Thursday, March 31, 2016

Today's Special - - Jill Shalvis Blog & Review Tour

Nobody But You
Cedar Ridge - Book 3
By Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: March 29, 2016

After an overseas mission goes wrong, Army Special Forces officer Jacob Kincaid knows where he must go to make things right: back home to the tiny town of Cedar Ridge, Colorado. All he needs to scrub away his painful past is fresh mountain air, a lakeside cabin, and quiet solitude. But what he discovers is a gorgeous woman living on a boat at his dock.

Sophie Marren has nowhere else to go. She's broke, intermittently seasick, and fighting a serious attraction to the brooding, dishy, I'm-too-sexy-for-myself guy who's now claiming her dock. Something about Jacob's dark intensity makes her want to tease-and tempt-him beyond measure. Neither one wants to give any ground . . . until they realize the only true home they have is with each other.

If you've been reading the Cedar Ridge series, you know that Jacob Kincaid, twin of Hudson Kincaid (hero of book 2, My Kind of Wonderful) left Cedar Ridge after a huge fight with his twin the day they graduated from high school and they haven't spoken since. Feeling like an outsider in the blended Kincaid family (5 siblings share the same deadbeat dad but have different mothers), Jacob finally found the home he had been searching for in the Army but has long regretted his estrangement from his family. Nine years later, he returns home on leave, filled with guilt and grief following an incident in Afghanistan that killed his best friend, a man he loved like a brother. He's searching for peace and the chance to make amends with his siblings, especially his twin. There's no time or inclination for a relationship. Then Sophie Marren sails into his life.  

Sophie Marren's life sucks. Big time. Her divorce from her cheating, lying, scumbag, jerk of a lawyer husband left her with nothing but the clothes on her back...and her husband's boat, his pride and joy, the scene of his many affairs. Sophie probably wouldn't even have that if the judge hadn't insisted that she take something. So now Sophie, who is prone to motion sickness, works temp jobs during the day (her ex sleeping with the wife of the CEO of the company where she worked got her fired from her permanent job) and spends her off-work time cruising the lake looking for free places to moor her current home (the boat) while doing her level best to not throw up on the hot guy (Jacob) renting the cabin attached to the dock where she seems to always end up. Not that she's going to do anything about the hot guy. Sophie has sworn off men. They're nothing but trouble and she's not going down that road again. 

I loved Sophie and Jacob. They set off more fireworks than the 4th of July and the banter between them had me laughing out loud. Both have baggage, both have ghosts to put to rest, and neither is looking for anything more than a good time. What we have here are the makings of another terrific Jill Shalvis romance. Sophie's snarky, smart-mouthed attitude is exactly what Jacob needs to bring him back into the light. And Jacob is just the guy to show Sophie that not all men are lying cheats. Their journey is, by turns, steamy, poignant, heartwarming, and laugh-out-loud funny. Alone, each is adrift but perhaps, together, they will be able to discover who they are meant to be and where their happiness awaits. 

The extended Kincaid family nicely rounds out the cast of characters and the secondary reunion story line (which doesn't flow as smoothly as Jacob had hoped) adds an extra depth of emotion. The only issues I had with this book were the actions of Sophie's ex-husband at the end of the story (they just didn't ring true) and what appears to be a speedy wrap-up of Jacob's sister, Kenna's story. I really hope I'm wrong about Kenna and that she will have her own book. I'm not ready to say good-bye to the residents of Cedar Ridge!


Jill, please describe what readers can expect from a Jill Shalvis romance in 140 characters.

Hot guys, fun, sexy, humor, hot guys, love, girl power and as it can’t be said enough, more hot guys. ☺

What scene from NOBODY BUT YOU was the hardest to write?

The reunion between the hero Jacob and his twin brother Hud, given that they hadn’t seen each other in years.

Is Jacob Kincaid a boxers or briefs kind of Alpha hero? ;)

Boxer briefs.  Or commando.  ☺

Readers, in 140 characters or less, tell me what you expect from a romance.

Are you reading the Cedar Ridge series? Are you loving these characters as much as I am?

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Jill’s Social Media:
T: @jillshalvis
IG: @jillshalvis

Buy Links 

Rafflecopter giveaway for the tour: a Rafflecopter giveaway


She eyed the bench a long beat but did eventually sit, perching primly as far from him as she could get and yet still be close enough to grab the bottle.

Smart woman.

She took the Scotch and drank. Her eyes watered and she coughed as she handed it to him. With a sigh, she leaned back to study the night sky. Her bared throat was slim and creamy smooth. An unexpected temptation. Remembering the flash of pain and vulnerability she’d unwittingly revealed, and that for whatever reason he’d somehow added to it, he spoke. “I’m sorry.”

She glanced at him as if she’d never heard a man apologize before in her life. “For…breathing?” she asked. “Having a penis? What?”

“You were upset because you didn’t know I was a Kincaid.”

She sighed. “That was just me looking for a reason to be mad at you so I wouldn’t…”

She bit her lower lip, clearly not wanting to go on.

But now he had to know. “So you wouldn’t what?”

“Nothing,” she said. “It’s just that I’m trying to make better choices.”

“Of which I wouldn’t be one.”

“It’s not necessarily your fault,” she said. “It’s that you’re a man.”

“Guilty as charged.”

“And I’m off men right now.”

“And on…women?” he asked with admittedly more than a little fascination.

She rolled her eyes. “I’m on no one, but thank you for proving my point on men.”

“I get that,” he said. “But being off men doesn’t seem to be making you very happy, or sound like a whole lot of fun.”

“Maybe I don’t need fun.”

He understood that. He’d felt the same way since Brett died. “What do you need?” he asked, honestly wanting to know more about her.

Instead of answering, she reached for the bottle. He waited until she met his gaze before letting go.
“Nothing,” she said a little too quickly. “Everything’s…perfect.”

“And your glass is half full,” he said. “So you’ve said.”

But he didn’t believe her. “How about a game?”

“I don’t play games.”

Now, that wasn’t exactly true. Whether she knew it or not, she’d been playing with  his head since he’d first laid eyes on her. “Three truths and a lie,” he said.

She stared at him. “As in you tell me three truths and a lie, and I pick out the lie?”


She considered this. “What do I get if I win?”

“What do you want?”

For the briefest of beats, her gaze dropped to his mouth.

Oh, hell yeah, he thought. Want me…

“My first boyfriend taught me that game,” she said.

“What did the winner get?”

“A kiss.”

Definitely still playing with his head… “Is that what you want, Sophie? A kiss?”

Again she stared at his mouth before dropping eye contact and wrapping that eye-stopping pink robe tighter around her body. “Do you?” she asked.

“Hell yes.”

Her gaze flew to his.

“Problem is,” he said conversationally, “if I kissed you, I don’t think I’d be able to stop.”

Her mouth literally fell open. The pulse at the base of her throat jumped. And she seemed to lose her words.

He went on. “But you should know, I don’t lose. That means you’ll have to tell me three truths and a lie.” And he’d hopefully get to know more about her.

She closed her mouth to bite her lower lip in what could’ve been indecision or excitement. Obviously he was hoping for the latter. “But hey, if you’re not sure you can handle losing, we can just forget about it,” he said.

The challenge lifted her chin and put sparks in her eyes. That’s it, babe. Show me what you’ve got.

“Bring it,” she said.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review - - Because of Miss Bridgerton

Because of Miss Bridgerton
By Julia Quinn
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: March 29, 2016


Sybilla Bridgerton, affectionately known as Billie, is a tomboy who grew up running untrammeled with the three middle Rokesby children on their families’ adjoining estates in Kent. The close friendship between the Rokesbys and the Bridgertons meant that the children grew up as extended family. Mary Rokesby was Billie’s life-long best friend, and Mary’s slightly older brothers Edward and Andrew, who learned early that Billie could keep up with them and often best them, were also cherished companions. George Rokesby, Viscount Kennard, older than Andrew by five years and aware from an early age of his responsibilities as heir to his father’s earldom, was set apart from this foursome, a more serious and, at least regarding Billie, frequently disapproving figure.

Even at twenty-three, Billie remains the same free spirit, more interested in running an estate than in managing a household and adored by everyone despite her unconventional behavior—everyone but George Rokesby who still disapproves of her. Of course, when Billie (in her breeches) ends up stuck on the rooftop of a farmhouse with a sprained ankle after an attempt to rescue a cat, the irritating George has to be the one to come to her rescue. He’s no happier with the situation than Billie is, especially when the ladder falls and they both have to be rescued by Andrew, on medical leave from the Royal Navy with a broken arm.

Billie may lack all the feminine accoutrements and accomplishments George thinks necessary for any proper lady and certainly for his future countess, but somehow after their time on the roof, he can’t stop thinking of her courage and her humor and her eyes and other assorted body parts. On her part, Billie finds herself thinking of George far too often for her comfort. When Edward, the second Rokesby son, is reported missing during the American Revolution, the Countess of Manston insists that Billie accompany her and George to London. She has plans to find Billie a husband while George applies pressure to find news of Edward. George is not happy to think of Billie as the wife of some other man, but circumstances interfere with his plans to check his mother’s matchmaking. Can old frenemies overcome all obstacles and find the path to true love?

Julia Quinn moves backward to the 1770s and an earlier generation of Bridgertons in this first book in a new series. Nobody tops Quinn when it comes to light-hearted, banter-filled historical romance, and she gives her readers another cast of characters to adore in this scintillating addition to her oeuvre. From the moment George joins Billie on the roof, the reader is in no doubt that these two are on their way to an HEA, but the journey there is such fun that the predictability is irrelevant. Billie is a delight, and the more somber, more conventional George is just what she needs as balance. By the same token, she adds color and light to his somberness and a sense of belonging to his loneliness. It is easy to imagine this pair sharing a lifetime.

Quinn also succeeds once more in creating families that are endearing and interesting. Mary is already happily married, but Andrew Rokesby is clearly a charmer in want of a heroine, and Edward surely deserves an HEA. (I’d love to see him with an American heroine.) Billie’s younger sister is one of the novel’s most interesting characters, and there are two Bridgerton brothers and one Rokesby at Eton to round out the series once they grow up a bit. The first book in a series needs to capture the reader’s interest as a standalone and leave the reader hungry for more from this world. Quinn succeeds on both counts.

Reading Because of Miss Bridgerton, I was reminded of my favorite traditional Regencies. Even though this novel is chronologically a Georgian romance, it has the same charm that those beloved Regency romances possess. I consider this book another Quinn keeper, and, with a satisfied smile and an approving nod, I highly recommend it.

Addendum: I also must add that George makes a choice at one point that alone would have left me feeling the book was worth reading. I can’t say much for fear of spoilers, but he does something that I have longed for dozens of other heroes to do. Thank you, Julia Quinn!


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Today's Special - - Theresa Romain

It's my pleasure to welcome RITA-nominated historical romance author, Theresa Romain back to the Romance Dish today. Theresa's Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress was recently named a 2016 finalist for Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award in the Historical Romance:Short category and as a long-time fan of her writing, I could not be more thrilled. 

Theresa Romain is “one of the rising stars of Regency historical romance” (Booklist). A member of Romance Writers of America and its Regency specialty chapter The Beau Monde, Theresa is hard at work on her next novel from her home in the Midwest. Fortune Favors the Wicked is the first book in her new Royal Rewards series. For information about her other books, please visit her online at, or find her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Theresa joins us today to talk about the inspiration for Benedict Frost, the hero in her new book, Fortune Favors the Wicked. I adored him and his story! 

Where Heroes Come From

Every writer has a different way of dealing with writer’s block. Some take walks. Some watch movies. Some simply power through.

When I hit a block while writing Fortune Favors the Wicked, I went to the library and checked out a pile of books.

It’s not that the story wasn’t flowing. The plot was fun to write; after all, it’s a Regency treasure hunt. But I didn’t have a good handle on the hero. What was his personality? His backstory? The heroine was sassing him on every page, and he wasn’t lively enough to sass her back.

I turn to nonfiction when I want a change of pace from romance, and one of the books I’d checked out was The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, by Sam Kean. Sounds stuffy? Not at all. I’d read Kean’s first two books and enjoyed the mixture of science, history, and humor, and this one was just as good. I was reading along, trying to forget my troublesome work-in-progress…

…and then I got to a section of the book about a man named James Holman.

James Holman was a Regency-era naval lieutenant who went blind due to a tropical illness. Only then did he 1) begin studying medicine, 2) traveling the world, and 3) writing memoirs and travel books. Here, I’ll link to his Wikipedia page so you know I’m not making him up.

What an interesting person, right? True romance-hero fodder, you might even say.

One I read an additional biography of James Holman, the character of Benedict Frost came together seamlessly. Benedict has a personality all his own—he’s a flirt and a bit of a rascal—but his accomplishments are borrowed from James Holman. Finding his way around by echolocation? Holman did that. Writing books with the aid of a special editing device? Yep, Holman did that too.

What I learned from this experience (besides what a cool guy James Holman was) is that inspiration can be anywhere. When I stepped back from something that wasn’t working, I found exactly what I needed to move forward with the book. Benedict’s story is available today in print, ebook, and audio. I hope you love meeting him and Charlotte in Fortune Favors the Wicked.

To one random commenter, I’ll give a print copy of Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress—which also includes inspiration from a real-life historical figure. (Read the “About the Book” section on my site!) Just let me know: what’s your go-to method for finding inspiration? Or how do you most like to unwind? Giveaway open internationally.



As a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, Benedict Frost had the respect of every man on board—and the adoration of the women in every port. When injury ends his naval career, the silver-tongued libertine can hardly stomach the boredom. Not after everything—and everyone—he’s experienced. Good thing a new adventure has just fallen into his lap…

When courtesan Charlotte Perry learns the Royal Mint is offering a reward for finding a cache of stolen gold coins, she seizes the chance to build a new life for herself. As the treasure hunt begins, she realizes her tenacity is matched only by Benedict’s—and that sometimes adversaries can make the best allies. But when the search for treasure becomes a discovery of pleasure, they’ll be forced to decide if they can sacrifice the lives they’ve always dreamed of for a love they’ve never known…

Ebook: kindle • nook • kobo • ibooks • kensington • google

Monday, March 28, 2016

Review - - A Gentleman's Game

A Gentleman’s Game
By Theresa Romain
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: February 2, 2016


A Gentleman’s Game is the first novel in Romain’s Romance of the Turf series. Nathaniel Chandler is the younger son of Sir William Chandler. Both Chandler sons are part of the family horse training business, but Nathaniel’s relationship with his father is a tense one.  Years of traveling on his father’s business, successfully buying and selling horses and making other key decisions, have done little to alter the opinion of him his father formed when Nathaniel was a rebellious fifteen. Nathaniel is hungry for his father’s respect, but his every move seems only to reinforce Sir William’s conviction that his younger son is not to be trusted when the family’s reputation is at stake.

Returning from another successful sales trip, Nathaniel finds his father troubled by an inexplicable outbreak of colic among horses in the Chandler stable. Nathaniel proves himself competent and compassionate in his treatment of the ill horses, but even that is not sufficient to persuade Sir William that Nathaniel can be trusted. Sir William agrees to Nathaniel’s request to be in charge of moving two valuable horses from Newmarket to Surrey for a race only if Nathaniel is accompanied by Sir William’s secretary who will report directly to Sir William on how the journey is going.

Rosalind Agate is the baronet’s secretary. A recent employee, she has nevertheless quickly earned Sir William’s trust with her intelligence and quickness. What the Chandlers do not know is that Rosalind is a spy placed in their household by the woman who has been controlling Rosalind’s life for a decade. The woman known as Aunt Annie paid for the medical treatment of thirteen-year-old Rosalind who was severely burned in a fire. Since her recovery, Rosalind has been paying her debt to Annie by taking on the guise of maid, governess, and now secretary while serving at Annie’s command. Isolated from her family and unable to make friends, Rosalind is lonely and uncomfortable with her life of deceit. She also fears Annie is behind the poisoning of the Chandler horses.

A significant part of the story deals with Nathaniel and Rosalind’s road trip and the friendship that turns into romantic love which develops between them. They are both people whose lives have been limited by something that happened to them at an early age. They both yearn to break free to become more fully themselves, and their relationship, despite its implicit problems, allows them to do so. Readers will find themselves fully engaged with this appealing pair and rooting for their HEA.

I’ve been a Romain fan since her debut book, and it has been rewarding to see a good writer grow even better with each series. Nevertheless, I confess I had mixed emotions about the Romance of the Turf series. I had high expectations of Romain as a storyteller, but I was not enthusiastic about a horse racing series. The Sport of Baronets, the feuding-families novella that introduced the series, reassured me that the horse racing context would not overshadow the superb characterization that has kept me reading Romain, but I still had some reservations. After reading A Gentleman’s Game, I have none. I loved these characters! Rosalind is a wonderful heroine—smart, vulnerable, and utterly endearing. But it is Nathaniel who made this a five-star book for me. I have been in love with beta heroes since my early teens, and he is one of the best I have encountered. He has the charm, humor, and genuine kindness that characterize the true beta, and he has the strength and competence that belie the beta’s erroneous reputation as a wimp. Moreover, he is uniquely himself, an individual rather than a type. I adore him! Secondary characters add to the reader’s enjoyment. The relationship between Nathaniel and his father is authentic and touching, and Rosalind’s busy, open-hearted family is a joy.

The only note of dissatisfaction is the Aunt Annie subplot, which is a bit of a loose thread. However, I have confidence it will be tied up in a later book. The next novel in the series, A Rogue Never Rests, which will be released on October 4, 2016, is on my most-anticipated list. I highly recommend A Gentleman’s Game, especially for readers who enjoy characters who are a bit different. Despite Sir William’s title, these characters are refreshingly not the usual privileged aristocrats.


Friday, March 25, 2016

And the Finalists are...

Tessa Dare, 2015 RITA for Best Historical Romance: Short
It's that time again! Movie lovers have the Oscars, television lovers have the Emmys but for romance authors and readers, it's all about RITA!  Today, Romance Writers of America® (RWA) will announce the finalists for the best published books and unpublished manuscripts of 2015.  We'll be following the announcements here at TRD and dishing about our favorite books published last year.  And, because today is all about favorite romance books, I'll be giving away some books too. 

I'll fill in the finalists for each of the categories below as they are announced but I'm sure we all have our own thoughts about what books published in 2015 should be in those slots. 

Tell me about your favorite books published in 2015. 

Share your thoughts about the books that are announced today as finalists. Which ones do you think are favorites to win? 

If you were choosing the finalists, what book or books would you put in each category?

I've been cleaning again and have more books to give away. Three randomly chosen people who leave a comment will receive a package of books from my stash. (US only)

One randomly chosen international reader leaving a comment will receive their choice of one RITA nominated book from (value not to exceed $10)

Please include US or INT with your comments! 


Contemporary Romance: Long
Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are 84,000 or more words.

ONCE KISSED by Cecy Robson
FIRE ME UP by Kimberly Kincaid
REDEMPTION BAY by RaeAnne Thayne
LOVE ME SWEET by Tracy Brogan
RANSOM CANYON by Jodi Thomas

Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length
Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are between 56,000 and 84,000 words in length.

LOVE AFTER ALL by Jaci Burton
NOT A FAIRY TALE by Romy Sommer
ONCE PURE by Cecy Robson
HIM by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
JUST SAY YES by Elizabeth Hayley

Contemporary Romance: Short
Novels that are set from 1950 to present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are between 40,000 and 56,000 words in length.

HEATED MOMENTS by Phyllis Bourne
CHANCE OF A LIFETIME by Marissa Clarke
THE NANNY PLAN by Sarah M. Anderson

Erotic Romance
Novels in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may contain elements of other romance subgenres (such as paranormal, historical, etc.)

SAY MY NAME by J. Kenner
BREAK ME DOWN by Roni Loren
SUGAR by Seressia Glass

Historical Romance: Long
Novels that are set prior to 1950 and that are longer than 89,000 words.

TIFFANY GIRL by Deeanne Gist
TREMAINE'S TRUE LOVE by Grace Burrowes
IF THE VISCOUNT FALLS by Sabrina Jeffries

Historical Romance: Short
Novels that are set prior to 1950 and that are between 40,000 and 89,000 words.


Inspirational Romance
Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system) are an integral part of the plot.

THE RESCUED by Marta Perry
THE MOUNTAIN MIDWIFE by Laurie Alice Eakes
A LOVE LIKE OURS by Becky Wade
A NOBLE MASQUERADE by Kristi Ann Hunter

Paranormal Romance
Novels in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot.

MIDNIGHT'S KISS by Thea Harrison
SOULBOUND by Kristen Callihan
POSSESSED BY A WOLF by Sharon Ashwood
STARS OF FORTUNE by Nora Roberts

Romance Novella
Novellas that focus primarily on the romantic relationship.

"Her Secret Prince" by Madeline Ash
Blue Streak:A Blue Series Novella by Jules Barnard
"Let it Shine" by Alyssa Cole
Toward the Sunrise by Elizabeth Camden
All's Fair in Love and Scandal by Caroline Linden
One Little Kiss by Robin Covington
"Desert Heat" by Merline Lovelace
The Resurrection of Sam Sloan by Erin Quinn
Nice Girls Don't Ride by Roni Loren

Romantic Suspense
Novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

FACING FIRE by HelenKay Dimon
SHE CAN KILL by Melinda Leigh
IN THE WANING LIGHT by Loreth Anne White
FLASH FIRE by Dana Marton
FATAL FRENZY by Marie Force

Young Adult Romance
Novels in which young adult life is an integral part of the plot.

UNSPOKEN by C.C. Hunter
FOLLOWED BY FROST by Charlie N. Holmberg
RIKKI by Abigail Storm

Best First Book
A novel entered in another contest category. To be eligible, the author (or authors in the case of a writing team) shall not have had any other novel or novella previously commercially available in any format.

ALTERED by Marnee Blake
A NOBLE MASQUERADE by Kristi Ann Hunter
PAIRING OFF by Elizabeth Harmon
NIGHT HUSH by Leslie Jones


Contemporary Romance
Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are greater than 65,000 words.

"Shelter Me" by Gabrielle Luthy
"Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot" by Melonie Johnson
"Surrender to the Movie Star" by Melanie McCarthy
"Facade" by Susan Bickford 
"Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher" by Seana Kelly
"An Education" by Brooke Salisbury
"Off the Rails" by Monique Headley
"Smiling Underwater" by Sydney Carroll
"The Sniper's Second Shot" by Tracy Brody

Erotic Romance
Manuscripts in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of  the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These manuscripts may contain elements of other romance subgenres (such as paranormal, historical, etc.)

Historical Romance
Manuscripts that are set prior to 1950.

"The Earl and the Pussycat" by Elizabeth King
"The Impetuous Miss Milton" by Renee Ann Miller
"A Curious Correspondence" by Amelia Ridley
"An Unbridled Gentleman" by Eileen Emerson
"Taming the Earl" by Elizabeth King
"My Lord Mercenary" by Tracey Amey
"Wild Women and the Blues" by Denny S. Bryce
"Besotted with the Viscount" by Susanna Malcolm
"Undone" by Elizabeth Rue

Inspirational Romance
Manuscripts in which religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system) are an integral part of the plot.

"For the Love of Termites" by Kimberly MacCarron
"One More Breath" by Pamela Kopfler
"Scottish Warrior" by Laura Stolmeier

Paranormal Romance
Manuscripts in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot.

"Constant Craving" by Kari Cole
"Better Dead" by Pamela Kopfler
"Don't Call Me Cupcake" by Tara Sheets
"Kissed at Midnight" by Ainsley Wynter
"Taxing Courtship" by Janelle Lohr
"WOLFF:Rise of the Valdyr" by Alison Pritchard writing as Alyson McLayne

Romantic Suspense
Manuscripts in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

"Escape from the Harem" by Diana Belchase
"Four Tragedies" by Layla Reyne
"In the Wrong Sights" by Tracy Brody
"The Truth is in the Tango" by Arianna James
"Love in Hiding" by Diane Holiday
"Ruby Red by Melanie Novak

Short Contemporary Romance
Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship, and that are less than 65,000 words in length.

"Rescuing Riley" by Carrie Nichols

Young Adult Romance
Manuscripts in which young adult life is an integral part of the plot.  

"The Accidental Boyfriend" by Lori Freeland
"The Beekeeper" by Meg Kassel
"Senior Tag: The Underwear Games" by Sheri Adkins
"The Other Cheek" by McCall Hoyle

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Winner - - When a Laird Loves a Lady

The randomly chosen winner of a Kindle copy of

When a Laird Loves a Lady by Julie Johnstone is:



Please send your email address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Sheila Roberts Winner

The winner of the prize package from Sheila Roberts, including the

Peggy Sue Got Married DVD and a copy of Home on Apple Blossom Road is:

Pamela Devereux


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Hold Your Breath Winner

The randomly chosen winner of a print copy of

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle is:

Judi Hartman


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Review - - The Knave of Hearts

The Knave of Hearts
By Elizabeth Boyle
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: January 26, 2016

When the Tempest twins, Louisa and Lavinia, come to London, it is Lavinia who has the highest hopes of making an eligible marriage. Aware that her propensity for creating awkward situations may be a handicap, Lavinia is nevertheless unprepared for the results of a literal fall on the dance floor at Almack’s. The fall, which ultimately involves not only Lavinia but also a formidable number of London’s elite, is a disaster of such proportions that not all Lavinia’s careful rule abiding can overcome it. And then there is her mother’s transgression, an old scandal that has more lives than Louisa’s cat.   

Alaster “Tuck” Rowland understands the effects of scandal. He is aware of the accusations of cowardice that circulate around him since he failed to fight in the Napoleonic War in which one of his closest friends perished and another was severely wounded. In fact, it was seeing the latter engaged in physical conflict with a villain that leads Tuck to abandon Lavinia on the dance floor, thus causing the fiasco. Tuck was too inebriated at the time to realize the consequences of his action, but he belatedly recognizes his unwitting role in Lavinia’s downfall (pun intended). That recognition along with a vague sense that he owes a degree of loyalty to the Tempest sisters because they are the goddaughters of his uncle adds impetus to his determination to win his wager that he can turn them into the brightest diamonds of the season. But as Tuck and Lavinia spend time together, his reasons become deeply personal, and her concern for proper behavior is overcome by her feelings for the most improper Tuck.

The Knave of Hearts is the fifth book in Boyle’s Rhymes with Love series. It is not necessary to have read the full series to enjoy Tuck and Lavinia’s story, I do recommend reading the fourth book, The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane, because it is Louisa Tempest’s story and the sisters’ stories run parallel to one another.

Boyle has a knack for writing light books that are fun to read without leaving the reader feeling as if she has indulged in too many marshmallows. Tuck and Lavinia are likeable and amusing, and, despite the title, Tuck’s knavery is in a minor key. Although the danger the two face is real enough, the reader is never in doubt that this pair will find their way to a satisfying HEA. The sisterly exchanges are a plus and as much a part of the book’s success as is the banter between the romantic leads. If you like your romance mixed with humor, I suggest you add The Knave of Hearts to your list.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cover Reveal - - Race the Darkness

Abbie Roads, Susan Gee Heino, PJ

You meet the nicest people at romance conferences. Last summer, while waiting in line for a taxi to LaGuardia Airport after attending the 2015 RWA national conference, I struck up a conversation with two women standing behind me in line. We discovered we were all heading to the same airport and decided to share a cab. One of those women was the delightful Abbie Roads, a then-unpublished author. Today, eight months later, I'm very excited to reveal the cover of Race the Darkness, a dark, gritty, emotional, and sexy romantic suspense novel by debut author Abbie Roads!

It’s precisely 7:22 pm ET, the sun has just set in the east, and it’s starting to get dark...

First in a gripping paranormal romantic suspense duo by a Golden Heart finalist debut author whose clinical work gives her chilling insights...

Cursed with a terrible gift

Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.

That threatens to engulf them...
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.


Abbie Roads is a mental health counselor known for her
blunt, honest style of therapy. By night she writes dark, emotional novels, always giving her characters the happy ending she wishes for all her clients. Her novels have finaled in RWA contests including the Golden Heart. Race the Darkness is the first book in the Fatal Dreams series of dark, gritty romantic suspense with a psychological twist.

Dear Readers,

I wrote Race the Darkness from start to finish three different times, with three different story lines, and with three different titles! The only thing that ever remained the same between the versions was Xander and Isleen. I believed in them and the story they wanted to tell. I hope you love reading about their tragedies and triumphs as much as I enjoyed writing them… All three times! And isn’t the cover amazing, beautiful, gorgeous? I cried the first time I saw it! It made all the hard work to get this book to you worth it!

Abbie Roads 

P.S. I would love to connect with you and hear what you think about the cover! You can find me here: 
· Twitter

An excerpt from Race the Darkness

No fucking way was he going to die running. He stopped, turned and faced the truck barreling toward them. The tires ate up the ground at an indecent rate. He clutched Isleen tighter to his chest. For her sake, he wanted it to be a quick death. No more lingering. No more pain.

That thought infuriated him. None of this was right. They shouldn’t be on the verge of death. Again.

The truck kept coming—twenty-five feet.

Everything slowed, happened as if through the quicksand of time. A white dandelion floaty meandered on the breeze directly between them and the truck. His heart no longer ran a staccato rhythm. Duh…duhm.Pause. Duh…duhm.


His life didn’t flash before his eyes. The future did. Isleen’s future. In an ethereal dream beyond time, her skin was gilded by firelight, her eyes void of sadness and fear, her body whole and healthy. She smiled, an expression so full of warmth and tenderness and undiluted joy that it plunked itself down inside his heart and wouldn’t leave.

He ached to create that kind of smile on her face, but their lives were over and it all could’ve gone so differently if he’d only listened to her, believed in her, found her years before now.