Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Coming Attractions


We have a lot of great things going on next month at the Romance Dish, so I’ll just get right to it!



Photo courtesy of
Tomorrow, November 1st, marks our third anniversary here at the Romance Dish! Join us tomorrow as we celebrate BIG with lots of great books and swag to give away!


Grab a pen and paper to write down your favorites from Andrea’s New Releases list for the month of November on Monday, November 5th!


Tuesday, November 6th, marks the debut review of our newest guest reviewer, Dish regular, Lisa! Stop by to see what book she thinks you need to pick up!


Make Your Reservations on Thursday, November 8th, as we let you know which books we are most looking forward to in December.


The lovely and talented Trish Milburn will catch us up with all the wonderful things happening in YA in her Teen Menu on Saturday, November 10th.


Drop by on Monday, November 12th, as we welcome debut author and Romance Bandit, Nancy Northcott to the blog! Nancy’s debut, Renegade, releases November 6th!


Historical romance author Susanna Fraser dishes with us on Friday, November 16th! Susanna’s next book, An Infamous Marriage, hits e-readers November 5th!



The lovely and multi-talented Marilyn Baron visits with us on Monday, November 19th! Marilyn writes humorous women’s fiction, romantic suspense, and paranormal fiction. She also blogs regularly at the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales!
Saturday, November 24th, is when the always witty and glamorous Anna Campbell will bring us her Second Helping of a book or books that we may have missed the first time around.


On Wednesday, November 28th, we welcome Avon historical author Miranda Neville back to the Romance Dish! Miranda’s next book, The Importance of Being Wicked, is the start of a brand new series and is already getting great reviews!



You will surely want to stop by on Friday, November 30th as we have partnered with four fabulous authors, Victoria Alexander, Grace Burrowes, Vanessa Kelly, and Theresa Romain, for a wonderful historical romance holiday gala, Romancing the Holidays! There will be prizes given away all day long, but you MUST SIGN UP HERE FIRST! Dear readers, you do not want to miss this special extravaganza!

We hope you all will stop by often!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Today's Special - - Cathy Maxwell

It's my pleasure to welcome Cathy Maxwell back to The Romance Dish today.  Not only is Cathy one of my favorite authors but she's also one of the nicest, most genuine, most joyful people I've ever met.  A New York Times bestselling author, Cathy has written more than twenty-five single title romances and contributed to several anthologies.  Her newest book, THE SCOTTISH WITCH (released into the wild today!)  is the second book in her new The Chattan Curse series.  THE SCOTTISH WITCH isn't the only new production in Cathy's life these days...but I'll let her tell you about that. Take it away, Cathy!

The Magic
By Cathy Maxwell

            I know I should write about the release of my new book THE SCOTTISH WITCH.  After all, how perfect the opportunity?  The word “witch” is in the title; tomorrow is Halloween.  PR, PR!

            However, I have something else on my mind.  As I’m writing this, my daughter and son-in-law are preparing to have their first baby.  He’s a boy and will make his appearance in the next twelve to twenty-four hours or thereabouts.  You know how babies are.  They never arrive when expected and keep us on our toes until they are out the door years from now.

            I will not go schmaltzy about the circle of life and all that jazz.  Okay, maybe a little schmaltzy.  It is that sort of occasion.

            What really galvanizes me is the magic of love.  The whole two become one thing, and another one and another one and so on and so forth until I end up happily spending a good portion of my income on Christmas presents for grandbabies.

            Love allows us to face the “what ifs.”  I wish there was a superhero Halloween outfit for love.  Whether pirate or nobleman, vampire, shape-shifter, police officer, soldier, or spy, love brings us all to what is truly important in life.  It can heal, it can motivate, it can inspire, it can create.  It makes us look at the very best in ourselves.  There have been times I’ve been completely humbled in the presence of love..

            Love can also be scary.  It can be a grand adventure, but first you must trust the unknown.  Loving someone, making a commitment to him or her is not for the faint of heart.  Just when you think you’ve mastered love, when you believe you have it tied down, it will change.  Sometimes it evolves into something better than you could have ever imagined . . . or it can vanish.  Evaporate.  One moment you have your arms around it and in the next—poof!

            That has happened to me and I don’t know but I think it has happened to you a time or two as well.

            Okay, back to the promo stuff—in the Chattan Curse Trilogy of which THE SCOTTISH WITCH is a part (and I strongly advise you to read LYON’S BRIDE before you take on this second book), I question how important love is to life.  How necessary is it?  

            My theory is that if you tell me what you love, whom you love—then I will know all that is important about you.  But what if you cut yourself off from love? What is left?

            By the way, you may also want to check out some pictures of Scottish Fold cats before you read my latest.  You don’t have to, but I’m just sayin’.   (Cats and Halloween and all that.)

            I’ll let you know how the baby turns out.  I know he will be adorable . . . and very well loved.

            Okay, blog question—What would your life be like without love?  

PS—Thirty hours later after finishing writing this blog, I can introduce you to Zavier, 20 inches long and 8lb 1oz of love.

Congratulations to Cathy and her family on the birth of Zavier.  Welcome to the world, little guy!

HarperCollins/Avon has graciously donated two copies of THE SCOTTISH WITCH for today's giveaway.  Two randomly chosen people leaving comments (U.S. addresses only) will each receive a copy.  

When a Chattan male falls in love, strike his heart with fire from above . . .

Portia Maclean believes she is beyond love and marriage. Then one moonlit night, while attempting a daring masquerade in a desperate bid to protect her family, she finds herself swept off her feet by a powerful stranger. But what will he do once he discovers she has betrayed him?

Harry Chattan is fighting for his family. For two hundred years the Chattan men have been destroyed by love . . . and now he's come to Scotland on the hunt for a witch to break the curse. Instead he finds himself bewitched by Portia. Harry has vowed to fight the demons that torture him.

But will that battle destroy her as well?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Review - - His Mistletoe Bride

His Mistletoe Bride
By Vanessa Kelly
Publisher:  Zebra
Release Date:  October 2, 2012

At first glance, an American Quaker and a former English soldier may seem an unlikely pairing but, in the skilled hands of Kelly, they become a perfect match in this heartwarming holiday romance.

Phoebe Linville has always felt a bit like a fish out of water.  Growing up in New Jersey, the child of a Quaker father and a mother who was the estranged daughter of an English earl, Phoebe absorbed many of the Quaker precepts but held on to enough of her mother's beliefs to be considered an outsider.  Now, with both parents deceased and Phoebe facing a life of dependence on her rigidly Quaker half-brother, she receives an unexpected opportunity to experience the life her mother left behind but never forgot.  A letter from her mother's father, asking forgiveness and begging Phoebe to come to him in London has her crossing the ocean to a new life and the family she's always dreamed of having.  When she arrives however, it's not her grandfather who meets her but the new earl of Merritt who delivers the news that her grandfather has died and the even more shocking news that the old earl's last wish was that Phoebe marry Major Lucas Stanton, the new earl!

When a youthful love triangle leaves Lucas brokenhearted and estranged from the cousin who has been his best friend since childhood, he exchanges the ton for the army, leaving his family and London life behind.  Surprisingly, it's as a soldier that he finds his place but now he's forced to give up his commission and return to England and the responsibilities of an earldom that he never planned to inherit; responsibilities that apparently include a sheltered young Quaker miss newly arrived from America.  Though he still carries bitterness and animosity toward his cousin, the Marquess of Silverton (a rift that causes great concern among family members) and has vowed to never open his heart to a woman again, Lucas knows it's time to consider taking a wife and the arrival of a sweet, biddable young woman whom he can mold into the type of wife he needs seems the perfect solution.  (You just know where this is going, don't you? ::grin::) The fact that she's beautiful is an added bonus.  Now he just has to convince her to give him a chance and not bolt back to America on the first boat leaving England.

Lucas quickly realizes that a family is Phoebe's dearest wish and the best way to keep her in England.  The Stantons warmly welcome her, surrounding her with love and acceptance and Phoebe quickly takes them into her heart but it's Lucas to whom she turns time and again for support and security as she finds her place in her new surroundings.  Though Lucas is determined to guard his heart, his desire and affection for Phoebe continue to grow with each encounter while Phoebe struggles with all the changes in her life, including the new and unfamiliar feelings she experiences whenever Lucas is nearby.  She's falling for him and, with time, he may open his heart to her but desires flare out of control in a public location and, before they're ready for it, Phoebe and Lucas find themselves married and bundled off to his country estate, Mistletoe Manor.  There they must learn to work together while they rebuild their rundown estate, deal with a most unique staff of servants, keep impoverished villagers who have turned to smuggling to avoid starvation from being deported, or worse (they have vastly different ideas of how to deal with the problem) and define their own roles within their marriage.  Lucas is entirely too used to giving orders (that soldier background) and Phoebe, for someone who was raised among Quakers, proves to be surprisingly outspoken and independent which, of course, makes their journey all the more entertaining.  Add a lovingly interfering family and a staff that acts like family to a hero who learns that only through forgiveness can he truly be happy and a heroine with the fortitude to stand her ground and fight for the love and happiness they both deserve and you have a holiday treat that's not to be missed.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Last Call!

The following winners have not claimed their books from recent author giveaways:

Season for Surrender by Theresa Romain

Betty Hamilton
Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks

Please email your full name and mailing address to theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com to claim your book.  If we do not hear from you by Midnight, October 31st (EST), we will draw new names.


Friday, October 26, 2012


Congratulations to the following winners from recent blogs:

Katie Porter's winner is Karyn Gerrard!

HelenKay Dimon's winner is our final commenter of the day, Cathy P!

Maggie Robinson's winner is Ellen Thompson!  

Ladies, please send your name and mailing address to theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com to claim your books.  Thanks!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Today's Special - - Maggie Robinson

We're delighted to welcome historical romance author Maggie Robinson back to The Romance Dish!  Maggie has a new book, Lord Gray's List that's sexy, sassy and just plain fun.      Maggie originally wanted to use a different title for this entertaining romp but I'll let her tell you more about that.  Please give her a warm welcome!

Thanks so much for having me back to dish about Lord Gray’s List! The book comes out in a few days, and I have great hopes for it. It’s the first in the London List Trilogy, which is loosely based around a combination weekly scandal sheet/Craigslist. In fact, the working title was Lord Craig’s List, which the Kensington marketing department did not like. At all. Maybe because of the murders and prostitution? So I was asked to change it and came up with Gray, completely innocently, and well before those books came out. And there’s only one shade of him, not fifty, LOL.

I got the inspiration for the series after reading a bunch of old lonely hearts ads culled from newspapers around the country. What would happen if Regency ladies and gentlemen circumvented Almacks and sought their life partner through the want ads? One thing led to another, as it generally does in my disordered mind, and while the books strayed more into the “Help Wanted” column than lovelorn territory, they were tremendous fun to write.

I like a challenge, and there was nothing better than my trouser-wearing, man-impersonating, strong-willed, opinionated heroine Evangeline Ramsey to get me motivated. Evie has a social conscience, a heart of gold, and a poison pen. Who better to increase weekly revenues to her paper and help the needy than her lost love Baron Benton Craig, who can’t seem to keep himself off the front page? The battle of wits and wills was great, since everybody wins!

Reviews have been very kind so far. From RT Book Reviews Magazine: “Sexy, fun and smart, Robinson’s latest is pleasurable. Her strong, independent heroine meets her match in the alpha hero, and their battle of wills will have readers smiling with glee just to see who ends up wearing the pants in this relationship.” Rogues Under the Covers says it’s “a perfect blend of heart, wit, charm and heat.” Publishers Weekly: An “appealing tale of sin and redemption. Pure fun!”

Evie is not one of those heroines who just happens to put on a pair of her brother’s cast-off breeches and climbs out a window for a lark. She’s been living as a man in the business world for two years. Two years! I couldn’t last as a man for a day, LOL.

If you pretended to be a man for a day, what would you do? One commenter will get a copy of Lord Gray’s List!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Harlequin Round-Up Number 2

by Anna Campbell

Firstly, apologies! Last month I promised that this October I was going to delve into the dark, foggy and bat-ridden world of Victoria Holt's gothics.

Unfortunately for my book reviewing plans, I've been head down finishing the second book in the Sons of Sin series and have only snatched rare reading time. Vicky and her dark, dangerous heroes will have to wait until November! I hope she's not so piqued at the delay that she sends the sinister housekeeper to shove me off the battlements!

So I'm doing another Harlequin roundup this month. I hope you don't mind. One of the lovely things about a category romance is that when time is short, you can still get your romance fix. Add to that a down day when I had a miserable head cold and I felt like some comfort reading, and voila, I've got some great Harlequin discoveries to share with you.

Two of these books are fairly recent and should be readily available. The other two are available in digital format or from online sellers. 

First up was a real discovery for me - you're all probably miles ahead of me here. I'd heard really good things about Fiona Harper and I knew she'd been up for at least one RITA Award, generally a great indicator of quality. But I'd never actually read one of her books. On the day I suffered with my snuffed up nose, I had a twofer that I'd picked up at one of the Australian conferences. I read the first book which was by an author I knew and liked, then out of curiosity started the second book in the volume, INVITATION TO THE BOSS'S BALL (January 2012). Well, that was better cold medicine than a packet of aspirin! I was smiling on page one and I was beaming by the end and everything in between was enchanting.

As you've probably gathered, this is a Cinderella story. Alice is the kind of girl who tends to be one of the guys rather than a glamour puss. But when she helps a friend who's selling vintage fashion and enters the ambit of sexy tycoon Cameron Hunter, she gets a chance to play the princess, even if only for one night. But what happens after the ball is over? This one's a real charmer and I highly recommend it, even if sweet romances aren't usually your thing. It's funny, it's wise and it's touching - and the vintage fashion is great fun.

The next one was also from my cold-ridden day and it's by an Aussie author - love to recommend a local. CHRISTMAS AT CANDLEBARK FARM by Michelle Douglas is another charmer, although it deals with more difficult subject matter than INVITATION TO THE BOSS'S BALL.

Gutsy, generous Keira Keely lodges temporarily with outwardly grumpy widower Luke Hillier while she sorts out an unexpected inheritance. Keira is pregnant after IVF treatment that she sought when she discovered that medical issues could prevent her having children if she delays too long. Luke is struggling to cope with his estranged wife's death. The fallout includes hostility and blame from his in-laws and the other residents of Gunnedah, not to mention his teenage son's grief and anger.

On the surface, sunny Keira and brooding Luke share nothing but a strong and unwelcome sexual attraction. But as Christmas approaches, Candlebark Farm witnesses a miracle - joy, hope, love and reconciliation after tragedy. There's smiles in this one but tears too. Beautifully done. And the country Aussie setting is marvelous.

Last month, I talked about another new discovery for me, Ellen Hartman, who writes for SuperRomance. In September, OUT OF BOUNDS, the sequel to her wonderful THE LONG SHOT hit the shelves. It's got the same mixture of humor and deep emotion and heartwarming resolution that made THE LONG SHOT so memorable.

Wes Fallon, the hero's brother from the first book, has to give up his basketball career after an injury. While he's deciding what he wants to do with the rest of his life, he accepts a job with Deacon's foundation to set up a facility for disadvantaged kids in upmarket Kirkland, New York State.

When he meets strong, competitive, mouthy Posy Jones, he's instantly bowled over. But Posy has secrets, including the big, fat, nasty one that her mother has stolen a huge donation to the charity and left Posy to clean up the mess.

One of the real delights of this book (and the earlier one) is the strong heroine. Posy is the kind of woman I love to see in romance - she's difficult and ambitious and not inclined to play second fiddle to anyone. Add to that a really delicious hero and a demon dog and you've got a yummy mixture! Highly recommended.

Lastly, I can't miss out on recommending a Harlequin Presents from one of my favorite authors, Sarah Morgan, who won the RITA for best category romance this year for her sublime DOUKAKIS'S APPRENTICE.

Sarah's DEFYING THE PRINCE (August 2012) is such fun. It's got a similar sparkle to Doukakis - I found myself laughing out loud several times in this book, for example when our awkward heroine is stuck for conversation at a state dinner and regales a sheikh with the information that camels have sphere-shaped haemoglobin.

Izzy Jackson is a national laughing stock since she appeared on a tacky reality TV show called Singing Star. When she makes a fool of herself at the party to celebrate her sister's engagement to the Crown Prince of Santina, autocratic Prince Matteo, second in line to the throne, whisks her away to his isolated estate where she can do no more damage.

The problem is the damage has already been done. These two are victim to a sizzling attraction that neither can deny, much as they'd like to. Matteo thinks Izzy is a self-serving airhead. She thinks he's a pompous, spoiled snob. Both of them have a lot to learn about the person under the mask. The dialogue between these two absolutely zings as Izzy provokes Matteo into becoming human and Matteo slowly turns into Izzy's strongest supporter. Lovely all round and wow, does the sexual tension blaze in this one. Grab it while it's hot!

When I had my cold, I was reaching desperately for comfort reads (and tissues), hence the double appearance of Harlequin Sweet Romances in this column. Do you have any comfort reads? Do you reach for an old favorite? A specific line? A specific genre? Let's talk about the kind of romance that gives you that nice warm feeling when the world is a bit bumpy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Today's Special - - HelenKay Dimon

It's our pleasure to welcome HelenKay Dimon to the Romance Dish today!  This multi-published, award-winning author took several other careers for test drives before settling into full-time writing.  Following time spent in journalism, politics and divorce law, HelenKay now scripts happy endings for a living.  HelenKay writes contemporary romance novels, many of which have an element of suspense.  Her most recent release, LEAN ON ME, is the second book in her Holloway small town contemporary romance series.  

Find more information about HelenKay at her website and connect with her at Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Please give her a warm welcome!

Thank you for having me here today to talk about my newest release, LEAN ON ME.  It just came out, so I'm thrilled to talk about it.

I'm going to tell you a little secret…I like talking about this book, specifically this heroine, Cassidy, because I can pretend (for a second) to have her bravery. See, she's a Himalayan mountain climber.  Well, she was until an illness sidelined her high-altitude mountaineering career.  Her goal was to be the first U.S. woman to climb all fourteen of the highest peaks in the world. 

When it comes to heights, my goal is to get to the top of a step ladder without melting into a puddle of tears.  Yes, I am terrified of heights.  Actually, is there a word that's stronger than terrified?  Whatever that word is, that's what I am.  With this fear it's hard to believe that in high school I was a member of a high adventure explorer group. I blame my then best friend, Missy, for convincing me to join the group.  Missy was the fearless one.  Even now, she a forester and fights forest fires in her off time. By the way, go ahead and add fires to the list of things that scare the crap out of me.  Anyway…as part of this group we went caving, camping, hiking, kayaking and a whole bunch of –ing things that the grown-up me is stunned she once did.

Reading LEAN ONE ME, you'll see the hero, Mitch, has trouble with heights. He's a guy so he doesn't admit to things like being terrified. But he doesn't like them and I feel his pain. There's a scene where he sees the Cassidy on a ladder and is panicked for her, never mind the woman once climbed Mount Everest. Take a look:

"You should not be crawling around up there. You could fall or slide."
She didn't show any signs of moving. Didn't even come down a step. "I'm standing on a ladder, not hanging off a cliff by a rope."
That visual image made his stomach flip. "On the fourth step."
Those dark eyes widened. "Mitch, are you afraid of heights?"
"Did I use the word fear?"
"I did, but it was an educated guess based on the color of your face and wild terror in your eyes."
As far as he was concerned, this was a matter of common sense not fear. "I'm not scared of anything. But if I were, plunging to my death would be at the top of the list."
And if you need proof that I was once this high-adventure queen, you can look here – I'm in the left front (but please ignore my taste in hairstyles and clothes – it was the 80s after all).

HelenKay is giving a digital copy of LEAN ON ME to one randomly selected person leaving a comment on today's blog. (Open to everyone!)  So tell us, dear readers, are you a high adventure queen, able to climb high mountains...or to the fourth step of a ladder?  Or do you prefer to leave the adventure seeking to the characters in the books you read?  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Victoria Alexander Giveaway!

Photo credit:  Dawn Biggs
Have you ever wanted to have a cozy chat with a #1 New York Times Bestselling author?  Bubbling over with questions for a woman who has written more than 25 romance novels since 1995, regularly hits the bestseller lists and has created some of readers' favorite romance characters?  Well, here's your chance! On Tuesday, November 6 at 6pm PST / 9pm EST, Author Marketing Experts is hosting a Google+ hangout live chat event with historical romance author Victoria Alexander and you could win a virtual seat at the event!  We've reserved the seat and one of you lucky readers will be randomly chosen to occupy it.  Never used Google+ hangouts?  Don't worry, it's easy.  If you already have a Google ID or GMail account, you're already set up to activate Google+.  If you need to open a Google account, follow the instructions here.  Here's more info on using Google+ hangouts.  If you use Skype, you should have no problem using hangouts.

Not the lucky seat winner?  Don't worry, you still have a chance to win one of FIVE copies of Victoria's new book, What Happens at Christmas (open internationally) that we're giving away here at the Romance Dish!  Plus, when you register for the event, you'll be able to watch a live stream of the chat at YouTube and submit questions and comments using a special Twitter hashtag.  (You will not be required to have a YouTube account to watch the live stream however a Twitter account will be required to send in questions/comments during the event.)  Everyone who registers for the event will receive an email from Author Marketing Experts on November 5 with all the information you need to make the chat live stream a fun and easy experience.

On Tuesday, October 30, we will randomly select one person to occupy the virtual seat at the November 6 chat with Victoria Alexander.  That person will also win one copy of Victoria's new hardcover holiday romance, What Happens at Christmas.  The winners of the other four copies of the book will also be randomly chosen at the same time.  To be eligible, simply leave a comment on this blog between now and 6am (EST) October 30.

What question would you ask Victoria if you had the chance?  Do you have a favorite Victoria Alexander book?  Series?  Like me, are you still waiting, and hoping, for a book for Becky Shelton?  

If you could sit down for a chat with a favorite author, who would you choose?  What would you want to ask them?

Do you enjoy holiday romances?  Have you read any of this year's offerings yet?  Do you read your holiday romance keepers each year?  (I do!)  Any favorites you recommend?  


 “Alexander’s divine Victorian Christmas confection provides an abundance of wit and warmth… This star belongs at the top of the tree.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW for What Happens at Christmas

#1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander has for years been a force in the world of historical romance.  This holiday season, she gifts readers with WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS, a passionate Victorian English holiday romance filled with her signature wit and warmth. In it, a beautiful widow finds her plan for a Christmas proposal going perfectly awry.
Camille, Lady Lydingham, knows what she wants for Christmas—an official engagement to a handsome prince. The prince insists on getting her family’s approval first, which leaves the lovely widow with a problem. The last thing Camille wants is for him to meet her unconventional relatives. But with the aid of a troupe of actors, Camille can pull off a Christmas deception of massive proportions.
At least until Grayson Elliot shows up. A dozen years ago, their romance ended at her mother’s insistence. Now he’s back, playing absolute havoc with her scheme—and with her heart. Because for Grayson, losing Camille once was quite bad enough. Losing her twice? Unthinkable.
And he’ll find a way to show her they belong together—this season, and every Christmas yet to come…

-- Kensington Publishing Corp. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Today's Special -- Katie Porter

Today we welcome erotic romance author Katie Porter! Who is Katie Porter, you ask? From Katie's website: Katie Porter is the co-writing team of Lorelie Brown and Carrie Lofty, friends and critique partners of six years. Both are multi-published in several romance genres. Carrie has an MA in history, while Lorelie is a US Army veteran. Generally a high-strung masochist, Carrie loves weight training and has no fear of gross things like dissecting formaldehyde sharks. Her two girls are not appreciative. Lorelie, a laid-back sadist, would rather grin maniacally when Carrie works out. Her three boys love how she screams like a little girl around spiders. To learn more about the authors who make up Katie, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter: @carrielofty, @LorelieBrown, and @MsKatiePorter. Welcome, Katie!

What’s in a Name?
By Katie Porter

Consider how many names you respond to. Mommy. Sis. Grandma. Your given name and goofy names and nicknames. Names have power. They help us denote personal relationships and where we fit within society. So I wanted to look at the names in HOLD ’EM. One hero. One heroine. Easy, right? Not so much…  

Leah: Her given name, used by her friends and by Mike when they’re just hanging out. 

Mike: Shortened for of his give name, used by all his friends, family, and even Leah when she’s exasperated or sharing a joke. 

Capt. Girardi: Duh. Leah’s in the Air Force. 

Capt. Templeton: Sometimes just “Templeton,” it’s a military thing. 

“Princess”: Her fighter pilot call sign—as in Princess Leah. She hates it, which means her colleagues use it constantly. Mike gets the serious cold shoulder when he tries. 

“Strap Happy”: Occasionally shortened to “Strap,” Mike’s call sign is used exclusively by his male colleagues. It has something to do with his kink, but we won’t spoil that. 

Michael: No one uses his given name but Leah. It’s endearing, possessive, and she can use in plain company—a hint of sexy things to come. 

Ma’am: Mike’s name for Leah during their BDSM play. He would never call her this in mixed company. Ever.  

Pet: Leah’s name for Mike when he becomes her own personal playground. He’s the biggest, baddest guy she’s ever known…and he gives himself to her.

Here are two brief exchanges to demonstrate how important their names are in the progression of their love affair. These moments reveal everything. 

“You’re looking at me like I’m your buffet. Turns me on, Princess.”

She tweaked his nipples so hard that he flinched. “No. No ‘Princess’. Not here.”

His laugh felt good, just a small release to the pressure. “Noted.” He caught her gaze again then ducked his eyes. “It turns me on, Leah.”

“But you don’t look at me. Why not?” She smiled and licked up from his navel—all wet and ticklish and sexy as hell. “Wait, don’t tell me. Permission again?”

He nodded.

“Well, here’s the deal, Michael.” A shudder worked down his spine. Leah tipped her head. “What…? Michael?”

Rolling his eyes to the ceiling, he fought for calm. Fought to breathe.

“That’s it, isn’t it? You like your full name.” She grinned against his stomach then bared her teeth. At that sweet scrape, testing such sensitive skin, Mike made fists. She tugged the waistband of his jeans.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And that’s what you’ll call me.”


She stopped with her hand on the doorknob. Her mouth worked over so much she’d like to say. At the chapel, she’d been sure he would take her hand if she offered it. The ice in his eyes said that chance was long gone.


Mike.” He punched the TV’s off button with one finger. “Call me Mike. Or Templeton. Or asshat. I don’t give a shit. I better not hear Michael come out of your mouth again. I can’t be held responsible for what I’d say in return.”

She shriveled up and died inside. Flat out. Nothing left. “Just…take care of yourself.”

A sarcastic twist folded his mouth and angled his eyebrows. “Oh, don’t you worry about me, Princess. I’m going to be just fine.”

So what’s in a name? In romance, names denote intimacy—the many levels of intimacy a couple can experience during the mating dance. They can be bestowed, and they can be taken away. Both indicate serious events. As for these two lovebirds, I’ll give you a hint…she calls him Michael again by the time they reach their happily ever after. Of course she does!


Up next for Katie Porter, the co-writing team of Carrie Lofty and Lorelie Brown: 

Now that the first three of the RT BookReviews 4½ Star Top Pick “Vegas Top Guns” series have been released, readers can anticipate the final two installments, HARD WAY and BARE KNUCKLE, in 2013.

November brings the m/m Christmas-themed CAME UPON AMIDNIGHT CLEAR, described as “masterful” by Publishers Weekly. In January, LEAD AND FOLLOW will launch the five-part “Club Devant” series of erotic multi-partner romances set in a hot New York City burlesque club. 

Where to find us: 

Twitter: @MsKatiePorter
Or individually: @carrielofty and @LorelieBrown

We'd like to give away a copy of DOUBLE DOWN, INSIDE BET or HOLD ’EM (winner's choice) in any format. Just answer the question: Do you have a pet name for your significant other, one your significant other has for you, or an embarrassing name your parents STILL use after decades of adulthood?

Thanks again to The Romance Dish for featuring Katie Porter and Hold ’Em!