventures. Stories I want to explore and read.

Escape is at my fingertips. I can write about a pirate with a heart of gold or a courtesan in search of an honorable man. I write the stories I love. If others love them too, that is a bonus for me. I adore independent heroines and men who prefer to stand side by side with their women. The bond between siblings and friends also plays a prominent role in stories I enjoy writing.

With THEODORA I wanted to explore the idea of a large family; the struggles they face, their interactions and individual relationships, and the hilarity that comes with so many strong willed people living under one roof.

The enjoyment I seek with historical romance, whether it is my story or one I’m reading, is the ability to whisk me away—to a different time, a different place, and a different life.

THEODORA by Christina McKnight

Lady Archer’s Creed #1

Theodora

Friendship…

Lady Theodora Montgomery departed Miss Emmeline’s School of Education and Decorum for Ladies of Outstanding Quality to attend her first London Season—her three dearest friends by her side. With her sharp wit and skill on the archery field, Theo is far more interested in winning a large purse prize than securing a husband. But when she is unmasked on the tourney grounds, her face exposed to all, she fears her identity and days spent gallivanting around London will cause not only her undoing, but the downfall of her friends as well.

Loyalty…

Mr. Alistair Price, heir to the elderly Viscount Melton, arrived in London with his eight younger siblings in tow. He is charged with keeping his family name above reproach until the Season starts and his sister, Miss Adeline Price, is presented to society—though that proves far more difficult than Alistair ever expected when he discovers his rebellious sister climbing down the side of their townhouse and scurrying off to Whitechapel for an archery tournament. His focus remains on saving his family from the certain ruin and disgrace Adeline’s actions invited—until Alistair catches sight of another female archer, her arrow connecting with far more than the center of her target.

And honor above all…

Romance | Romance Historical [La Loma Elite Publishing, On Sale: January 17, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 2940156928781 / eISBN: 9781945089084]

About Christina McKnight

Christina McKnight

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since. Currently, she focuses on Historical Romance.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

Craven House | Lady Forsaken | Lady Archer’s Creed

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Getting the Shaft Fairy Tale Style

I love fairy tales. As you might have guessed since the books in my Bachelor Auction series are all loosely based on them. :-) But really, some of my best memories including my mother, sister and I sitting on the couch while she read The Boy Who Cried Wolf and Billy Goat Gruff to us. *sigh* Those were great times. Great stories. While I’ve had some “I want a Prince Charming” moments, I also had some serious WTF moments, too. Listen, I know the great thing about fairy tales is the happily-ever-after but, man, some characters were stuck with really raw deals! I mean they were shafted! I know what you’re thinking. That’s crazy talk! But follow me here for a moment…

The Six Swans. In this story, obviously the people most wronged are the six brothers that were turned into swans by their evil stepmother. But the sister, who not only has to sew six shirts for them is also struck mute and unable to laugh for six years—the number of years she has to complete these shirts before the enchantment is permanent. Raw deal #1. Then a king sees her, is mesmerized by her beauty and marries her. All good, right? But no, another wicked stepmother steals all three babies she births and blames their disappearance on the sister/queen. Does king-y stand by his woman? Nooo. Instead she’s sentenced to burn at the stake. Raw deal #2. Just as the match is ready to be lit and tossed, the six swan brothers flock to her, she throws the shirts that she’s finally finished in the air, and her brothers return to human. Yay! Except, Shaft #3. She didn’t have time to finish the sleeve of the youngest brother’s shirt so he had to live life with one wing! Bruh’s gonna have the hardest time explaining that to a potential date!

Rumpelstiltskin. The princess was treated so wrong, right? Wrong! There was one character in this story crying out for justice here Rumpelstiltskin! Rumple—as we’re calling him because, hey, Rumpel-etc.-etc. is simply too much to type!—is used for his talents, lied to, and cheated on! We know the story. The miller’s daughter is conscripted into doing the impossible—turning straw into gold—or face execution from the greedy king. So Rumple shows up and does the task for a small price. I mean really, what’s a ring and necklace compared to her life? Well when Rumple requests her firstborn in exchange for the last ginormous pile of straw, the miller’s daughter agrees. I mean she never imagined the douche king would offer his hand in marriage, and she would actually have a baby. So of course that’s reason to renege! What did Rumple do but hold up his end of the bargain? He delivered! So what does Rumple get for being a man of his word? One foot in hell. Literally.

Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty had her happily-ever-after but ol’ girl earned it! First, because Queen Mom neglected to invite one pissed-off fairy, Beauty ended up with a curse over her head! Forget the fact that due to mom’s mistake a lot of people lost their livelihood with the banishment of the spindle! *smh* So Beauty pricks her finger and falls into a coma-like sleep for one hundred years. Do you know how many balls, parties and fashions she missed in a century? So she awakens to a kiss from a prince with no gum in sight, and they all lived happily-ever…*screech* Nope. The prince secretly weds Sleeping Beauty, keeps her on the DL from his stepmother, and they have two children. Where do these princesses find these men? Well when his father kicks the bucket, he ascends to the throne—and surprise!—springs his ready-made family on the stepmother, who happens to be wicked (Nooo! Didn’t see that coming!) and of ogress lineage. Mother-in-law from hell! Her husband leaves on some kingly duty and abandons his wife and children to the tender care of his stepmother. Tender as in tender meat, because she tries to turn them into cucculent tender meat on her dinner table. Long story short, Sleeping Beauty has to face her Shrek-like mother-in-law, save her kids from becoming rack of lamb and elude a pit of vipers. King shows up just in time and stepmother ends up in her own viper pit. All this because Sleeping Beauty’s mother forgot a name…this whole thing could have been avoided if her mother had just made an invitation list to that doggone christening!!

Did I make a believer out of you yet? Do you see what I mean about raw deals? C’mon, you can admit it…

A MILLIONAIRE AT MIDNIGHT by Naima Simone

Bachelor Auction

A Millionaire at Midnight

Boston socialite Morgan Lett is having a run of bad luck. Her fiancE just dumped her for her stepsister, the charity foundation she’s given her life to is in danger of folding, and now, the gorgeous man she bid on and won at a masquerade bachelor auction turns out to be a cold-hearted jerk…and her new employer.

Millionaire Alexander Bishop needs the best wife money can buy. In order to inherit his family business, he must get engaged–fast. And Morgan, with her beauty and pedigree, is the perfect candidate. Her sharp tongue may drive him crazy, but she needs money to save the foundation she loves, and he needs a fiancEe. It’s a flawless arrangement–no strings, no love. But soon she has him craving more, and cursing the platonic terms of their agreement.

Still, he won’t allow need–no matter how hot it burns–to threaten everything he’s built.

Romance Contemporary [Entangled Indulgence, On Sale: February 13, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633758612 / eISBN: 9781633758612]

About Naima Simone

Naima Simone

Naima Simone’s love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey, Sandra Brown and Linda Howard many years ago. Well not that many. She is only eighteen…ish. Though her first attempt at a romance novel starring Ralph Tresvant from New Edition never saw the light of day, her love of romance, reading and writing has endured. Published since 2009, she spends her days—and nights—creating stories of unique men and women who experience the first bites of desire, the dizzying heights of passion, and the tender, healing heat of love.

She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.

Secrets and Sins | Guarding Her Body | Simone Bachelor Auction

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On Sale – 75% off HIS FANTASY BRIDE! One Week Only!

HIS FANTASY BRIDE, by Nina Croft is on sale! Only 99 cents (usual price $3.99) for one week only.

I can’t marry you. You don’t love me.

Two sentences, that’s all Gabrielle Harper left Vito D’Ascensio when she vanished the night before their wedding. If he wants his bride back, he’s going to have to hunt her down and prove his love. But when he searches for Gabrielle, he finds Gabby instead; it seems his perfect bride is nothing but a fantasy.

Buy HIS FANTASY BRIDE only 99¢: Kindle | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

HIS FANTASY BRIDE by Nina Croft

Things To Do Before You Die #3

His Fantasy Bride

She’s his everything…

I can’t marry you. You don’t love me.

Two sentences, that’s all Gabrielle Harper left Vito D’Ascensio when she vanished the night before their wedding. If he wants his bride back, he’s going to have to hunt her down and prove his love. But when he searches for Gabrielle, he finds Gabby instead; it seems his perfect bride is nothing but a fantasy.

After six months, Gabby presumes it’s over, an episode in her life she’s totally ashamed of. But now Vito is back. He’s the one man she can never have, but as desire explodes between them, she has a tough time remembering why they shouldn’t be together. Oh, right, her family hates him, and he’s done terrible things. Or has he? But it doesn’t matter. When he finds out the truth about who she really is…he’ll never want to see her again.

Romance Contemporary [Entangled Brazen, On Sale: July 11, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633756663 / eISBN: 9781633756663]

Sex and Activism: How writing erotic novels pushes the sex-positive movement forward

Ever since I was younger, I wanted to be a writer. Never in a million years did I think that sex was what I’d be writing about and that in doing so I’d become a better person. Now, incidentally, my debut novel, an erotic romance by the name of UNDER HER AUTHORITY, will be coming out on Feb. 14th with Totally Bound.

The first erotic novel I read was something like a twist fate. It was a spin-off of a popular YA paranormal romance. On an adventurous day, I purchased the book without reading the blurb. Why not? I was loyal to the author, loving her style and her ability to create fantastical worlds. I’ll never forget reading that sex scene. I was somewhere between astounded and intrigued. Born in the middle of the bible belt, I’d never had access to these types of books.

So, how did I end up writing romance and what does that have to do with activism?

In the middle of a job and full-time course load, I didn’t have the time or energy to complete the YA manuscript I’d been working on, but I didn’t want to push aside writing. I decided to challenge myself by picking a subject that would require less mental-strain (futuristic world-building is a killer) but more emotional strength. I had always been uncomfortable with sex. The sex in my relationship had idled after two years. Childhood memories of a paranoid father who believed my mother was unfaithful and, in turn, took it out aggressively on my family made me associate sex with something bad. I didn’t want this to be the case and with my struggling relationship, I was willing to turn to any avenue that offered hope.

I went through all the stages of writing an erotic romance, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It required me to break past the mental walls I’d created and discuss things that made me uncomfortable. The more I fell in love with my character and their connection, the less difficulty I had about helping them express it in a physical way. I realized how beautiful sex can be, and after months of editing and researching, I began talking about sex more openly, which led to being more open sexually. Badwas no longer synonymous with sex.

A year later, I volunteered at my university’s first reproductive justice summit. I hosted the workshop Let’s Talk About Sex. In this workshop we passed around a plush toy, a female breast I’d purchased from a sex store, and listed alternative ways of saying our favorite sexy words. Penis became hot shaft. Vagina became feminine fruit. We wrote erotic scenes and read them aloud. It was both fun and enlightening, exactly how talking about sex should be. I had succeed in my goal, which was to have the participants step out of the zone where sex equates to shame and too-private-to-discuss because I’d learned an important lesson I needed to share. How can we begin to discuss the many issues involving sex and sexuality, if we are not open to dialogue, if we do not take the time to get to know our own bodies and if we do not have the confidence to speak up?

In America, many schools prefer talks of abstinence over safe sex. Media is oversexualized yet the act itself is shamed. You have too many partners you run the risk of being called slut or manwhore. You wait and you’re called a virgin. Among men who are part of a couple, 75% say they always have an orgasm, as opposed to 26% of the women. According to a study by Edward O. Laumann, PhD. These are amongst some of the many reasons conversations about sex are important.

That is where erotic romance comes in. Erotic novels normalize sex and kink. Those who write them are activists for the sex-positive movement. As a matter of fact, they’re radicals. They take subjects surrounded by controversy and hone it while letting everyone else know it’s okay to speak about your desires, wants, fears and needs. Openness and acceptance is the key to a thriving society and that is exactly what every good erotic romance teaches.

About L.T. Shade

L.T. Shade

Lauren goes by the pen name L.T. Shade and lives in Miami, FL. She loves black coffee and sexy heroes. Not exactly in that order. Nothing makes Lauren happier than writing, or reading, about strong and capable heroines and their happily ever after’s. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, overdosing on Cuban coffee, interning as a book publicist and hanging out with her amazing family and her American Cocker Spaniel, Princess Albie.

WEBSITE | TWITTER

UNDER HER AUTHORITY by L.T. Shade

Under Her Authority

She tried to resist. Fate had other things in store.

No one tells Shane Williams what to do. His world. His rules—which is why he ran away from home at eighteen to pursue his dream of making a name for himself outside of small-town Georgia. Ten years later, he is one of the hottest creative directors on the east coast and the majority shareholder in a digital media firm in Charlotte. Handing over the business portion of his company to his trusted friend and business partner and keeping his true identity as the founder a secret has its perks. But Shane is about to find out one of its flaws.

At the expense of her relationships, Rosemary Berkowitz has always done what it takes to succeed. Being a female leader in an all-boys tech field has made her tougher than nails. She may be a sweet country girl, but, underneath her innocent exterior, Rose is a boss with an iron fist. She never backs down from a challenge, and, when she wants something, she goes after it full force.

No matter how sexy his smile is, the attention of a tattooed bad boy is the last thing Rose wants. After a club outing with her best friend turns into a steamy night with a mysterious stranger, Rose wants nothing more than to move past her one-night stand—however amazing it was—and continue to mend her broken career. Little does Rose know that fate has other things in store.

Reader Advisory: This book contains some scenes of public sex.

Romance Erotica Sensual [Totally Bound Publishing, On Sale: February 14, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781786511317 / eISBN: 9781786511317]

Kari Lynn Dell | Tangled in Texas

Tangled in Texas in 6 words.

The rodeo cowboy version of Rocky.

Favorite thing to munch on while you write?

I try not to snack while I’m writing (which isn’t so hard when you live too far out in the boonies for emergency chocolate runs), but I nearly always have something to sip on. I’ve recently kicked my Pepsi habit and replaced it with hot tea. Sadly, they’ve stopped selling my addiction of choice—blueberry, acai, pomegranate green tea—so I have to make do with Red Rose brew from Canada, conveniently located only a mile north of my house. When I’m in the mood for a real treat, I crack open the can of Tim Horton’s French Vanilla cappuccino mix that I keep hidden from my husband in the cleaning supply cupboard.

Tell us something interesting about Delon and Tori that we won’t find out in the book.

Neither of them can sing a lick. They’re so bad that when they were in their respective elementary school Christmas programs they would just mouth the words—at the teachers’ requests. That’s part of the reason Delon likes ear-splitting, head-banging rock music. When he feels like howling a few lyrics to AC/DC’s Thunderstruck while he’s working out, he can’t even hear himself let alone have to worry about anyone else eavesdropping.

If you had to pick ONE line from Tangled in Texas as your favorite, what would it be and why?

I love Tori’s epitaph for her husband but it doesn’t make sense out of context, so I’ll go with the line Kirkus liked so much they put it in their review:

“Together?” She snorted. “Funny. It feels more like I’m sitting in one place again while you circle around, making sure you never get close enough to get burned.”

Who is your favorite cowboy/cowgirl (from real life or fictional)?

It would be easier to name my favorite famous rodeo horse. I have a list. But I’ll go with four-time World Champion Kaycee Feild because he’s a bareback rider like Delon, a super nice guy, and spends every Memorial Day participating in activities for our troops including several trips to the Middle East. And he’s not hard to look at, especially in a pair of chaps. Kaycee even appears in Tangled in Texas, as the epitome of everything Delon wishes he could be—a fierce and fearless competitor who puts it all out there on every ride—and one of the obstacles standing between Delon and his dream of winning the world title.

What’s your favorite real-life rodeo tidbit you included in Tangled in Texas?

Everything rodeo in Tangled is something I’ve either witnessed, personally experienced or heard from other cowboys and cowgirls, so it’s all real-life. I’m partial to something my husband once said to a friend who came to our place for roping lessons. It shows up in a scene where Tori and her college nemesis, Shawnee Pickett, are practicing team roping together—an event where one person ropes the steer by the horns, the other ropes the back feet, and the fastest time wins. Tori is so intent on not embarrassing herself she chases every steer way down the arena, taking several extra swings to be sure she catches the horns. Finally, Shawnee gets annoyed and stops her horse right in the middle of a run:

Shawnee fisted her hand around her loop and propped it on her hip. “You are aware that this is a timed event?”

“Yes.”

“So what the *bleep* are you doing clear down there when you had a perfectly good throw right here?”

Tori felt herself flush. “I just wanted to be sure—”

“How sure do you have to be? Geezus woman. I’ve been on shorter cattle drives.”

What’s the last book you read?

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, which was an amazing debut novel. I can’t wait to see what she does next. Also, The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, which I’m afraid might be the last of the Fox and O’Hare books for me. Even though the plots are inventive and fun, I’m all about the people and it’s really difficult to keep compelling character and relationship arcs going over a long series.

What are your favorite western romances?

I loved Laura Drake’s Sweet on a Cowboy series. Of all the western writers who haven’t actually lived the life, she comes the closest to really nailing modern day cowboys. Cynthia D’Alba’s Texas Montgomery Mavericks series is another good one, especially if you like the heat turned up. And my third…Louis L’Amour. I know, most people think he was all about gunfights and cattle rustlers, but there’s a romance at the core of nearly every book he wrote. If you don’t believe me, go rent The Sacketts, which has the added bonus of prime Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott in one place. Plus, L’Amour’s Last of the Breed has possibly the best ending ever written.

What are you working on next?

I just finished the copyedits for the third book in the series, Tougher in Texas, which stars Shawnee Pickett and Cole Jacobs and comes out August 1, 2017. And I am engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the fourth book in the Texas Rodeo series (due spring 2018), currently known as This Damn Book, which at some point is the working title for everything I write. This one stars Wyatt, the best friend of the hero of the first book, Reckless in Texas, and Melanie, the lifetime BFF of the heroine of the same book, which makes things complicated right off the bat. As one character points out, “You two hooking up would be like dating your best friend’s sister.”

Toss in the intense physical attraction they’ve made a pact to ignore because—inconvenient friendships aside—in every other way they just flat-out rub each other wrong; Melanie’s trouble-making brother; Wyatt’s rundown whorehouse turned bar; and give them a good stir when Wyatt, ever the savior, offers Melanie a job in Oregon after she loses her legendary temper and causes a scandal so big she has to get the heck out of Texas.

Then wait for the explosion.

TANGLED IN TEXAS by Kari Lynn Dell

Texas Rodeo #2

Tangled in Texas

It took 32 seconds to end his career.

But it only took 1 to change his life.

Thirty-two seconds. That’s how long it took for Delon Sanchez’s life to end. One minute he was the best bronc rider in the Panhandle and the next he was nothing. Knee shattered, future in question, all he can do is pull together the pieces…and wonder what cruel trick of fate has thrown him into the path of his ex, the oh-so-perfect Tori Patterson.

Tori’s come home after her husband’s death, intent on escaping the public eye. It’s just her luck that Delon limps into her physical therapy office, desperate for help. All hard-packed muscle and dark-eyed temptation, he’s never been anything but a bad idea. And yet, seeing him again, Tori can’t remember what made her choose foolish pride over love…or why, with this second, final chance to right old wrongs, the smartest choice would be to run from this gorgeous rodeo boy as fast as her boots can take her.

Romance Western | Romance [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: February 7, 2017, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492631972 / eISBN: 9781492631989]

About Kari Lynn Dell

Kari Lynn Dell

Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.

Texas Rodeo

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Men at Work – 10 Romances that will Satisfy your Need for a Hot Man with Callused Hands

I’ve never been much for a billionaire hero. Partly because I don’t brush shoulders with many men from the top 1% and I’ve never seen the point of fairy tales. Besides, a workshop is sexy in a way a boardroom will never be. And isn’t there something super sexy about capable hands and strong shoulders? Not to mention the skill it takes to make and fix things. I’m not interested in manicured hands laid atop the conference table, but rather scarred ones that put might have that table together.

I’ve compiled my top ten books featuring blue-collar heroes. Watch out because they’re hot enough to change your mind:

  1. BEAUTY AND THE BLACKSMITH by Tessa Dare is a fabulously steamy historical that breaks the class barrier. (Lord knows I’m a fool for a blacksmith.) Strength and heat and the way they bend metal.
  2. CATCH OF THE DAY by Kristen Higgins features a grumpy lobster fisherman, which is doubly delicious for those who enjoy a strong, moody hero.
  3. In CRAZY FOR YOU by Jennifer Crusie, the hero is a mechanic who’s good with his hands—and with animals. My favorite combination.
  4. Cara McKenna has perfected the gruff, working class hero. In the very dark and sexy WILLING VICTIM, she gives us a kinky construction worker who fights for fun. HARD TIME, also by McKenna, features a landscaper doing time for a violent crime. His love letters are a thing of beauty—they’re sweet and touching and totally drool-worthy.
  5. As Meg Maguire, McKenna gave us THE RELUCTANT NUDE, featuring a moody French sculptor who needs a physical connection with his model.
  6. Sarina Bowen makes farming sexy in BITTERSWEET, which brings together apples, cider, and cooking in a second chance romance. In STEADFAST, the next book in Bowen’s True North series, an ex-con mechanic gets his second chance at love. This book might just have the most intense hero/heroine conflict I have ever read. It’s heartbreaking and wonderful.
  7. Ruthie Knox’s novella, How to Misbehave forces a rough contractor into a forced proximity situation with the heroine, which rings pretty much every one of my romance bells.
  8. Over the Edge, a novella by Anne Calhoun, features a hot, damaged oil rig worker who is incapable of intimacy.

Why not mix things up with the last two?

  1. Victoria Dahl’s START ME UP gives us an architect hero—but the heroine is a sexually-frustrated mechanic who drives a tow truck.
  2. WE ARE ALL FOUND THINGS, a novella by M. O’Keefe in the Devil’s Doorbell anthology has a bad ass metalworking artist heroine and one of my favorite heroes of all time—a tough super-introverted virgin.

About Adriana Anders

Adriana Anders

Adriana Anders has acted and sung, slung cocktails and corrected copy. She’s worked for start-ups, multinationals and small nonprofits, but it wasn’t until she returned to her first love—writing romance—that she finally felt like she’d come home. Today, she resides with her tall French husband, two small children and fat French cat in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes the dark, gritty, emotional love stories of her heart.

Blank Canvas

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UNDER HER SKIN by Adriana Anders

Blank Canvas #1

Under Her Skin

Sometimes love can leave scars

Her Body is His Canvas

A darkly possessive relationship has left Uma alone and on the run. Beneath her drab clothing, she hides a terrible secret-proof of her abuse, tattooed onto her skin in a lurid reminder of everything she’s survived.

Caught between a brutal past and an uncertain future, Uma’s reluctant to bare herself to anyone, much less a rough ex-con whose rage drives him in ways she will never understand. But beneath his frightening exterior, Ivan is gentle. Warm. Compassionate. And just as determined to heal Uma’s broken heart as he is to destroy the monster who left his mark scrawled across the delicate tapestry of her skin.

Romance Contemporary [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: February 7, 2017, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492633846 / eISBN: 9781492633853]

Uma has been seriously damaged, Ivan just wants a chance

Excerpt from RECKLESS HEARTS

Lia bounced on her toes, pride in her eyes as she grabbed hold of Travis’s wrist and held on tight. “Colly, meet Travis. Travis, meet—”

“The overprotective brother.” Travis chuckled and let his hand dangle over Lia’s shoulder. His palm hovered over her breast, and even I wasn’t okay with that display.

A growl rumbled from Collin’s throat. “And who the hell are you?”

“Collin!” Lia shoved his chest, giggling. I cringed. Family drama was not my area of expertise. “Play nice. Travis is a good friend of mine.”

Ignoring Collin, Travis leaned over, whispering into Lia’s ear. Her face lit up, bright as the northern lights, and the growl rumbling from Collin grew louder.

Deciding there needed to be an intervention to prevent bloodshed, I reached for Collin’s hand and tucked him to my side. He jumped at the contact, eyes flashing as he studied my face. I held my breath, praying my touch distracted him enough not to murder Mr. Mohawk Man. If there was one thing I’d learned over the past month, it was that Collin had a temper.

“I think I’m going to stay behind. You two run along home. Make sure Max isn’t torturing my niece,” Lia said.

At the mention of Max, Collin whipped his head toward her. “He’s gonna come looking for you, ya know.”

A look of challenge spread across Lia’s face—with something like fear mixed in. But because Lia was the queen at hiding things—even more so than her brother—it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.

“Doubt he’ll find me.”

Before I could say my good-bye, Lia was off, hand in hand with her sexy rocker guy, leaving me outside in the dark with Collin.

“Jesus Christ,” he hissed, pulling me with him. “Can this night get any worse?”

Struggling to keep up with his pace, I yanked my hand back.

“What’re you doing?” He stopped, turning to face me.

“Walking at a normal pace, maybe?” I snapped.

“You’re too slow. Gotta get out of here before I do something I’ll regret.” He reached down to grab my hand again, but I pulled it back to my side.

“Maybe if you’d ask me politely to hurry up, then I would. But it’s hard to walk in heels on this bumpy road.” Which is why I shouldn’t have worn the stupid things in the first place.

“Then let me help you with that.”

Before I could say no, he wrapped one arm around my waist, and the other behind my knees, lifting me and cradling me to his chest.

“What the… Put me down!” I laughed, not nearly as annoyed as I wanted to be.

“Nah, I kinda like toting you around like this.” He winked at me, the warmth of his breath hitting my cheek. “Makes me feel like a badass.”

I snorted. “Or a weirdo is more like it.” A weirdo who really liked being this close to her boss.

“Besides, this is a bad part of town and—”

“There is no bad part of Carinthia.”

“Maybe there is, and you just don’t know it.” He squeezed my side and grinned. “Now stop talking and let me get you to the car. I’ve gotta get home, talk to Max… He’ll know more than me about who Lia’s got herself hooked up with.”

Frowning, I let my chin fall to my chest, worry for my friend at the forefront of my mind. I didn’t know Lia that well, but I cared about her. And if Collin was worried about her, I couldn’t help but be that way too.

“What was that back in the club with Gavin, by the way?” We got to his truck door, and he slowly set me down on my feet, keeping a hand along my waist the entire time.

“What are you talking about?” I swatted my wild hair from my face, trying not to arch into his hold.

“You like him.”

“Well, yeah, he’s a good friend, and I—”

“Not what I meant.” Two steps in and he had me backed me against the truck door, his movements slow, sure, and completely sensual. He trapped me there, his hands on either side of my body.

“W-what did you mean then?” I licked my lips, and his eyes darted to my mouth before he flicked his gaze back up again.

“You want to kiss him?”

I blinked. “Kiss him?”

He nodded.

Never in my life had I seen eyes as feral as Collin’s were. Darkened by the night, with hints of blue that sparkled from the streetlight.

“There’s nothing between us but friendship, so no, I don’t want to kiss him.”

“You sure?” He lifted his hand, trailing his finger down the side of my cheek.

My breath quickened at his touch. Goose bumps danced along my arms, my sudden shiver not caused by the wind blowing around us. The soft sound of music echoed from the bar we’d just been in, but right then and there, the loudest thing I could hear was my heart beating in my ears. “I’m sure.”

He hummed, amusement and heat flashing in his eyes. “You looking at me like that goes against the rules, sweetheart.”

“I didn’t know there were rules. You didn’t explain them to me, and I’ve been with you all night.” My words were said on a whispered gasp, and his nostrils flared in response. He moved in closer. Only his clothes and mine separated our flesh.

“Sometimes, Addie, the rules are unspoken.”

He lowered his chin to his chest. Just when one of his massive hands gripped the hem of my dress, pulling it up, and up, and up… His cell phone rang.

“Jesus…” He lowered his forehead to mine and I shut my eyes, unable to catch my breath.

Jesus was right.

Job, job, money, money.

I repeated the mantra in my head, needing to remember, once and for all, that the rules he’d spoken of—the unspoken ones? —were not the type to be broken.

RECKLESS HEARTS by Heather Van Fleet

Reckless Hearts #1

Reckless Hearts

Three alpha men and a baby.
What could possibly go wrong?

From boot camp to the Iraqi desert, best friends Collin, Max, and Gavin have been through hell and back. But these rugged Marines might need help facing their biggest challenge: raising Collin’s nine-month-old daughter, Chloe.

After the death of his girlfriend in an accident, Collin Montgomery has sworn off serious relationships. His buddies have his back—and convince him it’s okay to cut loose for once. Enter the hottest, smartest girl he’s ever met. But what he really needs is a nanny.

Addison Booker needs a job desperately—and fast. She shows up to interview for the nanny position only to find the sexy, cocky man she can’t get out of her head. Collin knows hiring her is a bad idea—they disagree about almost everything—but Addison is so good with little Chloe. And there’s no substitute for chemistry, right?

Romance Contemporary [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: February 7, 2017, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492637165 / eISBN: 9781492637172]

About Heather Van Fleet

Heather Van Fleet

Heather Van Fleet is stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s a wife to her high school sweetheart, a mom to three little girls, and in her spare time you can find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee.

Reckless Hearts

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Sarah Hawthorne | Which Alpha-Hero are you spending your Valentine’s Day with?

Is he shirtless? A manipulative jerk? Or even an alpha-hole? Alphas come in all shapes and sizes and I enjoy pretty much all of them. For me, a successful alpha needs to have two qualities: direction in life, and confidence.

I don’t find someone sexy if they’re sleeping on Mom’s couch with no plans to move out. Now, if he’s sleeping on Mom’s couch because he has no money because he’s starting his own business…that is definitely more interesting and could be sexy for sure. His direction could change (hopefully based on the heroine’s influence *wink*) but he needs to have an idea of where he is going in life.

In my debut novel, ENFORCER’S PRICE, Colt knows exactly what he wants in life – redemption. He’s screwed up, been to jail, and is trying to make everything right for his motorcycle club. What he doesn’t count on, is falling in love. Krista makes him redefine his life and his goals – just like love should, am I right?

Confidence is the other quality on my very short list of requirements for an alpha hero. Maybe it’s the confidence to step out of his comfort zone in order to connect with the heroine, or talk dirty during sexy times (yum!). Whatever the alpha-hero is doing, he does it with confidence. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when he confidence is waning and we all see it – those can be the best times. Those moments when the hero loses his confidence and shows his vulnerability makes him the most endearing, but he’s got to have that confidence to start out.

My favorite moment in ENFORCER’S PRICE when Colt loses his confidence is when he is asked, publicly, to declare his feelings for Krista and he just can’t do it. You want to smack him and love him all at the same time. When he uses that confidence for some serious sexy talk, all is forgiven. True confidence paired with some down and dirty words are my favorite combination.

The trick to writing a great alpha character is to give him a heroine who is strong enough to stand up to him and be an equal partner. If the heroine isn’t equal to her alpha, then he just becomes a jerk. To make a good story with an alpha-hero, your heroine is just as important.

When I started writing a novel about a hooker, I realized that she needs to be her own hero first, and then he can help her accomplish her dreams. The most important thing for a heroine who is in love with an alpha hero is that she needs to solve her own problems in life. She might need some rescuing from time to time, but she has her own confidence and dreams and needs to accomplish them with or without her hero.

I hope you spend your Valentine’s Day with an alpha-hero on a page or in real life. If you need a suggestion, I recommend Colt from ENFORCER’S PRICE. He’s deliciously flawed with the best sexy talk around. But no matter who you choose, remember that every alpha hero needs an alpha heroine to make those sparks happen!

If you want to read more about Colt, my alpha-biker-hero who falls in love with a hooker (and he doesn’t know she’s a hooker!) take a look at ENFORCER’S PRICE.

Also, I have a contest on Fresh Fiction for a Kindle Fire HD 8 – with no ads. Enter to win and I’ll send it to you at the end of the month! (or tell me below about your favorite alpha hero and we’ll throw an extra entry into the pot!

About Sarah Hawthorne

Sarah Hawthorne

Sarah Hawthorne lives in the Pacific Northwest where she drinks too much coffee, plans a lot of vacations and writes romance novels. Her native habitats include her garden and writing at the local library.

You can find me on my blog at: www.sarahhawthorne.com
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ENFORCER’S PRICE by Sarah Hawthorne

Enforcer's Price

A man looking for redemption

Colt spent eight months in prison for trusting the wrong woman, nearly bringing down his entire motorcycle club in the process. Now he needs to fix the MC’s cash flow problems or watch the only family he’s ever known fall apart.

Meeting Krista wasn’t part of his mission.

Falling for her could mean his destruction.

A single mom trying to get by

Krista was ready to leave hooking behind when her ex cleaned out her bank account. Stuck working to provide for her daughter, she protects herself with one rule: never get involved with someone at the club.

Not that she wants to. Sex has become a job, a means to an end.

One night together as an escape

Krista’s body wakes at Colt’s touch, allowing her to imagine a life after the MC. A future. A happily-ever-after, if only briefly. Krista brings out feelings in Colt he forgot could exist. But just as he begins to trust again, Krista’s truth is revealed—testing the very boundaries of Colt’s jealousy and faith.

Romance Suspense [Carina Press, On Sale: February 6, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781488024412 / eISBN: 9781488024412]

Liz Crowe | Time to get TAPPED

You can craft a novel about a second chance at love, a young/first love, a May-December love, an older man meets young virgin love, surprise/chance meeting love, and set that anywhere.

Outer space…a Texas ranch…the fire or police department… a movie set…a giant corporation…backstage at a rock concert…in the thick of a motorcycle gang…in the future…or well back in the past…as long as the love story is front and center, most readers are not that particular about where it’s happening.

However, as authors, we are always encouraged to make our worlds believable. And when we say “world” we mean that “setting,” be it a humble small Southern town, or in the emergency room of a bustling metropolitan hospital. I’m sure you’ve read a book or three where the setting seemed off somehow, as if the author really didn’t know enough about that world to set the story there but hopes that no one will notice. I’m one of those who notices, and tries to turn those mistakes into learning opportunities for my own books.

TAPPED (book one of the Brewing Passion Series from Totally Bound Publishing) is set in a world that I am intimately familiar with—but one that some readers go “uh, no thanks. I could care less about beer, sheesh, Liz give me a faceless, nameless New York corporation instead!”

If you would allow me a few moments worth of words to convince you otherwise, I’d say that the craft beer business—by all measures both booming and incredibly hip right now—is one of the coolest, most interesting, dare I say, sexy places around. It’s made up of many layers—starting with the actual beer brewing which can be on a small, 100-gallon or so scale, all the way up to 50,000 “barrels” which translates roughly to 1.2 million gallons of the precious liquid or in the case of a brewery like Sam Adams, more like six million barrels (multiply that times 31 to get the number of gallons. It’s a big number!) Some breweries even have bars attached, which as we all know are some of the best places to both people-watch and character-formulate.

In TAPPED, a young man born into wealth and a generations-deep food supply business in Grand Rapids, Michigan has a love for craft beer that won’t be denied. Against his domineering parents’ wishes, he enrolls in one of the few certified brewing institutes in Munich, Germany. While in this three-year program (fun fact: one of the only places where your degree earns you the right to be called a “brew master”) he meets a man who becomes his partner in female seduction for a while and who evolves into his life-long friend. He returns home to start his own brewery and his German friend (a better “artist” style of brewer) decides between multiple job offers from already successful, U.S. based craft breweries.

Thanks to his trust fund, and the fact that he has jumped into the business in its nascent days and not today when the market is grossly overcrowded, his brewery (Fitzgerald Brewing) becomes a huge success.

The other aspect of this business is the sale of beer to the consumer. There is a somewhat silly and entirely boring rule which states that all beer (and wine and liquor) sold in the United States has to flow from the source (the brewery/winery/distillery) to the final end user (you, the drinker) via a middle man, or wholesale distributor. There were a lot of at-the-time good reasons for this post-prohibition, but they’ve fallen by the wayside, even as distribution companies get bigger, richer, and more entrenched in the craft beer world.

Our brewery-owner hero finds the love of his life in the form of a sassy, successful, trying-hard-to-prove-something saleswomen at one of his distributors. Once they hit it off, then hit a snag thanks to my plot, our intrepid brewery owner introduces his oldest friend from Germany into the relationship and VIOLA! A super-sexy, craft-beer based ménage novel is born!

I’ve set a lot of my past books in this world and have always been told that the balance between the background and the story is near perfect. I worked hard with my editor to ensure that holds true for TAPPED, this first of at least three novels in this series.

For TAPPED (which is, by the way, of the “enemies to lovers” trope) I took my own experience as the founder/owner and sales and marketing director of a successful craft brewery and teased out the parts that make the story more compelling, and a little different from the usual. But I promise to bring a legit veracity to all aspects of this world so it should never feel “off” to you—if it does, be sure and let me know because I like to learn!

So, my challenge to you, future reader and Liz fan—let go of your preconceived notions about where romance “usually” occurs and dive headlong into this world with me. Meet Austin Fitzgerald (brewery owner hero), Evelyn Benedict (sassy saleswoman heroine), and Ross Hoffman (German brewer and secondary hero)—whether you love a great double IPA or a chocolate, oatmeal stout for your poison or are more of the herbal tea and lemon water type, you will not be able to stop reading this compelling, sexy story of love, love lost, and love regained.

About Liz Crowe

Liz Crowe

Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.

Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction hybrid, “Romance. Worth the Risk,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).

With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.

Stewart Realty | Love Brothers | Brewing Passion

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TAPPED by Liz Crowe

Brewing Passion #1

Tapped

One hot entrepreneur plus a driven saleswoman and sultry brewer: simmered in the craft beer world for a unique, sexy reading experience!

When wealthy brewery owner Austin Fitzgerald meets sexy saleswoman Evelyn Benedict, angry sparks fly. They seem destined to clash, until a hot hookup in a cold beer cooler changes everything.

For Austin, it’s a life-altering moment that sets him on a path away from his birthright, while Evelyn must face her fears about committing to a man considered the playboy of the micro-brewing world.

The power of their preconceived notions nearly tears them apart—until they meet up with brewmaster Ross, who opens their eyes to a deeper, more erotic connection.

But three strong personalities don’t always make for the best emotional mix and when a simple misunderstanding causes chaos, it’s up to Ross to somehow repair the tattered shreds of their relationship.

Romance Contemporary | Romance Erotica Sensual [Totally Bound Publishing, On Sale: February 14, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781786511324 / eISBN: 9781786511324]

Character Perspective: Meet Sandra Owen’s Newest Hero

The Gentry brothers, Alex, Court, and Nate, are undercover FBI agents. They own a biker bar, Aces & Eights, as a cover for covert operations. The first book in the Aces & Eights series, Jack of Hearts, is Alex and Madison’s story. Unfortunately for Alex, Madison is the cousin of the man he’s investigating, making her strictly off-limits. That’s easier said than done, though.

Hello, Alex. Thanks for joining us today.

Alex, looking wary: You’re not going to ask me a bunch of personal questions, are you? I’m an undercover FBI agent, and there’s stuff I can’t talk about.

I think we’re more interested in your love life than any investigations you have going on.

Alex: Figures.

First Question. How would you describe yourself?

Alex, shooting the interviewer an eye roll: You’re looking at me. You describe me.

If I give a physical description, will you add to it, you know, tell us what makes you who you are? (Alex nods.) Okay, you’re tall, have black eyes that seem fathomless, black hair that I’d kind of like to touch just to see if it’s as soft as it looks, and I’m guessing you have some American Indian blood in you. How’d I do?

Alex grins: Pretty good. One-fourth Seminole Indian to be exact. So, I guess I have to tell you what makes me me? It would take hours, days maybe, to tell you how I grew up in an abusive home, yet pretty much have my act together. I owe Nate, he’s my oldest brother, for that. For raising Court and me to be the men we are today, in spite of our father doing his best to beat us into the ground. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

Okay, we’ll go to the next question. How would you describe Madison?

Alex, his black eyes turning soft: How do you describe the moon and stars? The ocean or mountains? They’re awesome, beautiful, breathtaking, magical. Yet, those words don’t do them justice. I don’t think I have the ability to adequately describe Madison.

Okay, I get that. Just try for a physical description.

Alex: I guess I’d start with her hair. It’s red, like the flames of a fire. That was one of the first things I thought about her hair. It’s long and curls around her face in the sexiest way. Her eyes? Cat eyes. Green like moss on a rainy day. (He laughs.) I’m a man. We’re not good at this description stuff. We just know what we like, okay? And I definitely like her.

Do you consider yourself heroic?

Alex: No. I’m just a man doing his job the best he can. Because I carry a gun and a badge doesn’t make me a hero.

You don’t think cops are heroes?

Alex: Of course they are. They face danger every day, never knowing if they’ll make it home to their families. (He narrows his eyes.) Is this a trick question?

Well, it does seem like that could apply to you.

Alex: Are we done here?

Not yet. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

Alex: I like this question. I’d spend the day on my Harley with Madison riding behind me, her thighs pressing against mine and her arms wrapped tightly around my waist. We’d ride up the beach road, stopping at a secluded spot where we’d wade along the surf while I stole kisses.

I bet you’re very good at stealing kisses.

Alex (snorts): Truth!

What was Madison’s first impression of you?

Alex: I don’t think there’s a woman in the world as confused as Madison was about a man she was attracted to. She thought I was one of her drug dealing cousin’s friends, yet she couldn’t deny the instant chemistry between us.

So you lied to her?

Alex, dipping his chin to his chest: That was my biggest regret, but I couldn’t tell her I was an undercover FBI agent. If she slipped, letting that cat out of the bag, we both would have been in danger. I wasn’t so worried about myself, but if anything happened to her… Well, that was something I couldn’t live with. Yeah, I lied to her. It was the only way I knew to keep her safe.

What’s your idea of a good marriage?

Alex: I have no idea what constitutes a good marriage. I sure as hell didn’t have good role models in my parents. In my mind, though, I can visualize waking up to Madison’s beautiful smile every morning for the rest of my life. I can see us old and wrinkled, holding hands, her laughing at my stupid jokes. (He wickedly grins.) And she’ll still like kissing me and other stuff.

Do you think that will happen in your lifetime, you and Madison getting married?

Alex: If it does, I’ll be the luckiest son of a dog in the world.

What are you most afraid of?

Alex: Losing Madison.

That’s it?

Alex, scowling: That’s not enough?

Last question—

Alex: Bless you.

How do you know you’re in love with Madison?

Alex: That’s easy. Because I’d die for her.

I guess that says it all.

Alex: Damn straight.

JACK OF HEARTS by Sandra Owens

Jack of Hearts

Alex Gentry doesn’t scare easily. Working as an undercover FBI agent in the biker bar he and his brothers co-own, he hangs with deadly criminals in order to gather information. Danger is just part of the family business. But one thing has him terrified: his attraction to Madison Parker.

Madison is the cousin of Ramon Alonzo, son and second in command to a notorious drug lord Alex is trying to bust. Alex has befriended Ramon as part of his cover, and Madison has unknowingly become his informant. Falling for her could risk this case—and both their lives.

All Madison wants is to get her new bookstore business off the ground, and for her creepy cousin Ramon—to whom she’s unfortunately indebted—to leave her alone. If she could only stop fantasizing about his mysterious new friend, Alex…

As the Alonzo cartel investigation heats up, so does their relationship. But will the secrets they’re keeping tear them apart—or get them both killed?

Romance Suspense [Montlake Romance, On Sale: February 14, 2017, Paperback / Kindle, ISBN: 9781503941380 / ]

About Sandra Owens

Sandra Owens

A native of Florida, Sandra Owens managed a Harley-Davidson dealership before switching from a bike to an RV and roaming the open road (though she’s also chased thrills from sky-diving to upside-down stunt-plane flying). In addition to Crazy for Her—a 2013 Golden Heart Finalist for Romantic Suspense—her works include the Regency romance novels The Letter, winner of the Golden Quill for published authors award, and The Training of a Marquess, winner of the Golden Claddagh Award. A member of the Romance Writers of America and a potential cat owner, she lives with her husband in Asheville, North Carolina.

K2 Team

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