Welcome! Kick off your shoes, get comfy and join in as we chat about books, romance and the ups and downs of everyday life.

Monday, July 21, 2014

On the road again...

The Dishes are taking a break!  
Andrea is going on vacation with her family and PJ will be attending the 
Romance Writers of America (RWA) national conference in San Antonio this week 
so we're closing the cyber doors for a few days.  
Not to worry though.  
We'll re-open on Monday, July 28th with RWA blogs, photos and giveaways!  

In the meantime, you can follow PJ's RWA adventures through her postings 
on Twitter and Facebook. 
Here are the links:

Facebook - The Romance Dish 

Twitter - @TheRomanceDish

See you all next week!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New Releases winner!

The winner of a random book from my prize stash is:

Pam Westfall

Congrats, Pam! Please send your full name and address to theromancedish AT gmail DOT com with "Andrea's winner" as the subject and I'll get your book in the mail. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review - - Return to Homecoming Ranch

Return to Homecoming Ranch
By Julia London
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: July 22, 2014

Effervescent Libby Tyler thought she had a perfect life. For four years, she had been in love with Ryan Spangler, living with him, sharing his life, and mothering his two young children. Libby thought she and Ryan were forever until one day Ryan told her they were over. She didn’t find out until months later that he had been cheating on her with his ex-wife. Rage over her blindness and Ryan’s betrayal caused her to lose control and attack Ryan’s prized pickup with a golf club. Broken truck windows and a furious Ryan were not the only result of her rampage. Libby ended up at Mountain View Behavioral Health Center for a week of “rest.” When she returns to Pine River, she is the subject of town gossip and the object of family concern. Ryan has a restraining order against her. She is not allowed within three hundred feet of Ryan and his family, which means that she can’t see the children, a restriction that she has great difficulty observing.

Sam Winters knows what it’s like to return to Pine River after your life has spun out of control. Back in the day when he and Libby Tyler worked together in the sheriff’s county headquarters, Sam was a man with a wife, a job, and a future, on track to becoming sheriff, but alcoholism ended that life. Sam came back to Pine River after three months at a treatment facility in Denver and another six months in a halfway house. His marriage was over, and Sam considered himself lucky to have a job as a rural deputy sheriff in Pine River. It’s the job he still has after two years of sobriety, and part of his job is to enforce the restraining order that Libby Tyler seems determined to disobey. For a man committed to fixing a lot of broken people and holding on to his sobriety one difficult day at a time, Sam is spending way too much time trying to see that Libby stays out of trouble.

With everything else in her life gone, Libby focuses on turning Homecoming Ranch into an event destination, but things are not going well on that front either. Just when Libby reaches a new low, she and Sam are snowed in at his cabin. The attraction that has simmered between them and flared briefly with some kisses they both agree should never have happened reaches fire point when they are trapped in Sam’s cabin. But Libby and Sam are both bound by their pasts: Libby can’t accept the new reality that has replaced her happy family fantasy, and Sam’s fear that emotional complications will cause him to lose his sobriety won’t allow him to take the risks that come with any relationship.  They can’t find happiness together until they find freedom separately.

The second book in London’s Pine River series has the emotional power and layered characters that her readers expect. Libby and Sam are flawed characters who are sympathetic even at their most wrong-headed moments because London allows her readers to see why the characters behave as they do. Choices and consequences are clearly linked.

As with the first book, the setting is superb. Geographically and sociologically, Pine River feels like a real place rather than a painted backdrop. The combination of warm-hearted support and busybody gossip will ring true for most readers familiar with actual small-town life. Even the minor characters have a dimensionality that renders them credible and individual. Strangely, my one quibble is that Madeline Pruett and Luke Kendrick, the heroine and hero from the first book who also have roles in this one, don’t seem to do anything but interact with their siblings and bill and coo. I kept wondering what they were doing with their lives.

Again, Leo Kendrick, Luke’s brother, a former football player with motor neuron disease, intermittently narrates chapters. Again, his humor and courage in the face of his continued physical disintegration mark him as a true hero even though he is not the romantic lead.

If you like small-town romances with atypical elements, if you like romances with protagonists who are deeply human with all the flaws and complications that implies, or if you like romances that make you laugh and squeeze your heart, I recommend Return to Homecoming Ranch.


V.K. Sykes Winners

The two randomly chosen winners from PJ's Q&A with V.K. Sykes are:

Laura L



Congratulations!  Please send your email address and choice of e-book format to

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

PJ's Sound Off Winners

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to my questions.  Your information is much appreciated!  Random.org has selected our winners so here goes.

U.S. Winners

Each will receive a package of books from our prize stash.




Please send your full name and mailing address to us at
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

International Winners

Bridget C

Kathleen O

Please send your full name and mailing address to us at
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com
Please tell us which one of the following books you would like:

Where the Horses Run by Kaki Warner
The Secrets of a Scoundrel by Gaelen Foley
Never Been Kissed by Molly O'Keefe
Christmas in July by Debbie Mason

Amy Andrews Winner

The winner of an e-copy of Risky Business by Amy Andrews is:

Texas Book Lover

Please send your email address to us at
 theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com 
and let us know what e-book format you would like.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Today's Special - - Kate Noble

I discovered historical romance author Kate Noble early in her romance writing career and have happily devoured each new book she writes.  Several of them occupy places on my keeper shelves and her newest, The Game and the Governess is destined to join them. A national bestselling author as well as a RITA finalist, Kate has also earned coveted starred reviews from Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly. You can find more information about Kate at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.

Welcome back, Kate!  It’s always a pleasure to host you here at the Romance Dish, especially since that usually means you have a new book out, something that makes Andrea and me very happy!  Speaking of your new book, will you please share with our readers what they can expect from The Game and the Governess?

-- Thank you so much for having me!  What readers can expect from The Game and the Governess is a little bit of silliness and a whole lot of luck.  (And some sexy times.)  The book starts off with the Earl of Ashby, known as “Lucky Ned” making a wager with his best friend and secretary John Turner, to see if Ned can get any young lady to fall in love with him without the benefit of his title.  Thus, on a two-week trip to the country, Ned and Turner switch places.  Nothing after that goes according to plan.  It’s my version of the Prince and the Pauper, and I enjoyed the hell out of writing it.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! 

Phoebe and Ned both have lessons to learn on their journeys of growth and discovery.  What do you want readers to understand about each of these characters?

-- That the surface they wear is not who they are.  Ned presents himself to the world as “Lucky Ned”, but he’s hiding a lot of pain from his past.  And Phoebe, while reduced to the hard life of a governess, is determined to be optimistic, no matter what life dishes out to her. They both can learn a lot from each other, in that sense. 

What was your greatest challenge in writing this book? 

-- Finding the right balance between silliness and seriousness.  Something I’m certain all us authors struggle with.

What was the most fun?

-- Finding those scenes with Ned and Phoebe together and being delighted by what they discover.

 Would you like to share an excerpt from The Game and the Governess?

Certainly!  Here’s a short excerpt about splitting a blackberry tart…

“There are no forks, so, by all means, you go first.”
She moved the plate closer to her, and picked up her half a tart, taking the smallest of bites.
It was delicious.
She made a small, throaty sound, a sigh of appreciation. Her eyes closed, and she let the blackberry juices fill the inside of her mouth, savoring.
When she opened her eyes, he was giving her the most curious look, his own mouth hanging open.
And he didn’t stop staring.
A self-conscious hand flew to her mouth. “I’m sorry, did I… am I a mess?” she asked.
“No!” he cried. “Not at all –” he remarked with a smile, one so wide it reminded Phoebe of a few short hours ago, when he had thought he had something stuck in his teeth. “I am pleased to see you enjoying the tart. It really must be exceptional.”

Are you able to give us a glimpse into the next book in the series?  When might we expect that book?

-- The next book is John Turner’s story.  And since it follows directly from the events of The Game and the Governess, I can’t tell you too much about it without too many spoilers.  But I will say this – where Ned has always been lucky, Turner has always been unlucky – but he’s determined to change that, especially since a certain countess has now entered his life. 

I'm looking forward to seeing how he accomplishes that! 

You have a lot of writing irons in the fire, Kate.  Romance readers may not be aware that as Kate Rorick you have written for television, the Emmy Award winning transmedia series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and the recently published book, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet.  How did you come to be a part of the Lizzie Bennet writing team and did you have any idea that it would become such a mega-hit?   

-- Well, my friend Margaret Dunlap is sitting right next to me as I answer this question.  Margaret was co-executive producer on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and having worked together before on a different TV show, she knows about my secret life as a romance novelist (and devoted Austenite).  When they decided to expand the writing staff of the web series, she suggested me and a meeting or two later, I was hired.

I understand that you’re also working on an upcoming television series.  Are you able to share any information about that project?

-- I’m a writer for the upcoming television show The Librarians, on TNT (a 10-episode drama series scheduled to premier in December).  It’s based on the incredibly popular series of “The Librarian” movies, starring Noah Wyle.  It’s a mix of Indiana Jones, Doctor Who and the fun episodes of the X-Files, and it’s a total blast. 

Okay, so you have a book that released in June, a book coming out in July, a new television series you’re working on and, if that weren’t enough, you’re expecting a baby any day.  When do you sleep?  LOL! No, really, how do you keep all those balls in the air?  Any helpful tips for the rest of us multi-taskers?

-- Survive and advance.  All you can do is what you need to get done that day, and move on to the next one. 

Let’s turn the focus away from writing for a bit.  Summer has arrived which means I give myself permission to turn off the calorie counter every now and then to indulge in some special warm weather treats.  My favorites are root beer floats and frozen chocolate dipped bananas.  What summer treats do you give yourself permission to eat or drink?

-- Well, if I wasn’t expecting a baby any day, I would be enjoying a good beer at the ballpark right now.  But I love summer because it’s when all the delicious fruits come into the grocery store, which means the variety of pies I can consume goes up dramatically.  Anything with cherries is my kryptonite. 

As I type this question, I’m looking out my window at beautiful potted geraniums, a deep pink crepe myrtle tree, green grass and a bright white fence.  What’s the view from your window?

-- My window looks out onto the balcony, where my husband is in full summer gardening mode.  There are 3 different tomato plants, strawberries, multiple herbs, pepper plants and for some reason, marigolds.  All grown from seed.  Mind you, I do none of the work, but I partake in the deliciousness.

Your fairy godmother waves her magic wand and gives you one week in any place of your choice and an unlimited supply of books to read.  Where do you go and what books (or authors) do you reach for first?

-- I would kill for a week at a lakeside cottage.  Nothing to do but enjoy the view and go swimming.  As for books, I would grab my massive TBR pile, and let it surprise me J 

Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to visit with us today, Kate.  It’s always a pleasure to host you here at TRD.  We wish you all the best with your many projects. Would you like to ask our readers a question today?

-- Of course!  Since The Game and the Governess is all about trading places – who would you trade places with (temporarily!) and why?

Leave your answer in the comments and someone will win a signed copy of The Game and The Governess! (US only, please)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review - - Jane Austen's First Love

Jane Austen's First Love
By Syrie James
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: August 5, 2014

Syrie James’ has written some lovely ‘what if’ books about Jane Austen previous to JANE AUSTEN’S FIRST LOVE, and each have been romantic, genuine, and charming. I found myself believing in the possibility that the story could be true in every book; and this one was no less believable and romantic.

In this story, Jane is only fifteen years old, so the youngest she’s been; however, she feels very authentically Jane, while still very authentically fifteen. While visiting her brother in Kent, Jane meets the ever-so-dashing Edward Taylor. Despite that a match between them is very unlikely (he’s wealthy and she’s penniless), the two enjoy spending time with each other and his interest in her seems genuine. She can’t help falling head over heels in love with him.

While Jane is trying to discern if his interest in her will lead to something more, or can lead to something more, she distracts herself with a little harmless matchmaking, which opens the door to the Reader seeing the author Jane Austen using her own experiences and observations to create a much-beloved character, Emma, with much the same disastrous results. And I do mean disastrous—because by the time all is revealed, one wonders how Humpty Dumpty is going to be put back together again and all is restored to right. But much like her heroines, Jane makes the necessary sacrifices and like her stories, the right happy endings happen for everyone. Well, except Jane, since we all know how the love story of Jane Austen ends.

Still, even though Jane is only able to have true love for herself through her stories, it is fun to read these stories that offer possibilities of where some of the ideas, scenes, and characters came from. In this story alone, I had glimpses of Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion, and all felt natural and delightful. An extremely satisfying read. Syrie never disappoints!


Hellie Sinclair (a.k.a. Fran) was one of the founding members of the Romance Writer's Revenge, where she frequently got to satisfy her love of good books and her need to expound by writing reviews. Hellie loves to craft on projects she rarely finishes, watch British dramas as a sort of Olympic marathon event, and do most anything that fits the description "indolent and pleasurable." Fortunately reading falls into that category.  Connect with Hellie on Facebook

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review - - To Marry a Scottish Laird

By Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: June 24, 2014


Campbell Sinclair learns that no good deed goes unpunished when he steps in to help a lad who is being attacked by bandits and gets stabbed for his troubles. Fortunately for him, the lad he saved was actually a healer named Joan, and she patches him up, gets them away from there, and nurses him back to health. Cam soon learns that the lad is actually a lass and is actually traveling north to one of his allies, Lord MacKay. Cam offers to take her there in safety.

What happens next is what would happen if I found myself with a strapping young Highlander: they’re on each other like white on rice. So much so it takes them like two weeks to get to MacKay’s land, which, well, is a good deal longer than it should have taken Cam to return. What is soon learned by Cam and Joan is that Joan is not the nameless commoner she thought she was. Joan is actually the niece of MacKay; and once this bit is learned, Cam realizes he must marry her…despite the fact he spent the last two weeks telling her how he was never marrying again. And Joan certainly wasn’t expecting anything, being the little nobody she thought she was two weeks ago. Of course, nor did she want to be Cam’s mistress and then have him break her heart. They were going to part ways when they got to the MacKay’s; and now that is impossible. It’s hardly a marriage of convenience when you start falling in love with each other, right?

Meanwhile, Cam’s mother has still been operating under the assumption that her son won’t marry again—and keeps the castle full of marriageable girls in order to tempt him to change his mind. This seems benign—comical even once you meet the women—except that it appears the women are not that thrilled that some little nobody from nowhere has captured Cam…and Joan is nearly killed three different times before the real culprit is revealed. Figuring out who did it definitely kept the pages turning rapidly for me and I was a little shocked.

Action-packed, sexy, and full of surprises—it was a very charming read.


Hellie Sinclair (a.k.a. Fran) was one of the founding members of the Romance Writer's Revenge, where she frequently got to satisfy her love of good books and her need to expound by writing reviews. Hellie loves to craft on projects she rarely finishes, watch British dramas as a sort of Olympic marathon event, and do most anything that fits the description "indolent and pleasurable." Fortunately reading falls into that category.  Connect with Hellie on Facebook

Monday, July 14, 2014

Today's Special - - V.K. Sykes

It's my pleasure to welcome two of my favorite people back to The Romance Dish today. Historical romance author Vanessa Kelly and her husband Randy comprise the contemporary and romantic suspense writing team of V.K. Sykes.  Vanessa and Randy join us today to celebrate the release of the fifth book in their USA Today Bestselling The Philadelphia Patriots contemporary romance series. You can find more information about V.K. Sykes books at their website and connect with them online at Facebook and Twitter.  You can also find information about Vanessa's historical romances at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.    

Hi Vanessa and Randy!  Welcome back!  It's always a pleasure to host you here at TRD.

Summer has arrived which means baseball season is in full swing, the perfect time to launch the newest title in your Philadelphia Patriots contemporary romance series.  Please tell our readers what they can expect from Payoff Pitch

Hi PJ and Andrea – thanks so much for hosting us at one of our favorite spots on the web!  Payoff Pitch is book 5 in our USA Today Bestselling series of sports romances about a pro baseball team, the Philadelphia Patriots.  What readers can expect from this book is a very alpha, sexy hero with a heart of gold, and a strong-minded but slightly insecure heroine who is working hard to support herself and save up for law school.  Noah and Teddy come from very different worlds, and it’s a challenge for both of them to reconcile how they live and what they believe in.  So, it’s probably a little more angsty than some of the earlier books—it has a bit of a New Adult vibe—but it’s also a very sexy story, too.  These two are really hot for each other!

Would you like to share an excerpt from Payoff Pitch?

Sure!  In this scene, the hero (Noah Cade) is going to pick up two dogs he’s just adopted.  Teddy Quinn, a dog walker and our heroine, is along for the ride to help him.

Noah could hardly believe how fantastic—mouth-watering, really—Teddy Quinn looked with the wind streaming though her coppery hair as they rocketed down I-95 with the Cadillac Escalade’s windows cranked down. He’d borrowed the loaded SUV from his buddy, teammate Nick Rome, since there was no way he could fit two huge dog crates into his BMW.
Though the wind noise was practically deafening, Teddy had asked him to shut off the AC and open the windows so she could breathe the clean air of an unusually fresh June evening. Ever since he picked her up at her place in Manayunk, he’d been fighting to keep his attention on the road. Her white shorts showed off her slim, athletic legs, and the tight red tank top left little to the imagination when it came to the upper half of her body. Earlier, she’d covered her shoulders with a light sweater, but now it lay folded in her lap, exposing a lot of smooth, pale skin and a cute dusting of freckles for his gaze to lock onto.
Noah had hoped in vain that Cristina might suck it up and accompany him to the airport to meet the dogs’ flight because he figured he could use some help to get them loaded up and safely home. But the housekeeper had balked. For the first time since she’d come to work for him, they’d had a heated argument and, for once, Noah had matched Cristina’s voluble temper. Still, she’d been adamant, and when Noah persisted she’d practically shouted that he should take along “that girl” if he couldn’t handle a couple of dogs by himself. Noah had winced at what might be a slur on his manhood, but what really got to him was Cristina’s tone of voice when she said “that girl”. It gave Noah serious worries about future relationships in his house.
Cristina hadn’t even met Teddy yet, but apparently she’d already conceived an irrational dislike of her. He’d humor her for now and see how the situation evolved. But as much as he appreciated Cristina’s work, he wouldn’t tolerate discord in his home from an employee that he paid damn well and treated almost like family. He needed Teddy, as was obvious from tonight’s little outing.
“This should be fun.” Teddy smiled as she turned her head toward him. Her hair whipped across her face in a stream of red shot through with gold, and she took a moment to push it back. “Thanks for including me in the welcoming party.”
Noah shook his head as he took the exit ramp for the airport parking garage. “No, I’m the one who should be thanking you. I wasn’t thrilled about having to wrangle two dogs and their crates by myself, and I wouldn’t even broach the subject with Cristina.” He’d decided to use that small lie since Teddy didn’t need to know about the confrontation he’d had with his housekeeper. “I’m just glad you were free tonight. Free in both senses, apparently, though I would have been more than happy to pay you for your time, like I said.”
Teddy dismissed that with a wave and a dazzling smile. “Think of tonight as an introductory special for a new client. Besides, it makes a lot of sense that the dogs see us together as soon as they get out of their crates. They’re going to have to get used to seeing a lot of both of us, right?”
“Oh, yeah,” he agreed, “an awful lot.”
And maybe in some interesting positions, too, with a little luck.
Okay, he’d like to think that particular thought had come out of nowhere, but he’d be lying. He wondered if she’d had any of the same lustful thoughts he’d been having since the day they chased down Buster. He thought maybe she had, since she always seemed a little flustered around him.
As Noah pulled into Garage C, Teddy’s pink mouth turned down at the corners. “I can’t stop thinking about your aunt. It must have been so wrenching for her to say goodbye to Toby and Sadie today. I can’t even imagine having to go through that.”
He grimaced. “Aunt Roz called me early this morning to tell me her friend and the dogs had hit the road for Dallas to catch the direct flight. She was pretty broken up.” Noah had been forced to brush away a tear himself after the short conversation. “I promised her again that I’d do everything I could to keep her darlings well and happy. And I made a point of letting her know that I’d hired a truly loving and responsible person to take care of them when I’m gone.” He gave her the warmest smile he could. “She was some happy about that, believe me.”
Teddy momentarily dropped her gaze as a blush of color spread over her face. “I appreciate that, Noah, but you don’t really know me. I’m not sure why you’d have that kind of confidence in me yet, especially after the Buster affair.”
He squeezed the Escalade into an empty slot on the first level and turned to her. She watched him with an earnest, almost wary expression in her eyes. “I know you enough, Teddy. For one thing, I saw firsthand how much you cared for Buster. And I saw how the dog reacted to you. That told me all I need to know when it comes to trusting you with my aunt’s dogs. It was a crazy day, and you handled everything really well. That was enough of a job interview for me.”
Her smile lit up her cute face as she glanced down at her elbow, no longer swathed in bandages but still obviously far from healed. “Then I guess this was a small price to pay for a great opportunity, huh?”
“I’m glad you think so,” Noah said as he got out of the car.
Opportunity? Teddy wasn’t his usual type—plus she was his new employee—but for some reason it felt like most of the opportunities in the current situation were his. And that was way more appealing than it should be.


You threw a mighty big – and very volatile - obstacle in the path of our hero and heroine’s happy ending in this book.  What is it about Noah and Teddy that convinced you they could overcome their differences and achieve that happy ever after?  

They’re both kind and responsible people who share a tendency to put the needs of others first.  That helped them get past their ideological differences and discover an emotional resolution to their problems.

Payoff Pitch is the fifth book in your Philadelphia Patriots series.  What is it about the athlete hero that appeals to you as a writer?  

Randy is a baseball fanatic and is incredibly knowledgeable about the sport, so it’s a world he’s really comfortable writing about. For me, I like the idea of these super-fit, sometimes slightly spoiled alpha males who live in this rarified environment. It’s always fun to see what happens when you give them smart, take-no-crap heroines who push them out of their comfort zones.

Noah wasn’t the only male who stole my heart in this book.  There were a few four-legged characters, and one in particular, that I’d be happy to have follow me home.  Is Toby based on a real-life dog or is he a product of your imagination?  Are there any four-legged creatures that share your life? 

Toby is based on a real life dog—my last standard poodle, also named Toby.  Honestly, he’s a ringer for my old guy, who died some years back.  Randy also used to be a dog breeder so there’s very little he doesn’t know about dogs. Sadly, Toby was my last dog since we now live in a condo.  But there’s a family dog—a lovely Norwegian Elkhound—and we do get to babysit him on occasion.

Will there be more Philadelphia Patriots books?

Yes, we have the first draft of the next book—the hero is a catcher.

Let’s talk about the two of you for a bit.

Summer is a great time for picnics and get-togethers.  If the Patriots players and their families invited you to a potluck picnic what dish would you bring?  Which of you would do the cooking or, like your writing, would it be a team effort?  

Randy, who is super-competent at almost everything, is kind of a disaster in the kitchen.  He does have one dish he’s good at—chili—but that’s probably too hot for the summer.  I think I’d make my mother’s macaroni salad recipe.  I LOVED it growing up—it’s so simple and still so good.

I love loading up my Kindle and relaxing on the beach while I catch up with oodles of great summer books.  Where’s your favorite summer place to read and relax?  What books are on your summer reading list?

We have a nice balcony on our condo, which is lovely in the late afternoon when the sun is off it.  I’m on a bit of a historical binge right now—I’m currently reading Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase, and next up is the last MacKenzie book by Jennifer Ashley and one of the Amelia Peabody mysteries.

Earlier this year, you released Lethal Confessions, a gritty romantic suspense novel, also with a baseball connection.  Do you have more romantic suspense novels planned?  Will you be taking readers back to south Florida anytime soon?  

We actually have a completed draft of the sequel to Lethal Confessions.  We’re hoping to get that out sometime within the next six months, or so.  Lots of books to work on!!

Thank you so much for visiting with us today.  Would you like to ask our readers a question?

I’d like to know if they watch summer sports, and who’s their favorite athlete!  Two people who comment will win digital copies of our Philadelphia Patriots anthology, which contains the first 3 books in the series.

He’s a billionaire ballplayer…

Noah Cade, pitcher for the Philadelphia Patriots, has big problems. He’s recovering from a serious injury and he’s just been saddled with his sick aunt’s crazy dogs. Then there’s his dad, a wealthy oilman who wants Noah to retire from baseball and step into his shoes as CEO of the family corporation. All Noah wants is to pitch again and help his team win the World Series, but his family keeps dragging him in the opposite direction.

She’s a small town girl…

Teddy Quinn moved to the city to start a dog walking business for rich people, hoping the income will pay for law school and help her fight the oil corporations drilling the county where she grew up. When Noah Cade hires her as a full-time dog sitter for his high-energy pets, it seems like the answer to Teddy’s financial woes. But the boundaries get blurred when she starts falling for her boss, who uses all his formidable charm to lure her into his bed.

When Teddy discovers Noah’s father owns Baron Energy, she’s devastated. How can she work for—or love—a man whose family stands for everything she hates?

Payoff Pitch is currently available in e-book format for only 99 cents!  Buy links follow:

Smashwords:  http://bit.ly/1z2pcY3

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sound Off

Wow!  Can you believe 2014 is half over already?  Crazy!  I hope the first half of your year has been filled with good times, good friends and good books!  And, I hope our crew here at The Romance Dish can help fill the remainder of your year with great books, interesting authors, fantastic giveaways and lots of fun. I have a few questions for you that will help us accomplish that...and a special prize at the end so keep reading! :)

WHO are you?

No, you don't have to tell us your real name but give us some info about the type of person you are.  Are you under 30?  From 30 - 50?  Over 50?  Are you working?  Retired?  Married? Single?  Do you live in the United States or another country? (If you're not comfortable posting this publicly but want to share to help us, just send us an email at theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com.)

WHAT do you enjoy reading?

Contemporary?  Historical?  Paranormal?  Young Adult?  Romantic Suspense?  Something else?  Do you read other genres besides romance?  Which ones?  What qualities draw you to a certain sub-genre, book or author?  What book(s) are you reading now? What upcoming books are you looking forward to reading?

What would you like to see (or see more of or, in some cases, less of) in romance publishing?  Share your thoughts on everything from the covers to the sub-genres to monthly publication dates to format to paperback print size to story content, etc.  We want to hear it all.

WHERE do you learn about new books or previously published books you haven't yet read?

Do you read reviews? Follow authors on social media?  Subscribe to review sites or magazines (such as RT)?  Participate on street teams?

Where do you buy books?  Do you use online sites?  Do you prefer brick and mortar stores? Do you have a preferred online site?

Where do you visit us at TRD?  Do you only visit the blog?  Do you follow us on facebook or twitter?  Do you subscribe via email or Google? Do you do the same for other romance blogs?

WHEN do you usually visit The Romance Dish?

How often do you typically stop by? Do you visit more than once a day?  Do you comment or are you primarily a lurker?  If you mostly lurk, what would entice you to comment?

WHY do you visit with us at TRD?

What are we doing that makes you want to spend time with us? What could we do to improve the experience?

Why do you read romance?  Tell us what qualities bring you back to these books time and again.

What goes into your decision to buy a book?  Why do you pick up book A and not book B?  Is it the cover?  The back blurb?  Author name recognition?  A review you've read?  A friend's recommendation? The price?

HOW do you read?

Are your books paperback?  Hardback?  Do you use an e-reader?  If so, which one?  Do you read on your phone?  Tablet?  Some other device?  What are your pros and cons for reading print vs digital?

Thank you for your help!  

Three randomly chosen people who leave answers to our questions will receive a package of books from our prize stash.  (U.S. addresses only)

Two international readers will receive their choice of The Secrets of a Scoundrel by Gaelen Foley, Never Been Kissed by Molly O'Keefe, Christmas in July by Debbie Mason or Where the Horses Run by Kaki Warner.

Please put a US or I (international) in your comment! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Make Your Reservations

It's time again to mark your calendars and Make Your Reservations for August! There are a ton of great beach reads coming out next month. Here are just a few of the ones we are anticipating. Are any of these books on your list? If so, which ones? If not, which books are on your list?

How the Scoundrel Seduces
By Sabrina Jeffries

The third deliciously sexy novel in the New York Times bestselling Duke’s Men historical romance series, featuring an investigator who sets out to find gypsies—and unexpectedly finds love.

Investigator Tristan Bonnaud has one aim in life—to make sure that his half-brother George can’t ever ruin his life again. So when the pesky Lady Zoe Keane, the daughter of the Earl of Olivier, shows up demanding that the Duke’s Men find a mysterious gypsy woman, he seizes the opportunity to also hunt for a gypsy friend who knows secrets about George. Tristan doesn’t expect to uncover Lady Zoe’s family secrets, as well…or end up falling for the woman who will risk all to discover the truth.



Taken by Tuesday
By Catherine Bybee

He’ll do anything to keep her safe…for the rest of their lives.

Romance and excitement tie the knot in Taken by Tuesday, the fifth book in Catherine Bybee’s bestselling Weekday Brides series.

Judy Gardner: College graduate Judy stands ready to conquer the world…if she can get a job. Hoping to transition from aspiring architect to famous architect as quickly as possible, the dark-haired beauty moves to LA, staying in the home of her celebrity brother, Michael Wolfe. But it’s hard for Judy to focus on work when the sexy bodyguard she fell for last summer keeps showing up in her life and leaving her breathless.

Rick Evans: With his hard body, green eyes, and easy smile, Rick could have any woman he wants. But the Marine-turned- bodyguard only has eyes for Judy and her spitfire attitude. When a faceless villain attacks Judy, Rick will stop at nothing to protect the woman who opened his heart from the monster hunting her.



A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin
By Sophie Jordan

The last woman on earth he would ever touch . . .

Declan, the Duke of Banbury, has no interest in ushering Rosalie Hughes, his stepsister, into society.Dumped on him with nowhere else to go, he's determined to rid himself of the headstrong debutante by bestowing on her an obscenely large dowry . . . making her the most sought-after heiress of the Season.

. . . is about to become the only one he wants

But Rosalie isn't about to go along with Declan's plans. Surrounded by fortune hunters, how is she supposed to find a man who truly wants her? Taking control of her fate, Rosalie dons a disguise and sneaks into Sodom, a private club host to all manner of illicit activity—and frequented by her infuriatingly handsome stepbrother.

In a shadowed alcove, Declan can't resist the masked temptress who sets his blood afire . . . any more than Rosalie can deny her longing for a man who will send her into ruin.



Why Lords Lose Their Hearts
By Manda Collins

Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormonde, keeps a dangerous secret—the truth of how her brutish husband died. But a mysterious avenger seems to know it, too, and when anonymous threats turn into public attacks, there's only one friend she can turn to for help—her husband's former secretary, Lord Archer Lisle. The man who witnessed her every heartache. The kind of man whose love she can only dream of...

The youngest of the Duke of Pemberton's five sons, Lord Archer Lisle is used to waiting his turn. For years, he could only stand by, seething, as Perdita suffered at the hands of her husband, but now she's under threat from another source—one who will stop at nothing to make her pay for the late duke's death. But the good-natured Archer can be dangerous when crossed—and he'll do anything to keep the woman he's adored for so long safe in his arms.

(St. Martin’s)


Between the Sheets
By Molly O’Keefe

After years of running, Wyatt Svenson has now parked himself in Bishop, Arkansas, trying to do the right thing and parent a son he didn’t even know he had until recently. Over six feet tall and packed with muscles and power, Ty likes to get his hands dirty, fixing his motorcycle at night and keeping his mind away from the mistakes he’s made. Then his pretty neighbor shows up on his driveway, doesn’t bother to introduce herself, and complains about the noise. First impression? She should loosen up. Funny that she turns out to be his son’s elementary school art teacher—and the only one willing to help his troubled boy. Ty needs her. In more ways than one.

Though Shelby Monroe is safe in her structured life, she is drawn to Ty’s bad-boy edge and rugged sexuality. What if she just lets it all go: her worries about her mother, her fear of heartbreak, and her tight self control? What if she grabs Ty and takes a ride on the wild side? “What if” becomes reality—intense, exhilarating . . . and addictive. But Ty wants more than a secret affair. He wants it all with Shelby. But will she take a chance and open her heart? Ty is determined to convince Shelby to take the biggest risk of her life: on him.



I Adored a Lord
By Katharine Ashe

Three very different sisters beguile society with their beauty and charm, but only one of them must fulfill a prophecy: marry a prince. Who is the mystery Prince Charming, and which sister will be his bride?

All that clever, passionate Ravenna Caulfield wants is to stay far away from high society's mean girls.

All that handsome, heroic Lord Vitor Courtenay wants is to dash from dangerous adventure to adventure.

Now, snowbound in a castle with a bevy of the ton's scheming maidens all competing for a prince's hand in marriage, Ravenna's worst nightmare has come true.

Now, playing babysitter to his spoiled prince of a half-brother and potential brides, Vitor is champing at the bit to be gone.

When a stolen kiss in a stable leads to a corpse in a suit of armor, a canine kidnapping, and any number of scandalous liaisons, Ravenna and Vitor find themselves wrapped in a mystery they're perfectly paired to solve. But as for the mysteries of love and sex, Vitor's not about to let Ravenna escape until he's gotten what he desires . . .



Harvest at Mustang Ridge
By Jesse Hayworth

When former lovers reunite at Mustang Ridge, old feelings run wild.

With guest season about to start at the ranch, Krista Skye needs to track down a new head wrangler fast. Unfortunately, the best man for the job is the last person Krista wants to see—Wyatt Webb, the college sweetheart who left her behind. Wyatt has major reservations about working with Krista as well, but he has his own reasons for wanting to stay in town.

Although Krista and Wyatt are all business at first, sparks fly as they work side by side, preparing for an upcoming country fair. Even though rekindling their relationship brings up painful memories, they’re not the same people they used to be—and neither can deny that there’s still something special between them. They have one last opportunity to save a good thing before it’s too late, but one of them will have to find the courage to take a chance on love...

(Signet Eclipse)


The Highlander’s Bride Trouble
By Mary Wine

Her clan is in chaos...

Raised by her father and brother, Nareen Grant is strong, confident, well-educated-and skilled with a bow and dagger. It's a tumultuous time for Scotland, and events conspire against her. Betrayed by her family, she makes her way alone, until she lands in the lap of Saer MacLeod. But she wants no help from a savage man of the Isles.

And rivalries are deadlier than ever

Raised on the rugged Scottish Isles, Saer MacLeod is considered fierce even by Highlander standards. He's enchanted by the independent and headstrong Nareen. But when an old feud endangers her life, Saer's fascination with her escalates into a ferocious desire to protect her... and claim her for himself.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review - - The Secrets of a Scoundrel

By Gaelen Foley
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: June 24, 2014

THE SECRETS OF A SCOUNDREL is the last book in the Inferno Club series. The one I’ve been waiting for because, well, Nick, Lord Forrester, is a scoundrel, which is saying something since none of the agents in the Order are particular angels. It’s fortunate he’s matched with Virginia “Gin” Stokes, Lady Burke, who happens to be the daughter of the man who trained the men in the Order, including Nick.

Nick is serving time in prison for being, well, a bit of a traitor—though since he did take a bullet for the Regent, it was decided he couldn’t be hanged outright. Instead, he could cool his heels in prison for two years. He has served six long months of the sentence when he is offered parole if he helps Lady Burke rescue a girl who has been captured and is going to be sold at the Bacchus Bazaar.

He agrees, not only because he is eager to leave the jail, but also that he didn’t know his handler, Virgil Banks, even had a daughter. And being that Virgil was like a father to him, Nick feels beholden to make sure nothing happens to Virginia, not even him. Of course, the latter proves to be difficult since she has loved him since she was 17 and saw him at her father’s house—and well, Nick has some difficulty keeping his hands to himself where Virginia is concerned.

What follows is about 300 pages of an entertaining action flick, like Pirates of the Caribbean without the pirates…or ships, really, but, you know, exciting, dangerous, humorous, and breathless wondering “How are they going to get out of this?” I could not stop reading. Then on page 364, Nick said something that guaranteed this book will remain on my keeper shelf. I’d quote it, but I want you to fall in love with him yourself.

Gaelen Foley does an excellent job of not letting the menfolk do all the work and take all the credit. Virginia lives up to her father’s training as she rescues herself time and again and quick-thinks her way into saving them both. Oh, and the walking the plank scene. (Oh, I guess it did have a ship! Hey!) Anyway, I highly recommend this story: very charming, exciting, humorous, and romantic.


Hellie Sinclair (a.k.a. Fran) was one of the founding members of the Romance Writer's Revenge, where she frequently got to satisfy her love of good books and her need to expound by writing reviews. Hellie loves to craft on projects she rarely finishes, watch British dramas as a sort of Olympic marathon event, and do most anything that fits the description "indolent and pleasurable." Fortunately reading falls into that category.  Connect with Hellie on Facebook

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Today's Special - - Amy Andrews' Risky Business Blog Tour

I'm tickled pink to welcome best-selling Australian author Amy Andrews to the Romance Dish today! Quite the prolific writer, Amy has forty contemporary romances to her credit, selling more than 1.6 million books and having those books translated into more than twelve different languages. According to her website, "Amy loves good books, fab food, great wine and frequent travel - preferably all four together.  She lives on acreage on the outskirts of Brisbane with a gorgeous mountain view but secretly wishes it was the hillsides of Tuscany."  (I can totally relate to that wish!)

Amy's book, Holding Out for a Hero is a finalist for Romantic Book of the Year in the Romance Writers of Australia's prestigious RuBY awards.  The winners will be announced in August.  

Welcome to our humble abode, Amy!  It’s a delight to have you visit with us today.  

Thank you so much. It is a delight to be here!

Please tell our readers a bit about your new book, Risky Business.

Risky Business is an urban-family romcom with an extreme sports star hero and a buttoned-up accountant heroine whose eggs have started talking to her. It’s set in a second-hand romance bookshop and is a mash up of When Harry Met Sally and Look Who’s Talking. There’s a bunch of hilarious blind dates, a load of silent lusting and gratuitous lamington scoffing!

Some of those dates had me laughing out loud and I adored Sam's talking eggs!

Samantha and Nick could be poster models for opposites attracting.  What is it about these two characters that convinced you they belong together?

You know, I’m not sure. I’ve always adored the whole opposites attract thing and when my muse threw them at me I knew there was something special about these two!

What most surprised you in the writing of this book?

How it mushroomed. It started out as just a story about Nick and Sam and then a whole bunch of other characters and plot threads joined the fray and I had this huge story I felt very inadequate (at the time) to write.

Believe me, no inadequacy whatsoever came through in the reading.  This book's a winner! 

What would readers be most surprised to learn about you?

Oh dear. I’m so very middle-class, suburban, boring I doubt anything in my life would be a surprise. Let me see…..I can still do the splits at 44 – how’s that? It does help to be well lubricated with grape juice first. And, let’s just say, that going down is easy. It’s the getting up again that’s getting harder and harder!

Doing the splits at 44 is a skill many of us would envy.  ;-)

Nick is an extreme sports star who looks like Hugh Jackman.  (You do realize that women the world over will be buying this book from that description alone, don’t you?)  Oh I *do* hope so  J Are you an athlete?  A sports enthusiast?  What – or who - inspired the creation of Nick?

Excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor from laughing my ass off. Whilst I am an accomplished drunken splits performer (I really think you need to add this to your bio) there is nothing else remotely athletic about me. If anyone’s ever read my Ruby nominated book Holding Out For A Hero they’ll see a lot of Ella in me – I too detest sport as much as she does! But I don’t know what it says about me that the 2 big books I’ve written have had sport star heroes. I think it's because my heroines are a lot like me so it gives the couples a point of friction.

There wasn’t any one person who inspired the character of Nick. I think I just wanted him to be the exact opposite of Sam – daring and carefree and not around very much.  And of course I have a serious case of the hots for Hugh Jackman so why not him??

Why not, indeed? *grin*

As I’m a dessert first kind of person, I could totally relate to Sam’s love of lamingtons.  (I had to Google that one.  I’m now searching out recipes to create some in my own kitchen!) Just for fun, if you were hosting a dessert buffet for six people (living or dead) who would you invite and what desserts would be served?

Oh now, that part of Sam is definitely me J and lamingtons are to die for! A dessert buffet for six sounds like my ideal life!

Let me see. Well Hugh obviously. And because I totally dig his wife and how in lurve they are I’d have to invite Deborah Lee too. I’d invite my Mum because it’s been almost 3 years since she’s been gone and I still miss her like crazy and she was THE best cook! From history I’d like to invite Florence Nightingale and Emmeline Pankhurst because I’d think they’d be fascinating. And, just because we need to even up the numbers a little and I can’t let Hugh hog all the limelight I’ll throw in Joe Manganiello. I promise to hand feed him lamingtons for you because that’s just the kind of hostess I am. Oh the sacrifice!
Man….I may never want to leave that table!

What a fascinating mix of people!  I'd love a seat at that table!

What – or who – inspired you to begin writing romance?

I wrote my first book at 21 because I was temporarily out of work and looking for something to do that allowed me to stay in my bed with my electric blanket one cold English winter. But the person who truly inspired me to write a different kind of book was Jennifer Crusie. Getting Rid Of Bradley opened my eyes to a different kind of romance and I’ve never looked back! 

What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on several projects. One is a novel for Escape that involves a country-music-chick cum cadaver make-up artist who sees dead people and a down-and-out PI who helps her with a case. It's Stefanie Plum meets Six Feet Under and not like ANYTHING I've done before. Another is a colab for Tule Publishing with Heidi Rice, Kelly Hunter and Lucy King. It's a fresh modern twist on some old fairy tales and is set in New York and we're all very excited!

Ooh, I'll definitely be checking those out!

Would you like to share an excerpt from Risky Business?

Thank you – I’d be delighted! This excerpt comes from a part in the book where Sam actually lands a date she thinks might end in her eggs being very happy indeed. But in the mean time she needs to be responsible so that means condom shopping……

Samantha stopped at the chemist on her way home. Nick was right about women taking responsibility for their own protection. Okay. She probably wouldn't need them tonight but...what if?
She located the condom stand a minute later and stood in front of it staring, completely nonplussed. There were seriously this many choices? And she'd thought tampon selections were getting ridiculous. No wonder men didn't want to be bothered if they faced this choice every time.
Coloured, ribbed, lubricated, flavoured, vibrating. Vibrating? Extra-large.
What if she chose the wrong one?
Was she supposed to buy extra-large? Would Paul be insulted if she didn't? Would his dick strangulate and suffer permanent damage because it was too restrictive? Suddenly she wished she'd brought Nick with her. On this she really needed a man's perspective.
She looked at her watch and realised she'd been dithering for fifteen minutes. Reading the back of the boxes didn't really help her either. They were fabulously descriptive of the amazing powers of the particular brand and one even had a nutritional panel.
Oh god. She had to count calories whilst having sex? Wasn't it supposed to burn them?
Another five minutes passed and after two offers of help from staff she thought, screw it, and got a basket and put one of each packet inside and took them to the counter.
The assistant looked at her dubiously. ‘Are you sure?’ she asked politely and Samantha just smiled and asked her to hurry.
Another assistant whose eyes had visibly widened at Samantha's purchase dragged her gaze away and asked the person behind her if she could help him.
‘I'll have what she's having,’ an amused male voice said. Samantha turned to find a middle-aged cowboy waiting patiently while they tallied her purchase. He was wearing an Akubra and a friendly smile. ‘If you need a hand using any of those little lady, just holler.’
He reminded Samantha of an ageing Stretch Valentine and she smiled despite herself. Don’t laugh, she wanted to say, if you were twenty years younger I may just take you up on that.
Instead she paid the money, stashed the condoms in her large DKNY holdall, thankful that she'd brought a roomy bag to work this morning, and hurried out of the store.

Thank you for visiting with us today, Amy.  Would you like to ask our readers a question?

Thank you so much for having me. I’d like to ask the readers what’s their favourite baked goody?

Okay, readers!  What's your favorite baked goody?  If you have recipes, please feel free to share! One person leaving a comment on today's post will win an e-copy of Risky Business. (open world-wide)

Find more information about Amy and her books at her website and connect with her online at her Facebook page.
Here's the rest of Amy's tour schedule:

Monday, July 7th: A Buckeye Girl Reads - guest post
Tuesday, July 8th: The Romance Dish - Q&A
Wednesday, July 9th: Cruising Susan Reviews
Thursday, July 10th: Romancing Rakes for the Love of Romance - spotlight
Saturday, July 12th: Romancing the Book
Monday, July 14th: Harlie’s Books
Tuesday, July 15th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, July 16th: Babbling About Books, and More! - guest post
Thursday, July 17th: The Reading Date - guest post
Tuesday, July 22nd: Girl meets Books - guest post
Wednesday, July 23rd: Reading in Black & White - review and guest post
Thursday, July 24th: Schmexy Girl Book Blog