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COVER HIM WITH DARKNESS by Janine Ashbless

In a remote and mountainous part of Europe, a priest keeps a dark secret beneath his chapel—a prisoner. Even the holy man does not know how long he has been there—hundreds of years, perhaps, or even longer. The priest’s fear is that anyone in his parish would ever come in contact with his mysterious and unholy charge. But what happens is even worse than he could have ever imagined. His lovely young daughter Milja, whose innocence and devotion to God he prizes over all else, trails her father into the cavern and catches a glimpse of the prisoner, a beautiful being like the most handsome of men, and yet not. She looks into his eyes and sees pain and wisdom and eternity. Unable to keep away from this silent creature chained to an altar stone, Continue
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BECAUSE I CAN by Tamara Morgan

John “Monty” Montgomery is a workaholic. The oldest of the Montgomery children, he’s been working by his father’s side building the family hotel chain almost his entire life. His commitment to the business leaves no time for romance. But that’s about to change. Georgia Lennox has been fantasizing about Monty ever since she started her gig as handywoman at Montgomery Manor. She figures Monty is way out of her league, so she hasn’t dared to act on her feelings — until he offers to help fill a volunteer shortage on her latest project, building houses for families in need. Sparks fly as they spend time together, first on the job site, then off. But Georgia’s not your typical frilly and feminine society girl. Hoping to find a way to fit in with the Montgomerys, she… Continue
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A Toast to a New Series: The Napa Wine Heiresses

Join author Heather Heyford as she uncorks a sparkling new series following the St. Pierre sisters, heiresses to a Napa wine fortune who are toasting the good life and are thirsty for love: Chardonnay St. Pierre’s father is as infamous for his scandals as he is for his wine, and it’s up to Char to restore the family name. The Challenge, an elite charity competition held in Napa, seems like the perfect opportunity for the socialite to cement her image as a philanthropist. But all eyes—including Char’s—are on the Hollywood heartthrob who’s also entered the race…
Long before his face was splashed across the gossip magazines, Ryder McBride grew up in a working-class family in Napa. He knows all about the St. Pierre sisters and their notorious father, and when he learns he’ll be up Continue
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Playlist for INDECENT PROPOSAL by Molly O’Keefe

Molly O’Keefe, author of the Boys of Bishop series, came by to give us her playlist for her latest INDECENT PROPOSAL.  I really love putting together these playlists. With some songs, they come so easy: the Florence and The Machine song, for example, totally embodies the heroine Ryan. It was a given. Other times, the song just happens to be the song I was obsessed with while writing the book. The Death Cab for Cutie song fits that particular criteria. It was sung at a friend’s wedding and I spent months with it on repeat while writing INDECENT PROPOSAL. Some songs I have to seek to find the perfect fit. And some I’m just dying to use—”Love is a Battlefield?” YES!   Patty Griffin – “Not Alone This song is actually about a woman… Continue
Going Home

Small Town Touch

I grew up in a small town. My parents were hippies who decided to bring me and my siblings west and try farming. The neighbors found the fact that we’d come from New York City hilarious, especially when my mother milked the goats in a maxi dress and work boots. We were not the Waltons by any stretch. But the townsfolk took us in anyway, taught us when the almonds were ready for harvesting, the proper way to build a functional barn and how to make cheese with our leftover milk. Eventually, we got some horses and I spent a good portion of my childhood in a saddle, riding through the hills for hours on end. But when I graduated high school, I went off to a big-city college and wound up working in other… Continue
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RAISING THE RENT by JL Merrow

I have long suspected that gay romance writers can get away with a lot more than, let’s say, more traditional romance writers because there’s already that “two dudes” or “two ladies” hurdle to clear for the audience. For example, when was the last time you saw a prostitute heroine (or hero, for that matter) in a heterosexual romance novel? Yet rent boys are all over gay romance. Raising the Rent is kind of a take on Pretty Woman. (Or Pygmalion, if you like.) Our hooker with a heart of gold is Nathan, who sells his body at night to help pay for college. (College in the British sense, I should clarify; he’s trying to finish his A-levels because he plans to go to university to study library science.) He has a regular client,… Continue
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OVER THE LINE (Alpha Ops #1) by Emmy Curtis

We first met James and Beth in the novella that kicked this Alpha Ops series off, Dangerous Territory. They are in the field, in the throes of war and James saves Beth’s life after she’s shot in the leg during an ambush. James has admired and secretly lusted after Beth while under her command but when her life is put in danger, all of the feelings he’s kept a lid on bubble to the surface in an adrenaline based tsunami of protective need and want. Ever the professional, James saves the day and gets Beth on a transport that whisks her away for medical treatment. Time passes, tours end, wounds heal but the feelings James has for Beth never fade. When he sees her stateside months later, James knows Beth is the one for… Continue
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DARLING BEAST by Elizabeth Hoyt

Being a single mother is hard enough without having your livelihood burn to the ground around you, but that’s exactly what happened to Lily Stump. The garden theater she burnt bridges to join is in shambles and she can’t afford to live anywhere but inside the singed structure. Her son Indio loves the freedom of exploring the ravaged garden, and he loves stalking the hulking mute gardener he’s named Caliban even more. Lily can’t take her eyes off the brute even though his face isn’t one she’d call comely. Despite his breadth, he’s actually quite gentle and does what he can to protect her family. Or is it all an act to get under her skin? Apollo Greaves is hiding from the law and Bedlam, literally. Escaped from the asylum after a brutal beating that… Continue
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MR. MIRACLE by Debbie Macomber

Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track—and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store. After trying to make it on her own, Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn’t plan to do is run into Erich Simmons. Addie and her next-door neighbor, Erich, are like night and day. Growing up, he was popular and outgoing while she was rebellious and headstrong, and he never missed an opportunity to… Continue
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INDECENT PROPOSAL by Molly O’Keefe

Perfect for readers of Susan Mallery and Rachel Gibson, Molly O’Keefe’s gritty and sensual tale of passion and politics features the brother of the heroine from the author’s beloved novel, Never Been Kissed. He’s a driven man who refuses to be distracted—until he meets a beautiful bartender who just may change his life.  With his chiseled jaw and his thick blond hair, Harrison Montgomery was born to lead. Four generations of Montgomery men have served the state of Georgia and now he’s next in line. Harrison, though, is driven to right wrongs: namely to clean up the political mess left by his father’s greed and corruption. But Harrison must first win his congressional bid, and nothing can get in his way—not even an angel who served him whiskey and gave him a shoulder to Continue
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Book Groups 2.0 + Giveaway

It used to be that you’d find a local book club; a group of folks you could meet and chat with over coffee about the book you’re reading. Now, Facebook has become the new living room, and your book club might sprawl from New York to Texas to the Philippines. Bonding over books is so hot right now, and some of the best books are being discussed and dissected in group reads hosted by virtual book clubs and blogs everywhere. I spoke to a few of these “virtual” book clubs, and these are some of the titles bringing them together: “Reading is now what the cool kids do and is at an all-time high,” said Alexis Durbin of Three Girls And A Book Obsession Book Blog. “People love to read with their friends and to… Continue
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Lady Jane’s Salon Author Roundtable

When Romance at Random invited me to blog on Lady Jane’s Salon®, the New York City romance reading series I co-founded nearly six years ago, I leapt at the chance. An opportunity to spread the word about our passion project in a forum founded by and for romance lovers from all areas of the industry—talk about win-win! Each month, I’ll be interviewing our Salon guest authors, asking them my same five questions—plus a few totally random fun facts—and posting their responses exclusively here at Romance at Random. Recently I caught up with our October 6th readers: Alyssa Cole, Sara Jane Stone, and my Lady Jane’s Salon Co-founder, Maya Rodale. Here’s what they had to say.   1.     At what age did you read your first romance novel? Was stealth required e.g., flashlight Continue
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SIDESWIPED (Off the Map #2) by Lia Riley

Talia and Bran are back again in the second installment of Lia Riley’s Off the Map series. Talia has said goodbye to California and is headed to her new home in Australia to be with her boyfriend, Bran. Their reunion is everything they hoped it would be, but reality soon smacks them in the face when time flies and the expiration of Talia’s visa into the country is set to expire. When Bran comes up with an idea to keep her in the country, Talia begins to question just what it is she is looking for in her relationship with Bran, and whether or not she is willing to put her heart out on the line, or if she should sacrifice her happiness for the greater good.   When the opportunity of a lifetime arises,… Continue
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CELINE (When Hearts Dare #1) by Kathleen Bittner Roth

It’s been a while since I’ve read a non-Scottish themed historical romance. Hello genre I’ve been neglecting, let’s be friends again. CELINE begins in plantation era-New Orleans and moves along the wagon train of the untamed American West. Roth’s descriptions of the forbidden sultry feel of New Orleans and the gritty countryside of the American West will catapult you into the world Celine and Trevor inhabit. Celine has had a tough life full of hardship and misfortune. Widowed young, she’s left to regroup all alone. The kindness of an older plantation owner helps her heal and gives her a home full of dignity, support and love. When the playboy prodigal son returns on business, the sexual tension builds to fill the final portion of Celine’s broken spirit. Trevor has been battling his own demons over… Continue
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ONCE PERFECT by Cecy Robson

Evelyn has gone from having everything to having nothing in the wake of her father’s financial scandal. If that wasn’t bad enough, he commits suicide, leaving her on her own. Alone and nearly penniless, she works at a high-end nightclub as a waitress. It is there that she meets Mateo, a bouncer with a checkered past. Having spent time in jail for assault, he maintains an aura of mystery that both scares and excites Evelyn. Once learning the truth about Mateo’s history, versus the rumors circulating around the club, Evelyn decides to pursue a relationship with Mateo and soon finds that he is not at all how others perceive him. Evelyn is a college student, finishing up her nursing degree. She lives with her best friend Lourdes and works as much as she can, picking… Continue
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ALEX (Cold Fury Hockey #1) by Sawyer Bennett

“I should let her go… right now, right this very minute. But I’m a selfish bastard and I’m not going to do it. I’m going to keep her until I’m ready to destroy her, and then I’ll just add that to the pile of guilt I’m already suffering under.”  An emotional romance with a hint of darkness, ALEX is at once sexy, heartbreaking and hopeful. Bennett bravely tackles issues of abuse and addiction, and still delivers a sizzling sports romance. Cold as ice. That’s how I would describe hockey star Alex Crossman. He’s gorgeous, he’s a loner, and he’s broken. Growing up with an abusive, alcoholic father has left him unable to form meaningful relationships. That is, until he meets Sutton Price. Now, I’m all about my book boyfriends, and Alex is certainly worthy,… Continue
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WANTING FOREVER by Diana Gardin

Sam Waters is on the run from the law. He was indirectly involved in a domestic dispute between his girlfriend and her father and in order to deflect suspicion of her, he takes off with the intention of one day having her join him in his new life. Sam has gone from small town Duck Creek, VA to Nelson Island, an affluent island suburb of Charleston, South Carolina. He is working as a ranch hand for the Hopewell family until Mr. Hopewell, owner and CEO of Hopewell Enterprises offers to take Sam under his wing to learn the ropes of the company and become a part of the team. Sam finds that he is becoming more and more attached to his new life; with a new job, a new group of friends, and a change… Continue
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The More Things Change,The More Things Stay the Same

When I wrote my novel DOLLBABY, which starts in New Orleans the summer of 1964, I never imagined a novel set in my lifetime would be considered historical fiction. I suppose a lot has changed in the last fifty years—there were no computers, no Internet, no answering machines. Heck, there wasn’t even color television. Many houses had only one phone (a land line), one bathroom, and in many cases, no air conditioning. Perma-press, fast food, and iTunes were things of the future. Yet no matter how much things change, certain aspects of life will forever remain the same. Take human nature for example. From the dawn of time, man has had the same wants and desires. Granted they may be expressed a little differently these days, but we still ask the same questions of ourselves.… Continue
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ECHOES OF SCOTLAND STREET by Samantha Young

All hail the return of The Tribe! With ECHOES OF SCOTLAND STREET, the fifth installment in the On Dublin Street series by Samantha Young, the loving family of characters that she has created is back, and this time, it’s time for Cole Walker’s story to be told. At the age of fifteen, Cole had a brief encounter with a petite redhead outside her grandmother’s house in Edinburgh. They bonded over a favorite rock band, and a spark was ignited between them (this meet cute is actually referred to in one of the previous ODS books-Ms. Young, you are so sneaky!). But it won’t be until nine years later when Cole meets the mystery girl again. Shannon MacLeod is the new receptionist at INKarnate, the tattoo studio where Cole is the manager and tattoo artist in… Continue
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SWEETER THAN SIN (Secrets & Shadows #2) by Shiloh Walker

SWEETER THAN SIN is the story of Adam and Lana, friends from childhood that have held each other’s secrets sacred for years even though it has torn them apart. SWEETER THAN SIN is also the continuation of a much bigger story in the small town of Madison. It should be noted that the Secrets & Shadows series deals with a very dark and deeply disturbing subject matter. I say that as a heads up more than a warning. While the bigger picture is explained, the gruesome details are mostly left to our imagination. The town of Madison is in the throes of sorting out a child molestation group whose existence is finally coming to light. Cronus Club is a group of the town’s most respected and revered men who indoctrinate their sons into manhood with… Continue
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Marriage of Convenience: Making a Classic Trope Modern

Molly O’Keefe, 2014 RITA Award winner, talks about the Marriage of Convenience trope—and why it’s hard to write in contemporary times, but how authors are able to make a classic plot line fresh and modern.   I love a good secret baby book, and don’t get me started on revenge plots, but my favorite—my very favorite romance plot line—is Marriage of Convenience. For those of you who might not have dipped your toe into this kind of story: basically, what happens is that two people agree to get married, or better yet have to get married for some practical or manipulative or dangerous reason, but the hero and heroine don’t like each other. Or better yet hate each other. Or even better, one of them is madly in love with the other but can’t ever… Continue
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Music and Emotion: The Magic of Playlists

Today Rhonda Helms is here to talk about the relationship between music and emotional connection – between characters, and between writers and their work, and readers and the books they read. Her new novel, SCRATCH, features a DJ heroine. The SCRATCH playlist has multiple layers; it shows pieces of Casey’s DJing job (like the upbeat electronic or dubstep songs she might play at the club). It shows her own personal playlist (more emotional pieces that reflect her feelings during particular spots in the story, when she has her earbuds in between classes, etc). It also shows some of Daniel too, the songs that make him think of her. A true “mix tape” that reflects many different pieces of the whole book, and also a little bit about the author. My editor Peter and I scoured… Continue
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STIRRING UP TROUBLE by Kimberly Kincaid

Looking for inspiration… Sloane Russo’s turned a decade of crazy jobs and whimsical travel into a career writing steamy novels set in exotic places. Trouble is, Sloane’s flat broke now—and she can’t channel sun-drenched beaches in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The only fast cash in town comes with some seriously distracting temptation: Gavin Carmichael, hot, handsome and oh-so-hard-headed. Gavin isn’t the impulsive Don Juan of Sloane’s novels. He’s raising his thirteen-year-old half-sister, and he’s pretty sure he’s supposed to act like he’s never heard of fun. Sloane is way too sexy and irresponsible to be his idea of a good tutor for Bree, but the unpredictable anti-nanny may be irresistible as well. I have a couple of Kincaid’s books sitting unread on my Kindle and several of my favorite bloggers are fans of her… Continue
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BURYING WATER by K.A. Tucker

The top-selling, beloved indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths returns with a new romance about a young woman who loses her memory—and the man who knows that the only way to protect her is to stay away. Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge:… Continue
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Club Hopping: Jamie K. Schmidt’s Favorite Clubs

Summer is over and it’s back to the routine of school and autumn days.  I can look back fondly at all the beach parties and cook outs with friends and family.  Thankfully, there will always be night clubs that let us have some rowdy fun indoors once the weather turns chilly.  Here are some of my favorite bars and clubs:
  • The Adventurer’s Club – Downtown Disney, Orlando FL.
  • Unfortunately, this club closed in 2008 and lives on only in my memory.  But I remember with glee sitting on the bar stool that veeeeery slowly lowered and raised and drinking rum punch from a plastic monkey’s head.  Congaloosh! 2.  Minus 5° Ice Bar – Las Vegas, NV The temperature is set at a balmy negative five degrees Fahrenheit.  You have to wear gloves, a fur… Continue
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    From Contemporary to Erotic Romance: One Writer’s Journey

    Hi. I’m Carly Phillips and I’m best known for writing small town romance. Hot small town romance with emotional connections between the characters and a connected journey to the hero and heroine’s happily ever after. Now I also write erotic romance.  There. I said it. I’ve been skirting the actual line in interviews and descriptions of my work but with DARE TO SUBMIT, there’s no doubt. I went there. For many people (I think my own mother included), the question is why. Why change things? What people don’t realize is that this was not an overnight change. I started out in publishing in 1999 with Brazen, my first Harlequin Temptation BLAZE, their hottest line. I went on to write a total of 8 Harlequin Blaze books, including a launch for the new longer Blaze line.… Continue
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    THE UNEXPECTED HONEYMOON by Barbara Wallace

    Widower Carlos Chavez manages La Joya del Mayan, the most romantic resort in Mexico. On good days, the romance passes unnoticed; on dark days, it only reminds him of his loss.  But the honeymoon suite’s latest guest, Larissa Boyd, has rocked his steadfastness. Stunningly beautiful, she seems lost. And no wonder…she’s on a honeymoon for one! The chemistry is instant – and their similarities run deep. Could it be that the two loneliest hearts on the island have found love…in the most unexpected of places? Sometimes, I am in the mood for a short and sweet romance that I can read in one sitting.  THE UNEXPECTED HONEYMOON was just the thing to fit.  It is a very sweet story about two people who find themselves drawn into a love affair that neither one really wanted. … Continue
    Ruptured - Ebook

    In Love With Superheroes

    I admit it. I am a huge geek. One could argue that I am totally, head-over-heels, madly-in- love with superheroes. What woman could resist Captain America, as played by Chris Evans, in the latest movie installment, The Winter Soldier? He’s an indestructible, super-soldier with the manners of a true gentleman. I can feel a swoon coming on just thinking about him. Or better yet, Arrow, as played by Stephen Amell on the CW. A man who survived a horrible five years on a desolate island returns home to save his city. He’s emotionally scarred, a bit of a bad boy in his green leather, and makes you desire, above all else, to be the one woman who will heal him. In both the books, and the films, what women did not want… Continue
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    WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS by Maya Rodale

    In the third novel in Maya Rodale’s charming Wallflower series, London’s Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .  Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret. Everyone knows that she’s the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season—but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again. John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody’s hero. He’s a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future—that do not include a wife. When Continue
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    HER BEST SHOT by Shannyn Schroeder

    I’m a big fan of the novella done right because as a romance junkie it provides me a quick fix. But novellas can be tricky because the author has a short amount of time to capture the reader’s heart and mind, and do it successfully. Her Best Shot accomplished that in just one hundred and thirty pages! Layla is on her way to spring break to celebrate landing a job and finishing school.  When her car breaks down in a small Atlanta town her plans are derailed. Passing the time while she waits to get the verdict on her car, she goes into a bar for a drink.  Immediately Layla’s drawn to a pool player as he wins game after game, dazzling her with his talent as well as his looks. Phin is mesmerized by… Continue