Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Review - - The Sergeant's Unexpected Family

The Sergeant's Unexpected Family
By Carrie Nichols
Small-town Sweethearts - Book 2
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
Release Date: January 15, 2019 (Mass Market Paperback
Release Date: February 1, 2019 (Digital format)
Reviewed by PJ

After losing friends while serving his country, Sergeant Brody Wilson shut himself off from the world. Enter beautiful Mary Carter, his brother’s former girlfriend, and her adorable infant son. Despite his best efforts, Brody can’t close off his heart to beautiful Mary and little Elliott. But will pushing them away cost the wounded warrior the family he’s always dreamed of?

My thoughts:

One of the (many) things I enjoy about Carrie Nichols' books is the fact that she doesn't shy away from difficult issues. The Sergeant's Unexpected Family is no exception. With a deft hand, Nichols brings together a former soldier who has practically become a hermit in his quest to escape the pain of war with a strong, resilient woman in search of a community where she can build a home for herself and her baby. He would prefer never to leave his farm and the animals he's taken in there while she jumps on every opportunity to make friends and become part of the town where she's landed. Then there's the fact that Brody's presence is the very reason she's come to little Loon Lake, Vermont.               

Mary's son was fathered by Brody's half-brother, a man who wants nothing to do with either Mary or their child, a man from whom Brody is estranged. That's fine by Mary. She had already clued in to the man's true personality and stopped dating him before she discovered she was pregnant and, financially, she can support her child without his help. But Mary has no family and if something were to happen to her, her son would have no family. She wants Brody to know his nephew. She's there to form connections with Brody for her son. She never expected them for herself. 

Carrie Nichols really tugged my heartstrings with this story. I so enjoyed watching Brody slowly begin to open up to both Mary and Elliott as well as others in town. The scenes between Brody and Elliott made me want to wrap my arms around both of them. So sweet. And Mary and Brody are perfect for one another though it takes time, and overcoming a few obstacles, for that to become apparent. I like that Nichols gave them that time, and the space, to grow their relationship and overcome the emotional hurdles standing in the way of a happy ever after. I like her ability to pull me into a story and into the hearts and minds of her characters. I feel as if we've become friends and I'm traveling this journey with them. It's a feeling that brings me back to her books, again and again.

If you enjoy emotionally satisfying small-town romance that leaves you smiling with joy and eagerly looking forward to more, give Carrie Nichols a try. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tour Review - - There's Something About a Cowboy

There's Something About a Cowboy
By Rich Amooi
Release Date: October 25, 2018
Reviewed by PJ

Rule #1: No Dating Cowboys.
A fake fiancĂ© doesn’t count, right? Oh boy . . .

Amy Weaver is tired of her dad meddling in her love life. Fed up, she hires an actor to play the part of her fake cowboy fiancĂ© when she goes home for her grandpa’s ninetieth birthday. Sure, Luke Jenkins has got looks, charm, and muscular legs, but this is business, pure and simple. Things are fine and dandy until she finds out he’s a real cowboy, not an actor. Now, she’s stuck between a rock and his chiseled jawline, falling faster than a sack of horseshoes. How the heck is Amy supposed to ignore the sparks between them and stick to her rule of not dating cowboys? All bets are off.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed the chemistry between Amy and Luke. There's so much fun to be had when characters, in this case Amy, make (wrong) snap judgments. Of course, Luke is much more than the pretty face, and gorgeous body, Amy assumes him to be and just the person to shake up her comfort zone. Prickly, confident Amy is exactly the kind of woman Luke is drawn to and when a bet between them the night they meet ends with a soul-stirring kiss, he takes the job she offers to explore what could be. She, of course, thinks it's because he needs money. 

What Amy has assured Luke will be an easy-money birthday celebration at her family ranch quickly turns into much more. Amy's ex shows up, her jerk of a father tests Luke at every opportunity in an attempt to get rid of him, and her grandparents (champion scene stealers - I adored them) are primed to nudge Amy and Luke down the aisle at the first opportunity. Then there's the chemistry between Luke and Amy, the snappy banter, events that have Amy reassessing her life goals, again, those adorable, scene-stealing grandparents, other quirky relatives who add to the general chaos as well as generating plenty of humor, and the fact that, sometimes, first impressions are far from reality. All in all, a fun ride that had me smiling from beginning to end. 

If you're looking for a feel-good contemporary romance that will make you chuckle, make you sigh, tug at your heartstrings, and leave you happy you took the time to read it, then Rich Amooi's latest book, There's Something About a Cowboy should be on your reading list.

Do you enjoy romantic comedies?

Have you read any of Rich Amooi's books?

How do you feel about younger men? What if he's a sexy as all get out cowboy who just happens to also be an award-winning barbecue pit master who makes a mean apple pie? You'll have to read the book to find out what Amy does but you can sign me up right now! ;-) 

Purchase Links –

Fun, Quirky Romantic Comedies from a Guy's Perspective. Rich Amooi is a former radio personality who now writes romantic comedies full-time. He is happily married to a kiss monster imported from Spain. Rich believes in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

Social Media Links –

Monday, January 14, 2019

Spotlight on UNTOUCHABLE with Exclusive Excerpt

By Jayne Ann Krentz
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 8, 2019

Quinton Zane is back.

Jack Lancaster, consultant to the FBI, has always been drawn to the coldest of cold cases, the kind that law enforcement either considers unsolvable or else has chalked up to accidents or suicides. As a survivor of a fire, he finds himself uniquely compelled by arson cases. His almost preternatural ability to get inside the killer's head has garnered him a reputation in some circles--and complicated his personal life. The more cases Jack solves, the closer he slips into the darkness. His only solace is Winter Meadows, a meditation therapist. After particularly grisly cases, Winter can lead Jack back to peace. 

But as long as Quinton Zane is alive, Jack will not be at peace for long. Having solidified his position as the power behind the throne of his biological family's hedge fund, Zane sets out to get rid of Anson Salinas's foster sons, starting with Jack.

*Exclusive Excerpt*

Winter awakened from the chase dream gasping for breath. Her pulse skittered wildly.
The unnerving nightmare took various forms but each version had two things in common—she was always on the run and she always knew that, sooner or later, the monster would find her. On some nights she ran through a dense forest, seeking a cave in which she could hide. In other variations she struggled to swim to safety through a gelatinous sea.
Tonight, however, the dream took a new and disturbingly different dreamscape. She had found herself racing through a fiery maze, desperately searching for the way out but knowing all the while that she was only going deeper.
Crap. She had adopted a dreamscape that had been constructed by a client. It was the first time that had ever happened. She had her own nightmares. She did not need to borrow Jack’s old, well-used dreamworld.
Meditation guide, center yourself.
Lightning crackled outside, strobe-lighting the night for a few seconds. The wind sang a song that sounded as if it came from another dimension.
The storm had made landfall. That was probably what had awakened her.
But for some reason that didn’t feel like the right explanation.
She pushed the quilt aside and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. The room was cold. The comforting glow of the porch lights and the plug-in night-light had disappeared. That meant that the power had been knocked out.
There was a battery-operated camp lantern in the kitchen cupboard. Arizona had given her instructions on how to use it. There was also a powerful flashlight in the kitchen drawer.
But first she had to navigate the darkness of the bedroom and hallway. She fumbled for her cell phone. It was right where she had left it—on the end table. She gripped it and tapped the flashlight app. The narrow beam of bright light illuminated the path into the front part of the cottage.
She slid her bare feet into her slippers and stood. She was surprised and more than a little annoyed to discover that she was still struggling to calm her breathing and her pulse. It’s just a storm. You enjoy storms. The energy is exciting.
She focused on her breathing and told herself that there was no good reason to still be on the edge of panic.
If your body is fighting your mind there will be a reason. There is always a reason. It may not be a good reason but it will, nevertheless, be a reason. Listen to your senses.
She stopped focusing on her breathing technique and went through her senses one by one. She could not have seen anything because she had been asleep. Perhaps she had heard some small, unusual sound. She listened intently but the storm was still in full roar. The rain slammed against the windows. The wind shrieked and wailed. Underlying it all was the endless boom and crash of the surf at the foot of the bluffs.
She went down the hall.
She was crossing the living room area, heading for the small kitchen, when she heard the muffled groan and snap of metal and wood being wrenched apart. Shock flashed through her.
She turned toward the front door just as it slammed open.
Cold, wet wind howled into the cottage. A man loomed in the doorway, silhouetted against the glare of a lightning strike. The beam of a flashlight speared the darkness, sweeping the small space. She could just make out a long object in his other hand.
There was a loud thud as the crowbar he had used to gain entrance hit the floor.
Instinctively she looked to the side to avoid being temporarily blinded. She fumbled with the cell phone. It slipped from her fingers and clattered on the wooden floorboards. The narrow ray of light angled uselessly across them.
There was no time to retreat to the bedroom and lock the door. Her only chance was to make a run for the kitchen door. But even as that realization hit she knew the odds of escaping into the night were nonexistent. The dining counter that marked the border between the living room and the kitchen was in the way. It might as well have been a brick wall.
Lightning flashed again in the night. She watched in shock as the intruder yanked a long knife out of a sheath.
“I told you not to run from me, Winter,” Kendall Moseley said. “Now I’m going to have to punish you.”

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Jayne Ann Krentz, 2019. 


Have any of you read UNTOUCHABLE yet? Thoughts? 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Excerpt from The Highland Renegade by Amy Jarecki

The Highland Renegade
by Amy Jarecki
Lords of the Highlands - Book 5
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: January 8, 2019

She is the daughter of his sworn enemy.
Famed for his fierceness, Laird Robert Grant is above all a loyal Highland clan chief. But when redcoats capture his rival's daughter, he sets aside their feud and races to her rescue. Aye, Janet Cameron is beautiful, cunning, and so very tempting, but a Cameron lass is the last woman he should ever desire.

He is her one hope of happiness.
Janet refuses to meekly surrender, not even when surrounded by foes. She takes every chance to escape, first from the English soldiers and then from the wickedly handsome Robert. Yet with each day they spend together, his unexpected gallantry chips away at her reserve little by little. As danger and treachery loom, can she trust him enough to choose love over vengeance?

by Amy Jarecki

Janet awakes in the mountains
Janet’s head throbbed while she dreamed of running. Warmth surrounded her, though her mind hovered beneath the threshold of consciousness. Something told her the morn had come and she must wake. But every time she began to stir, the pounding in her skull grew worse.
When something shifted against her back, her eyes blinked open for a moment, then lazily closed. She winced at the pain not only from the megrim, but because her entire body ached.
Dear Lord, please let me sleep for a few moments longer.
Something was clamped around her waist, and a deep voice sighed. A very deep, masculine voice that in no way should be behind her when she was sleeping. Janet’s eyes popped wide while her body stiffened. Not daring to take a breath, she slowly turned and looked back.
Holy snapdragons!
With a jolt she drew her fists beneath her chin. Of all the people in Christendom who could be slumbering alongside her, it had to be Laird Grant. Deliciously handsome, rugged-looking Mr. Grant. The wound on his cheek oddly served to add to his allure while he breathed through slightly pursed lips. Soft, gentle, masculine lips. Were they as kissable as they looked? Her tongue tapped the top of her mouth as she considered how wickedly delicious he might taste.
No, no, no, no! This is an abominable state of affairs.
She inched up the stiff blanket and peered out. Good heavens, they weren’t alone. Men covered with snow lay around the embers of a fire. Oddly, she was warm and dry, yet snow continued to fall. Shifting her gaze upward, she understood why. She’d been sleeping beneath a rock shelter—with Mr. Grant.
Lord have mercy, what if my father learns of this?
Suddenly panic seized her chest, making it impossible to breathe. If she didn’t escape this very instant she might die of utter mortification. How had she ended up in such a precarious situation? Yes, Mr. Grant had ridden to her rescue. He’d given her his cloak when she was on the verge of freezing to death. Thank the stars for his kindness, but she hadn’t given him leave to do…to do…good glory!
This state of affairs might ruin her for the rest of her days. She could ill afford to stay wrapped in a cocoon with Mr. Grant a moment longer.
Janet kicked her feet, but they wouldn’t budge. She pushed against the blanket, but it was as stiff as oak bark. Had they bound her in this contraption? Had they taken advantage and accosted her while she was out of sorts?
Her megrim throbbed tenfold while she thrashed and kicked. “Let me out!” Gaining a bit of room, she jabbed her elbows into the big Highlander behind her. In her panic, Janet’s chest tightened, making it harder and harder to breathe.
“God’s blood, woman!” Mr. Grant bellowed. In a heartbeat the blanket released her.
She sucked in a gulp of precious air.
Sitting up, he threw the blanket aside and sprang to his feet. “Have you caught fire?” he demanded, grabbing her shoulders and looking her from head to toe, his eyes wild and filled with alarm.
Janet gave him a hearty push as she scooted away. “No, you brute!” Looking down, she froze. Her life was all but over. How could he have removed her clothing and left her wearing nothing but a shift and stays? She was practically bare, and now she had nearly a dozen men staring at her. In her undergarments of all things. Swiftly hopping to her feet, she grabbed the leather blanket they’d been wrapped in and clutched it beneath her chin, trying to shake away the miserable pounding in her skull. “I demand you tell me why I am in such a compromising state of undress.”
His Lairdship spread his palms to his sides as if pleading innocence. “I beg your—”
She shook her finger. “You—you—you have taken advantage of a helpless maid. My brother was right. You are a scoundrel of the worst sort.”
“I did no such thing! If I had not taken action and removed your damp garments, you would have succumbed to the cold.”
She spotted her cloak and gown draped across a big rock under the shelf. Careful to ensure the blanket covered as much as possible, she scooted toward them.
“Beg your pardon, Miss Janet,” said Jimmy, shaking the snow off as he stepped toward them. “But Robert speaks true. You were half-dead when we arrived last eve. And he bellowed at us all, telling us to mind our own affairs and leave ye be.”
The lad’s words only served to make her shudder. She snatched her cloak and threw it over her shoulders. Had they all stood by and gaped while the laird removed her outer garments? She reached for her gown, suddenly realizing her stays had been loosened as well.
How dare he?
“I bid you all turn your heads whilst I dress,” she said in a commanding voice—at least she sounded as commanding as possible given her disgraceful state of dress.
Once all backs were turned, Janet pulled on her gown and tied the laces as best she could. Thank goodness her clothing was dry—even her shift and stays had dried, though they were as frigid as ice. When certain her cloak covered every possible loose string, she glanced to the laird’s satchel. “May I have my shoes, please?”
“If Your Ladyship will allow me to turn.”
“I am composed.”
“Very well.” He retrieved the shoes and gave them to her. “We have a bit of dried meat. We shall eat and be off.”
She slipped her feet inside the shoes, the fit a bit snug with Mr. Grant’s stockings. Janet looked down. No, I’m not giving them back until I’m safely home. “Are we heading for Achnacarry? My father will have a word with the colonel at Fort William. I’m certain he can set things to rights with the lieutenant.”
A rider approached from the glen, the snow making him look fuzzy at first. “Redcoats spotted!”


Have you read any of Amy Jarecki's books? Do you have a favorite?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Winners - - Most Anticipated Jan - Feb

The randomly chosen winners of a package of books from my

Most Anticipated Books of Jan - Feb post are:


Patty B from NY

Bonnie K

Martha Lawson


Please send your full name and 

mailing address (U.S. only) to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Sneak Peek Excerpt - - The Conspiracy

The Conspiracy
By Kat Martin
Maximum Security - Book 1
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: January 22, 2019

Harper Winston’s brother has disappeared. Pursuing his dream of sailing the Caribbean, Michael hasn’t responded to texts or emails in days. When even the Coast Guard can’t find him, Harper is forced to take desperate measures. Which means going to Chase Garrett, once her brother’s best friend, now the only man she can trust…or so she hopes.

As the successful owner of Maximum Security, Chase has learned to trust his gut. He knows Harper’s father is mixed up in a deadly business, and suspects there’s more to Michael’s disappearance than meets the eye. Getting involved again with the Winstons goes against everything he stands for, yet old loyalties die hard. As the case draws him closer to Harper and deeper into the Winstons’ snarled crime family, he is forced to put everything on the line to keep Harper safe…and both of them alive.

Chapter One
Dallas, Texas
She knew who he was. The only man at the gala in a black tuxedo and shiny black alligator cowboy boots. Chase Garrett. The man she intended to hire to help her find her missing brother.
Harper Winston had known Chase since the day her father had thrown an obnoxiously extravagant party in honor of her sixteenth birthday.
Chase had attended with her older brother, Michael. She had spotted Chase in a swimsuit standing next to the pool, tall, with a lean, hard-muscled body, whiskey-brown eyes and thick, dark blond hair. In the sun it had gleamed like pirate’s gold.
Aside from the close-trimmed beard along a jaw that had hardened with maturity, Chase hadn’t changed. He still had the perfectly symmetrical features of a movie star combined with a toughness that appealed to a legion of women.
Now that she was thirty, Chase thirty-five, Harper still found him ridiculously attractive, though he’d never given her more than a passing glance.
He didn’t notice her tonight, though she wore an elegant strapless black gown that hugged her slender curves and set off the pale blond hair she wore long and slightly turned under. She glanced over to where he stood next to a stunning brunette, a successful lawyer in Dallas, the typical sort of woman Chase dated. Self-made career women, professors, bankers, stockbrokers. Not someone like her, the daughter of a wealthy Texas businessman, a woman who had attended Sarah Lawrence along with a bevy of other rich socialites from around the country.
It didn’t matter that she was nothing like they were. That she hadn’t the least interest in society. Her interests lay in the business world, in Elemental Chic, the company she had started, a line of affordable, stylish and well-made casual clothing and accessories.
She wasn’t cut out for teaching or social work, she had discovered during a year of volunteer work in South America, an adventure she had undertaken mostly because her father disapproved.
Harvard Business School was where she was meant to be, she had grudgingly conceded. As her father had insisted and was eager to pay for—business being one of the few interests she and Knox Winston, a self-made multimillionaire, had in common.
Unlike her father, Chase Garrett came from big money, which he disdained, though he and his two brothers had inherited a not-so-small fortune from Bass Garrett, Chase’s dad.
Harper lifted a champagne flute off a passing waiter’s tray and took a sip. Chase might not notice her tonight, but he was the reason she was there. She hadn’t seen him in years, but when she had read in the newspaper that he would be attending the gala, she’d seized the opportunity. She wanted to see the man he had become, the man she would be facing tomorrow morning.
It didn’t matter what he thought of her as a woman. She needed his professional assistance. Her brother was in trouble. She knew it deep in her soul. Mikey had disappeared, and Chase was among the few people she trusted to help her find him.
Chase owned Maximum Security, a firm that specialized in private investigation, bail enforcement, personal protection, business and residential security. She had done her homework, knew he had offices in Phoenix and San Diego as well as here in Dallas. Chase was wildly successful, his reputation impeccable.
No matter his opinion of her, he had once been a close friend of her brother’s, a man Michael trusted completely. She needed Chase’s help, and she was determined to convince him.
She wouldn’t give up until she did.
Standing next to Chase, Marla Chambers, his date for the evening, took a drink of her martini. “You don’t look like you’re having a very good time,” she said. “Should I be insulted?”
His mouth edged up. “Sorry. I was thinking about a case. I can’t seem to get it off my mind.”
“The missing teenage girl?”
He’d mentioned her earlier. He nodded. “Tammy Bennett. Her parents think she’s been kidnapped. They’ve managed to convince the police, who are in the middle of an all-out search. I think she’s a runaway.”
“Are you working for the parents?”
“No. I just happened to hear something on the street today. I’d like to check it out.”
She eyed him with speculation. “And you’re wishing you were doing that now instead of being here with me.”
He hated to admit she was right. His gaze ran over the attractive brunette he had been seeing for the past couple of weeks. He enjoyed Marla’s company. Enjoyed her in bed. But it wasn’t serious for either of them, and he kept thinking of the missing fourteen-year-old, a story that had been all over the news.
“She’s just a kid. If my source is right, she’s in very big trouble, and I might be able to find her.”
“I don’t suppose you could let the police handle it.”
“I could. I need to check it out first, make sure the tip is real.”
Marla shook her head, went up on her toes and kissed his cheek. “Then you’d better go.”
“What about you? You don’t look like you’re ready to leave.”
“I’m a big girl. I’ll stay awhile longer, catch a cab when it’s time to go home.”
Chase set his scotch down on one of the linen-draped tables. “Thanks, Marla. I appreciate this.”
“Call me tomorrow. Let me know what happens.”
“If I’m right, you’ll see it on the news.” Chase left Marla chatting with a friend and headed for the door. As he made his way through the throng of elegantly dressed men and women, an attractive blonde caught his eye.  Tall, with a slender figure, porcelain skin, and big blue eyes. She looked familiar.
As the puzzle pieces slid together, he recognized her, Harper Winston, the younger sister of his best friend in college. As a teenager, Harper had been pretty. Looking at her tonight, seeing her for the first time in years, he realized she had grown into a beautiful woman.
Unfortunately, she was a Winston. Her father, Knox Winston, was one of his least favorite people. Ruthless in business, his crooked dealings had made him a very wealthy man. But worse than his shady business enterprises was the mental abuse he’d heaped on his son that had put Michael on a downward spiral into drugs. And effectively destroyed his friendship with Chase.
Chase had steered clear of the Winstons ever since. He remembered hearing Harper had moved to Houston some years back. After that, he’d lost track of her and Michael, and he intended to keep it that way.
Though he had to admit as he took in Harper’s sleek curves and shiny silver-blond hair, he wouldn’t mind taking her to bed.
Even if the lady was of a similar mind, renewing his connection with the Winstons was the last thing he wanted. Besides, as he thought back on it, Harper had a reputation for being as cool and remote as she looked.
On his way out the door, he passed her. For an instant, her gorgeous blue eyes slid over him, and Chase felt a jolt of heat he hadn’t expected. He wouldn’t pursue it. Sleeping with Harper Winston, no matter how good it might be, just wasn’t worth it.
His thoughts returned to the task ahead, and Chase headed for the valet stand, a harsh October wind whipping against him on the way. He needed to get home and change. He couldn’t go to the Double Eagle dressed in a tuxedo—the bar was in Old East Dallas, one of the meanest sections of the city.
Earlier that day as a favor to Jason Maddox, a bail enforcement agent in his office who was looking for a skip, he had contacted one of his sources. During the conversation, his informant had mentioned the missing girl. Bennie had figured the tip was worth money, and if it turned into anything, Chase would gladly pay him.
It didn’t take long to reach the high-rise building on Pearl Street where he lived. He parked his silver Mercedes in the garage next to the brown Dodge Ram pickup he used for work.
Taking the elevator up to the seventeenth floor, he stepped into the entry and crossed the high-ceiling living room. An oversize sofa in a nubby cream fabric, dark brown throw pillows and lots of dark wood gave the condo a masculine tone that suited him. Stylized contemporary Western art hung on the walls.
With thirty-five hundred square feet of space, a spectacular view of the city, and a big terrace that opened off the living room and master bedroom, the condo was expensive and worth every dime.
Changing out of the tux, he pulled on a pair of worn jeans, a frayed blue denim shirt and a pair of scuffed cowboy boots. He retrieved the little .380 he carried when he wanted a weapon he could easily conceal, clipped the holster onto his belt behind his back and pulled his shirttail down over it.
It didn’t take long to reach the bar. The Dodge was ten years old, a few dents here and there, the paint a little faded, which helped it blend in. But the tires were new, and under the hood, the rebuilt engine ran like a scalded dog. He parked it on the street half a block from the bar and hoped the truck wouldn’t get jacked.
Looking at the trash on the sidewalk, broken beer bottles, used hypodermic needles, and drunks asleep in the gutter, part of him hoped his information was wrong and the girl wasn’t there.
The other half hoped like hell she was.
If he got lucky, maybe he could get her out of there.

While Chase Garrett is a successful businessman comfortable in a dashing tux and his silver Mercedes, he's also a rugged Texan, equally at home in worn denim and a pickup truck. Which do you prefer in a hero? Or, like me, do you enjoy a blend of both worlds?

One randomly chosen person who comments on this post before 11:00 PM, January 9, 2019 will receive a book from Kat Martin's Against series.

Purchase Links: 


Website Contest Links: 
To CELEBRATE the release of THE CONSPIRACY, enter my new contest for a chance to win a KINDLE FIRE 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB and a Kindle copy of INTO THE FURYINTO THE WHIRLWIND and INTO THE FIRESTORM. Contest runs from Jan 1, 2019 through Feb 28, 2019.  

Winner - - Highland Defender

The randomly chosen winner of an e-book copy of

Highland Defender by Julie Johnstone is:



Please send your email address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Monday, January 7, 2019

My Most Anticipated Romances Jan - Feb 2019

Last week, I took a look back at some of my favorite romances of 2018. Today, I'm looking ahead to 2019, specifically the first two months, and some of the new books I'm most excited to read. Here are a few of the titles on my list!  

Wishing On a Star (7 Jan 2019) is the third book in Terri Osburn's Shooting Stars series. This contemporary romance promises to be another emotional journey set within the country music industry of Nashville. 

Jesse Gold is teetering on the edge. Her duet partner defected to go solo. Her long-term boyfriend is on tour and quite possibly partaking in extra-curricular activities with the opposite sex. And though she’s landed a deal with Shooting Stars Records, no producer in town is willing to take on the reputedly-difficult new artist.

Enter Ash Shepherd—a successful songwriter coming off a career-topping collaboration with one of the biggest stars in town. Ash is anxious to shift from writing to producing and working with Jesse is the perfect opportunity. 

But after ten years apart, these high school sweethearts struggle not only to find common ground, but to deal with the powerful sparks reigniting between them. Can Ash and Jesse let go of the past and take a shot at a future that neither imagined? Or will they cling to old wounds and lose out on a love they might never find again?

My Kind of Forever (22 Jan 2019) by Tracy Brogan is a book I've been looking forward to since laughing myself silly until the wee hours of the morning while losing myself in her humorous and heartwarming first Trillium Bay novel, My Kind of You

As the youngest mayor Trillium Bay has ever elected, Brooke Callaghan wants to prove she’s up to the challenge. She’s stepping out of her practical teacher flats and into her sister’s treacherously high heels…with disastrous results. But if she’s going to (literally) stumble her first day on the job, why not fall into the arms of a handsome stranger?
Leo Walker is a rarity on Wenniway Island. Not only handsome, he’s also single, funny, and—most importantly—interested in Brooke. Unfortunately, his reasons for being on the island are temporary, so in spite of the undeniable chemistry between them, he’s not a forever kind of guy.
When a private investigator arrives with news of a jewel thief hiding on the island, Brooke finds herself dealing with one kerfuffle after another, and Leo proves to be a delicious distraction. What does she really know about him, though? And the biggest question of all? Does this short-term romance hold the possibility of long-term love?

Pam Jenoff is one of my favorite novelists with books set in the WWII era. Her The Orphan's Tale was one of my best books of 2017 and I fully expect her upcoming The Lost Girls of Paris (29 January 2019) to be another keeper. 

1946, Manhattan

One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

I discovered Christina Dodd via her historical romances more than 25 years ago then followed her to contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance but it's in her current suspense thrillers, where her twisted imagination comes out to play, that I think her brilliance shines brightest. What Doesn't Kill Her (29 January 2019) is the second book in Dodd's new Cape Charade series. I'm beyond excited to find out what happens to protagonist, Kellen Adams next. 

One secret, one nightmare, one lie. You guess which is which.
1. I have the scar of a gunshot on my forehead.
2. I have willfully misrepresented my identity to the US military.
3. I'm the new mother of a seven-year-old girl.
Kellen Adams suffers from a yearlong gap in her memory. A bullet to the brain will cause that. But she's discovering the truth, and what she learns changes her life, her confidence, her very self. She finds herself in the wilderness, on the run, unprepared, her enemies unknown--and she is carrying a priceless burden she must protect at all costs. The consequences of failure would break her. And Kellen Adams does not break.
What doesn't kill her...had better start running.

Laura Trentham is one of my go-to contemporary romance authors. I enjoy her complex characters, sensual romance, and the depth of emotion she brings to her stories. In The Military Wife, the first book in her new A Heart of a Hero military women's fiction series, Trentham takes readers in a bit of a different direction from previous novels however, I fully expect plenty of the same emotional punch and multi-layered characters I've so enjoyed in her other books. 

Harper Lee Wilcox has been marking time in her hometown of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina since her husbandNoah Wilcox’s death, nearly five years earlier. With her son Ben turning five and living at home with her mother, Harper fights a growing restlessness, worried that moving on means leaving the memory of her husband behind.
Her best friend, Allison Teague, is dealing with struggles of her own. Her husband, a former SEAL that served with Noah, was injured while deployed and has come home physically healed but fighting PTSD. With three children underfoot and unable to help her husband, Allison is at her wit’s end.
In an effort to reenergize her own life, Harper sees an opportunity to help not only Allison but a network of other military wives eager to support her idea of starting a string of coffee houses close to military bases around the country.
In her pursuit of her dream, Harper crosses paths with Bennett Caldwell, Noah’s best friend and SEAL brother. A man who has a promise to keep, entangling their lives in ways neither of them can foresee. As her business grows so does an unexpected relationship with Bennett. Can Harper let go of her grief and build a future with Bennett even as the man they both loved haunts their pasts?

How could I not be bouncing up and down with glee over the thought of a romance featuring Phoebe, the widowed daughter of Evie and Sebastian (Devil in Winter), and reformed wastrel, West Ravenel? Devil's Daughter (19 February 2019) tells their tale!  

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces none other than West Ravenel.
West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire...not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn’t bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She’s the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.
Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?
Only the devil’s daughter knows…

Lorraine Heath's Sins for all Seasons series is shaping up to be one of my all-time favorites by this beloved historical romance author. The third book in the series, The Scoundrel in Her Bed (26 February 2019) brings us the highly anticipated second-chance story of Finn Trewlove and Lady Lavinia Kent. I can't wait!

The bastard son of a nobleman, Finn Trewlove was a shameful secret raised by a stranger. As Finn came of age he had secrets, too--the clandestine nights spent with an earl’s daughter. But her promise of forever ended in betrayal.
Driven by a past that haunts her, Lady Lavinia Kent seeks redemption in London’s underworld, engaged in a daring cause inspired by the young man to whom she gave her innocence, and who then proved himself a scoundrel by abandoning her.
When their paths cross again, they can’t deny the yearning and desire that still burns. As they discover the truth behind the deceptions that tore them apart, Finn and Lavinia must fight to reclaim what they’ve lost, no matter how dangerous—because love is worth the risk….

Offer me a book titled It's Getting Scot in Here (26 February 2019) and I'm immediately intrigued. Tell me it's written by Suzanne Enoch and first in a "wickedly seductive new Scottish historical romance series" about wild Highlander brothers forced to marry or lose their estate and I'm all over that puppy!


London socialite Amelia-Rose Baxter is nobody’s fool. Her parents may want her to catch a title, but she will never change who she is for the promise of marriage. Her husband will be a man who can appreciate her sharp mind as well as her body. A sophisticated man who loves life in London. A man who considers her his equal—and won’t try to tame her wild heart...
Rough, rugged Highlander Niall MacTaggert and his brothers know the rules: the eldest must marry or lose the ancestral estate, period. But Niall’s eldest brother just isn’t interested in the lady his mother selected. Is it because Amelia-Rose is just too. . . Free-spirited? Yes. Brazen? Aye. Surely Niall can find a way to soften up the whip-smart lass and make her the perfect match for his brother for the sake of the family.

Instead it’s Niall who tempts Amelia-Rose, despite her reservations about barbarian Highlanders. Niall finds the lass nigh irresistible as well, but he won’t make the mistake his father did in marrying an Englishwoman who doesn’t like the Highlands. Does he have what it takes to win her heart? There is only one way to find out...

I've fallen in love with Alyssa Cole's beautiful writing and intriguing characters. In An Unconditional Freedom (26 February 2019), Cole takes readers back to the American Civil War for the third book in her The Loyal League series. I'll be right there waiting for her characters to arrive. 

An assassination plot that could end the Civil War, and a hidden enemy that could destroy a secret league of unsung heroes …

Daniel Cumberland, born free in Massachusetts, studied law with dreams of helping his people—dreams that died the night he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Daniel is rescued, but he’s a changed man. When he’s offered entry into the Loyal League, the covert organization of Black spies who helped free him, he seizes the opportunity for vengeance against the Confederacy and those who support it.

When the Union Army occupies the Florida home of Cuban Janeta Sanchez, daughter of an enslaved woman and the plantation owner who married her, her family’s wealth does not protect her father from being imprisoned. Under duress and blaming herself for the arrest, Janeta agrees to infiltrate a group called the Loyal League as a double agent—and finds a cause truly worth the sacrifice.

Daniel is aggravated by the headstrong and much too observant new detective he’s paired with, and Janeta is intrigued by the broken but honorable man she is tasked with betraying. As they embark on a mission to intercept Jefferson Davis and thwart European meddling, their dual hidden agendas are threatened by the ghosts of their pasts and a growing affection that could strengthen both the Union and their souls—or lead to their downfall.  

Julie Anne Long could pen a phone book and I'd probably buy it; I love her writing that much. After bringing us heartfelt and humorous contemporary romances for the past three years, Long returns to her historical roots with Lady Derring Takes a Lover (26 February 2019), the first book in her The Palace of Rogues series. I've already dusted off a spot on my JAL keeper shelf for this new entry. 

A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.
Delilah Swanpoole, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.
But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.
They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?

I love, love, love the Wicked Wallflowers series by Christi Caldwell. Book two, The Vixen made my Best of 2018 list, increasing my excitement for The Governess (12 February 2019) even more and I'm beyond giddy to learn that I'll only have to wait until May for the fourth book, The Bluestocking!

Regina (Reggie) Spark has loved Broderick Killoran, the resourceful and protective proprietor of the Devil’s Den, ever since he saved her from the streets and made her his right hand at the notorious gaming hell. For just as long, Reggie has never admitted her true feelings for him. Nor has she revealed her spirited ambitions—to buck convention and expectations and open a music hall.
While Broderick built his gaming empire with ruthless cunning, his loyalty to his employees is boundless. So when he learns of Reggie’s plan to leave his side and take charge of her own future, the betrayal cuts Broderick to the core. He responds as he would to any business rival…with swift retribution.
Instead of wilting, the savvy Reggie rebounds with a fury that shocks Broderick and stirs a desire he’s been holding in reserve for only ladies of nobility. But as their seductive battle of wills ignites under the harsh spotlight of the London Season, secrets are exposed as well—ones that could be ruinous in decent society but invaluable for the heart.

I so enjoy historical novels where women buck societal norms, which makes Lady Notorious (26 February 2019) by Theresa Romain instantly intriguing. Add in the fact that Romain is one of my go-to historical romance authors and Lady Notorious goes from intriguing to can't miss!

Cassandra Benton has always survived by her wits and wiles, even working for Bow Street alongside her twin brother. When injury takes him out of commission, Cass must support the family by taking on an intriguing new case: George, Lord Northbrook, believes someone is plotting to kill his father, the Duke of Ardmore. Decades before, the duke was one of ten who formed a wager that would grant a fortune to the last survivor. But someone can’t wait for nature to take its course—and George hopes a seasoned investigator like Cass can find out who.

Cass relishes the chance to spy on the ton, shrewdly disguised as handsome Lord Northbrook’s notorious “cousin.” What she doesn’t expect is her irresistible attraction to her dashing employer, and days of investigation soon turn to passionate nights. But with a killer closing in and her charade as a lady of the ton in danger of collapsing at any moment, Cass has no choice but to put her life—and her heart—in the hands of the last man she ought to trust . . .

Those are a few of the novels I'm most anticipating over the next two months. What January and February books are on your can't miss list?

I have four more packages of books looking for new homes. One package each will go to four randomly selected people who leave a comment on this post before 11:00 PM (EST), January 8, 2019. (U.S. addresses only)