Friday, March 31, 2017

Coming Attractions

Who's ready for spring? We're rolling into the fourth month of 2017 with hopes of gentle rains, beautiful flowers, and great books. Here's what's blooming at The Romance Dish during the month of April.

Friday, April 7 brings a review of Finding Our Forever by Brenda Novak as part of her book blog tour. This book (released March 21) kicks off Novak's Silver Springs contemporary romance series for Harlequin Special Edition. 

***Rescheduled to Thursday, April 20.***
Emily March will join me for a Q&A on Monday, April 10. Emily has a very special personal project to share with us. On the book front, her next Eternity Springs novel, A Stardance Summer will be released June 27. 

Wednesday, April 12 brings the No Getting Over a Cowboy review tour to the Dish. I've fallen for Delores Fossen's sexy men of Wrangler's Creek and can't wait to discover what she has in store for town favorite, Garrett Granger. 

Janga turns her focus on another reissued novel in this month's On Second Thought review.  

On Monday, April 17 we welcome the Susan Mallery excerpt tour for her July book, Secrets of the Tulip Sisters. Don't miss this tour stop. There's a terrific giveaway to help you ring in spring in blooming style! 

Lenora Bell returns for a Q&A on Tuesday, April 18, the same day her third Disgraceful Dukes historical romance, Blame it on the Duke releases. For fans of the series, this newest book is the story of Nick, Lord Hatherly and the delightfully outspoken and original Miss Alice Tombs (from How the Duke Was Won). 

Tracy Brogan joins me for a Q&A on Wednesday, April 19. Her April 18 release, My Kind of You is filled with the humor and heart I've come to expect from her books. In fact, this one was so good that I was still wide awake, reading and laughing myself silly, at 3:00 am! 

I've been thoroughly enjoying Nancy Herkness' Wager of Hearts billionaires and the women who love them for who they are rather than what they have. On Friday, April 21, Nancy will join me for a Q&A about The VIP Doubles Down, the final book in the trilogy, which releases April 18. Finally, we'll find out what's really hiding behind best-selling author Gavin's sarcastic exterior and meet the woman who wins his heart. 

Julia London's Hard-Hearted Highlander tour comes to the Dish on Monday, April 24. The tagline for this third book in London's The Highland Grooms series, releasing April 25, is An indomitable governess...a brooding Highlander...a forbidden affair. Yes...Yes...and Yes!  

Hunky heroes, rescued dogs, and heartwarming romance: you know I'm on board with this one! Roxanne "Rocki" St. Claire has it all in Sit...Stay...Beg, the first book in her The Dogfather series, which will be released April 24. Rocki will join me for a Q&A on Tuesday, April 25 to talk about the new stories, those great covers (real guys - not professional models and actual rescue dogs!), and the no-kill animal rescue that will benefit from a portion of the book sales. 

The last weekend of April I'll be attending the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is my first time and I'm very excited to meet other readers, catch up with authors I've met before, and meet new ones. Will any of you be there? If you could attend an author/reader event, who would you most like to meet? 

That's what we're looking forward to here at The Romance Dish. What are you looking forward to this April? 

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment before 11:00 PM (EST), April 1, 2017 will receive a package of books. 
(U.S. only)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Review - - A Small Town Bride

A Small Town Bride
by Hope Ramsay
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Reviewed by Santa

Amy Lyndon has everything a girl could ask for. Tons of clothes, a snazzy sports car and lots of money to spend. Well, it’s not her money. It’s her father’s money and her ride on the gravy train is about to get derailed. Fed up with her out of control spending, her father presents an ultimatum - marry the man of her family’s dreams or go out on your own. Amy walks out into the world on her own and quickly finds out what it means not to have a dime to her name. But what her father doesn’t count on is although she doesn’t have any resources, she does have resilience.

She applies for a wedding planner position but lands a landscaper one instead. Challenge accepted. She’ll start from the bottom even if the bottom means she works for the local bad boy.

Dusty McNeil has enough trouble without having to babysit a spoiled little rich girl and Amy proves to be anything but.

Together they discover an attraction that goes beyond the physical. They discover they are kindred spirits that are not defined by who they are related to by blood. They become one another’s true north. Not to be manipulated by anyone to suit their needs. They have needs and wants of their own.

I really enjoyed this book and was delighted to find out it was part of a series.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Julie Johnstone Winners

The three randomly chosen winners of a Kindle copy of

When a Laird Loves a Lady by Julie Johnstone are:

Nicki Salcedo




Please send your email address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Review - - The Highland Duke

The Highland Duke
By Amy Jarecki
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Reviewed by Hellie

Set in the early 18th century during the first Jacobite rebellion, Amy Jarecki’s new series, Lords of the Highlands, The Highland Duke features a lord and servant type of trope with a born-and-raised wealthy chieftain lord and a poor gypsy healer. Geordie, the Duke of Gordon, is wounded in a Jacobite skirmish and Akira, the tinker-healer, saves him and then agrees to continue to treat him until he’s safe back at his Highland home for the exorbitant price of ten shillings. They are from completely different worlds, but are drawn to each other despite the obvious heartbreak headed their way should they give into their desires for each other.

On their heels is an English redcoat (think of Black Jack Randall from Outlander), and Geordie and Akira have to depend on each other to reach his home in safety. Once safely there, Geordie insists on having her escorted back home; however, by now Akira is also being hunted by the men who want to find a traitorous Highland lord part of the Jacobite rebellion--and the traitorous wench who helped the one they had escape. Capturing one such as Geordie will result in wealth, prestige, and lands for someone like the redcoat who hunts him...or even Geordie’s frenemy, the Duke of Atholl.

In addition to these complications, when the couple does admit their love for each other, getting married would be impossible. For one, a duke does not marry a impoverished gypsy, even if he has wealth enough for that aspect not to matter. Marrying a gypsy would be the equivalent of interracial marriage in the 1950s: illegal and unheard of by those with titles. In addition, the duke is divorced from his first wife and a divorce in this time period does not allow for a second marriage, while the first wife is still living.

Full of action and dark complications, The Highland Duke will likely engage readers who enjoy highlander romances and may especially enjoy one set in a time period a little different than the usual mid-1800s or post-Culloden or pre-Scottish Independence. Both characters are likeable and complex, but at times, I felt the romance seemed a bit pushed. (I myself do not like romantic interludes that happen either during or right after one has been escaping for their lives--I don’t think that is the time. However, that is my particular preference. Also as a preference, I’m not keen on the lord and servant trope simply because that kind of power-struggle and the historical/societal attitudes make it hard for me to believe they’d be overcome.) However, Jarecki does a sufficient job showing the evolution of the duke’s struggles in just these areas so one could believe for this couple, a happily ever after was the logical conclusion. And the heroine’s strength of character to not accept less than an honorable relationship is also admirable and made the character a very “rootable” character.

If you can still read books without picking apart plots or characterization* (you lucky thing), this book may rate even higher for you. Jarecki has an excellent author’s note at the end, explaining where she got the idea and what liberties she took when writing. If you don’t care about any of that, then welcome to another delicious series of heroes in kilts!

I do have to say, the final escape scene of near certain death alone makes this novel worth reading. Hilarious and action-packed. Enjoy!

*I was a history minor (junkie) in college and I annoy the crap out of my friends with historical detail that no one likes to focus on, let alone think about in regards to romance. It’s helpful in Trivia Pursuit, unhelpful when it comes to reading a lot of fiction...or conversing with most teenagers.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Excerpt Tour - - Renegade's Pride

Renegade's Pride
By B. J. Daniels
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: February 28, 2017

It's been nine years since Trask Beaumont left Gilt Edge, Montana, with an unsolved crime in his wake, and Lillian Cahill has convinced herself she's finally over him. But when the rugged cowboy with the easy smile suddenly shows up at her bar, there's a pang in her heart arguing the attraction never faded. And that's dangerous, because Trask has returned on a mission to clear his name and win Lillie back. 
Tired of running, Trask knows he must uncover the truth of the past before he can hope for a future with the woman he's never forgotten. But if Lillie's older brother, the sheriff, learns that Trask is back in town, he'll arrest him for murder. Now Trask is looking for a showdown, and he won't leave town again without one—or without Lillie.


When she turned back, Trask was gone. Lillie blinked. It was as if he hadn’t been there at all. And yet her heart still thundered in her chest. If she di­aled 9-1-1, Flint would come running.
She stood, the gun in her hand growing heavy, the phone just one keystroke away from the sher­iff’s department dispatcher. Trask. He’d come back.
And now he was gone. Again. Had she not been sane, she might have believed that she’d conjured up his image from a desire she’d spent years trying hard to bury. But she hadn’t dreamed him. He’d left be­hind his boot prints in the dirt, and even if her eyes had deceived her, her heart had not.
Trask was back. Conflicting emotions warred in­side her. Trask, after all these years. She pocketed her phone and slowly lowered the gun as she began to shake all over. Tears burned her eyes. Why would he come back now? How could he come back, know­ing how dangerous it was for him?
Tucking the gun into the waistband of her jeans and covering it with her shirt again, she turned to find her brother standing a few yards away. Had he seen Trask?
“Have you lost your mind?” Darby demanded, making her fear she had. Before she could respond, he continued, “You leave Dad alone in the bar? Alone in a bar stocked with bright shiny bottles of booze? Didn’t you just get him out of jail?” He stopped his rant to frown. “What are you doing out here, any­way?”
She said the first thing that came to mind that might make sense. “Thought I saw a bear. Didn’t want it getting in the trash again.”
“We have worse problems in the bar. Come take care of your father,” he said only half-jokingly.
“He’s your father too,” she pretended to remind him as she followed him. Inside, she found Ely be­hind the bar with a bottle of whiskey clutched in his hand and a big grin on his face.
“I’ll be in the back,” Darby said with a disgusted shake of his head. “Apparently, you promised him a Johnson breakfast.” It had been their mother’s spe­cialty named after her family.
The moment Darby disappeared in the back, her father asked, “Find what you was lookin’ for out there?” He was no longer grinning. Nor it seemed had he indulged in the whiskey. Darby’d had no rea­son to worry. Their father had only been pretending to start the day with whiskey.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

NYT and USA Today Bestselling author B.J. Daniels was born in Texas but moved with her family to Montana at the age of five. Her first home was a cabin in the Gallatin Canyon and later a lake house on Hebgen Lake outside of West Yellowstone. Most of her books are set in Montana, a place she loves. She lives now in a unique part of the state with her husband and three Springer Spaniels.When she isn’t writing, she loves to play tennis, boat, camp, quilt and snowboard. There is nothing she enjoys more than curling up with a good book.

Connect with B. J. Daniels

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Check out the other tour stops for Renegade's Pride.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Review - - When a Highlander Loses His Heart

When a Highlander Loses His Heart
By Julie Johnstone
Highlander Vows:Entangled Hearts - Book 4
Release Date: March 27, 2017
Reviewed by PJ

Growing up in a convent wasn't easy for Isobel Campbell but she took solace in the knowledge that her beloved father had delivered her there shortly after her birth to keep her safe from his enemies. She lived for the annual visits from him and her brothers and dreamed of the day when she would leave with them instead of being left behind. That day finally arrived when Isobel turned 18 and her brother arrived to escort her home but what awaited her at her family's castle was not what she had anticipated and challenged everything she had grown up believing to be true. Who was her betrayer, who was trying to protect her, and is it possible that her ultimate happiness and safety could be with those whom she had been taught were her enemy? 

Graham MacLeod is determined to avenge his family for the atrocities committed against his sister and sister-in-law by the Campbells. What better way than to abduct Isobel Campbell, the heiress due to inherit from her grandmother a castle that holds enormous power in the struggle between Scotland's king and those who would steal his throne, and deliver her to the king. Driven by guilt for his part in past events, hatred for his enemies, and love of his family, Graham is not prepared for the reality of Isobel, a woman vastly different from what he expects, nor the feelings she generates in him. Is she as innocent as she appears or as clever and deceitful as the rest of her family? And, when it comes time to hand her over, will Graham fulfill his duty to his king or to his heart?

Julie Johnstone has quickly become one of my favorite authors writing Medieval romance and the MacLeods, one of my favorite families. I wasn't too sure about Graham in the previous books but in When a Highlander Loses His Heart, Johnstone does an outstanding job of slowing peeling away the layers of this proud warrior to reveal the vulnerable and wary heart of a man who believes himself unworthy of love, allowing the reader a better understanding of his actions, past and present. Why and how he reached this conclusion lives at the center of his inability to trust Isobel with his heart and stands between him and true happiness. Isobel is a wonderfully developed character and the perfect match for Graham, if only he realizes it in time. Though she is innocent in some ways, she's also brave, independent, strong-willed, and possesses a heart filled with compassion and understanding. She'll need all of those qualities if she's to bring both the king and Graham around to her way of thinking. 

Once again, Johnstone surrounds our main couple with a rich secondary cast that contributes to the story without detracting from the primary romance. MacLeod heroes and heroines from previous books have key roles, intriguing new characters are introduced, and the villains remain as diabolical as ever. Filled with political intrigue, fast-paced action, life or death battles, a proud, loyal, and loving family, and a heartfelt romance, all set within the vibrantly drawn highlands of 14th century Scotland, this is one more Julie Johnstone book that kept me eagerly turning the pages well past my bedtime. It's earned a place on my keeper shelf where I'm sure it will be revisited again.

For a richer reading experience and a more complete understanding of the MacLeod clan, and Graham in particular, I strongly recommend reading the following three books in order: When a Laird Loves a Lady, Wicked Highland Wishes, and When a Highlander Loses His Heart. I loved them all!

Do you enjoy enemies to lovers stories?

Are you a fan of romances set in Medieval times? Why or why not?

Have you read Julie Johnstone's books?

I'm giving away three Kindle copies of the first book in the series, When a Laird Loves a Lady. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Giveaway ends at 11:00 PM (EST), March 28, 2016.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Review - - Unstrung

by Laura Spinella
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Reviewed by Maria Lokken

Olivia Klein is a world class violinist with the Boston Symphony.  She’s married to Rob Van Doren, a man who operates in the world of high finance and risky investments - one of those investments just lost Olivia her family’s home.  Olivia is so distraught at the loss she takes a baseball bat and destroys Rob’s beloved Porsche. Forced to do community service in lieu of jail time, Olivia ends up in the Dorchester section of Boston, helping kids in a school that has more police officers patrolling the halls than teachers, and metal detectors instead of instruments and music stands. 

Her choice of community service is the turning point which will affect everything and everyone in her life. As the reader gets deeper into the story they discover Olivia’s life appears to be one thing on the surface, but like a Russian nesting doll there are secrets hidden beneath the layers. Everyone in her life gets some version of the truth, and when her ex-husband comes to town to ask for forgiveness, her life begins to unravel like a knitting ball tossed to the floor by a playful kitten. 

This story is a multi-layered mosaic of how Olivia became Olivia and what moves her.  Ms. Spinella weaves a complex story, chapter by chapter.  In many respects the book plays out much like an episodic series on HBO with each chapter adding another revelation to the overall story arc.

Nothing is as it seems, and everything will be different when you finally reach the end of the book.  Will the reader get a happy ending?  Yes.  Will it be what you expected? I’m not the one to say. I can say I would certainly read another of Ms. Spinella’s books.  She has a terrific wit, and creates dialogue that sets the tone and gives breath to each character. 

I’m always amazed when I read a work of fiction where the author has created a world that comes to life, a living drama before my eyes.  Those are the best kinds of reads.  That’s what this author has accomplished with “Unstrung.” A work of fiction that’s come to life, beautifully and sometimes tragically played out, in a world I couldn’t stop ‘watching’.

In the last six months, what book have you read that kept you up late at night?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Review - - Meant for You

Meant for You
By Michelle Major
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Reviewed by Janga

Jenny Castelli has come a long way since high school. Her dream of opening her own gardening center has come true, and she is proud to be senior consultant to the design team at Rocky Mountain Landscapes, the company owned by her long-time best friend, Ty Bishop. But not all Jenny’s rough edges have been polished away, and the rough edges dominate during a chance encounter with two of the former mean girls who reigned in the exclusive private school that Jenny attended through the benevolence of Eric Bishop, Ty’s father and her mother’s employer. When the two women, whose behavior shows little change since the high school days that are more than a decade behind them, taunt Jenny about her high school boyfriend and call Jenny’s twelve-year-old son fathered by said boyfriend a “mistake,” Jenny’s temper and ungoverned mouth take over. She hints that her fiancé is more than a match for her ex in wealth and status and declares that he is eager to be a father to her son. Her former classmates leap to the conclusion that the “fiancé” is Owen Dalton, and they are soon spreading the word on social media that Jenny and Owen will attend the class reunion.

Jenny’s description fits Owen Dalton in every detail. He is wealthy and powerful; his microprocessors and mesh networks revolutionized the tech industry. He is also kind and genuine. Once he was crazy about Jenny, but she broke up with him in a particularly brutal fashion two years ago. Jenny must choose between two humiliating choices: she can let her old enemies discover that she was lying, or she can ask the man whose heart she broke to play the role of fiancé for the night of the reunion. No one is more surprised than Jenny when he says yes—with conditions.

Owen intends to say no. He has no intention of playing the fool for Jenny again, but his good memories of Jenny and her son, Cooper, have him agreeing to be her fiancé for one night. However, he demands that she in return play his fiancé for a week when he returns home for his brother’s wedding. All it takes to prove the sparks between these two are still capable of igniting is for them to spend time together. But old wounds that have them believing they are not enough and don’t deserve the happiness they desire make them wary of trusting themselves and each other. Can they learn to follow their hearts?

I read this book after I had read too many novels that were more about overpowering lust and the lead characters engaging in sex in multiple forms and positions than they were about two people falling in love and experiencing emotional intimacy as potent and rewarding as physical intimacy. Meant for You was a breath of fresh air and a reminder of why I love contemporary romance. Jenny and Owen are endearing characters—wounded, flawed, and essentially likable. With their daddy issues and their sense of not measuring up, they are far more alike than either realizes. Theirs is a second-chance-at-love story that follows a history which makes such a chance seem impossible. Add a male makeover thread and an adorable kid who made me laugh to that second chance and the book proved irresistible.

Meant for You is the fourth novel in Michelle Major’s Denver-set series, following Kissing Mr. Right, Recipe for Kisses, and Tell Me Again, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Readers familiar with characters from the other books will doubtless be pleased to see them playing supporting roles in this book, but my ignorance of their stories did not affect my enjoyment of this one. I did, however, like this one so much that I later downloaded the other three.

If you like contemporary romance with characters who captivate, stories that sustain your interest, and an emotional punch strong enough to remind you that a good romance is as much about the hungers of the heart as it is about sexual desires, I recommend that you add this book to your TBR list. I know I will be keeping an eye out for other books from this author.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

RITA Winners

The three U.S. winners of a package of books are:

Annette Naish

Cheryl C


Please send your full name and mailing address to

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

The international winner of a RITA-nominated book from
 (not to exceed $10 US) is:

Bridget C

Please send your full name, mailing address, and choice of book to

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Today's Special - - Spotlight on Rebecca Brooks' Make Me Beg

Today, we're turning our spotlight on Rebecca Brooks, a new author writing sexy, contemporary romance. Rebecca lives in New York City, in an apartment filled with books. She has a PhD in English and is an intrepid explorer; backpacking her way across India and Brazil, traveling by cargo boat down the Amazon, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, exploring ice caves in Peru and more. She likes outdoorsy guys with muscle and heart and independent women ready to try something new.  

Rebecca's Men of Gold Mountain series for Entangled finds outdoorsy guys and strong, independent women tangling the sheets (and buffing the local hangout’s wooden bar) in a remote ski village in Washington’s breathtakingly beautiful Cascade Mountains.

Turns out Rebecca is a strong, independent woman herself who’d rather lace up hiking boots than zip into a cocktail dress. She does enjoy a good bar now and then. Most of the action in her March 20 novel, MAKE ME BEG, takes place in that ski village’s colorful watering hole, The Dipper. And, to celebrate this delightful, sexy book, Rebecca’s running a Name Your Favorite Bar Contest for readers—how much fun is that?! More about the contest below and how you can enter. But first, let’s welcome Rebecca to The Romance Dish!

Rebecca: Thank you so much for having me! I always love talking about books, mountains, and my favorite beers!

So the idea for MAKE ME BEG popped into your mind while you were in a bar? Did you do a lot of (wink-wink) elbow-bending bar research for this story?!

Rebecca:  (Laughing) Truly, I’m not a frequent bar flyer, but I like craft beers, and when I travel, especially in the U.S., I like trying different local brews that I can’t get at home.

Any fun stories related to that?

Rebecca: I’ve wound up with a good number of pint glasses I’ve picked up during my travels. I like that I have memories associated with the glasses. For example, my best friend had her wedding at a small brewery in Seattle, and I have a glass that I got from there when my husband and I went with her to check out the venue beforehand. It’s got a bicycle on it and always makes me smile when I use it. My husband threatens to weed out the collection—how many glasses do two people need? But no way I’m letting that happen! Plus, he collects 45 records, so we’re even.

While we’re on the bar topic, tell us about your Name Your Favorite Bar Contest.

Rebecca:  I wanted to hear readers’ stories about their favorite bars (or similar hangouts) they’ve come across, so I launched this contest, and the winner will receive a $100 VISA gift card. I’m thinking the winner could host a fun night with their friends at their current favorite spot. All readers need to do to enter is post on Facebook or Instagram, in 75 words or less, about their favorite bar, past or present. (For example, one friend I know met her husband in a bar.) The post needs to include this hashtag #makemebegcontest. A photo is not required (except on Instagram, because, well, it’s Instagram), but photos are welcome! I have a team of judges who will pick their favorite five, and I’ll then post those on my website, and readers will vote to pick the winner! Deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. March 31, 2017. So ready, set, post!

Where did you learn to write? Or were you born with the gift?

Rebecca: My mom is an editor, and when I was growing up, she would read all the papers I had to write for school. She was serious with her red pen! I like to say that she taught me to write, in the sense that she taught me how to approach my work with a critical eye. I feel like I’ve always been writing, but having that early understanding of writing as editing and rewriting has always helped me.

Do you do a lot of rewriting when penning a book?

Rebecca: I write a first draft as quickly as possible, and then I have something to work with. But that only works because I’ve trained myself to park in front of the computer and get that first draft out, and then see my work critically enough to be able to edit it thoroughly and not be afraid to cut, rearrange and basically butcher what I have.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Rebecca: When I was in the first grade, and we had to write stories every week. We’d get a stapled-together booklet to write in/draw on, so it felt like making a book. I was hooked. I’ve really only ever wanted to be a writer, so then I was stuck with two questions. What was I going to do to support myself financially while writing, and what kind of writing did I want to do?

We hear you’re a hiker extraordinaire. Do you go to all the places you write about in your books?

Rebecca: I love when books feel rooted in a sense of place, like they have to take place where and when they do and wouldn’t be the same book if written any other way. The setting connects to so many senses. It also shapes what the characters do and experience and what conflicts or complications arise. I rely on my own experiences to convey the overall feel of a place as well as specific details that make it come alive.

So tell us about your setting research for MAKE ME BEG. 

Rebecca: MAKE ME BEG and the Men of Gold Mountain series overall is set in the north Cascade Mountains in Washington State. I went there specifically to check it out as a place to set a series. I wanted to create a small ski town at the center of the books and use Mt. Baker as my model. The world of Gold Mountain is made up, but I couldn’t have done it without drawing on the hiking trip I took to explore the area.

You were born in Boston. Did you grow up there? How did this early life experience affect who you are today?

Rebecca: I was born just outside Boston and grew up there; my parents still live in the same house we moved to when I was two. As an adult I can appreciate what an idyllic place it is to live—tree-lined streets; very walkable; close to the city as well as mountains, beaches, lakes and farmland; a good school system, and lots of amenities. But, like a lot of kids, I just wanted to travel, see the world as soon as I could strike out on my own.

A birdie told us you took a gap year after high school.

Rebecca: And I traveled to India, with a few clothes in a backpack and not a whole lot of plans. I went hiking, taught an art class, learned stone carving, worked as a research assistant, and spent a lot of time writing. I think it took getting out of the area where I grew up to give me the perspective and courage to push back against expectations and think about what I really wanted—for example, to leave academia to become a romance novelist instead!

Wow! You were brave!

Rebecca: Well, that wasn’t my first experience away from home. When I was fifteen my dad and I went to Nepal and hiked the Himalayas in the Mt. Everest region. It blew my mind to see a part of the world that was so different—and so unbelievably beautiful. And to go on a trip like that with my dad felt really special.

Any other special trips with your dad?

Rebecca:  So many! When I was in college we climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and we usually give our hiking boots a good work-out a few times a year. Earlier this year, my mom, dad and I went to the Galapagos Islands, which was truly a once in a lifetime experience. 

Do you always go abroad for your hiking trips?

Rebecca: There’s always so much to explore, but having
spent so much of my childhood hiking in New England, those are the places that feel most like “home” and the most beautiful to me. My husband and I love to take day trips to hike in the Hudson Valley. We also like to take a long weekend or even a week or two to drive up to the Catskills, the Adirondacks, western Massachusetts or Vermont and rent a little place to be our home base while we go off and take day hikes.  For the past few years my dad and I have also been hiking in the southwest in the spring, the perfect time of year to beat the summer heat—and crowds! We’re talking about adding in a hiking trip in Georgia, Tennessee, or North Carolina after the RT Booklovers’ Convention in Atlanta in May. My dad is semi-retired, so anytime I say I want to go somewhere, he’s ready to pack!

Do your lead characters do a lot of hiking in MAKE ME BEG?

Rebecca: Actually, no. They both work long hours in The Dipper, where Mack Ellinsworth is the bartender, and Connor is the ripped and rugged cook who loves to give Mack a hard time. All the regulars see through their sniping and know they’ve had the hots for each other for years but have never crossed the line. That all changes when the bar’s owner decides the place needs a makeover to help boost the business. Mack and Connor compete for the right to remake The Dipper in their dream image. The only home Mack has ever known was a bar whose owner took her in as a teenager and saved her from the streets. So she likes the bar much like it is, a casual local hangout. But Connor? Trained as a restaurant chef, he wants to convert The Dipper into a first class dining destination. They spend a lot of time together trying to reconcile their visions—and the fiery hot heat simmering between them. Let’s just say after reading MAKE ME BEG, you might not ever look at one of those hard, wooden bars in quite the same way. J

Sounds like fun, Rebecca! Thanks for dishing with us today.

Rebecca: It’s been fun! All of you Romance Dishers, don’t forget to enter my Name Your Favorite Bar Contest by March 31

To read an excerpt of Mack and Connor’s hot story, visit, and visit my Facebook page for my latest hiking and writing adventures!

Readers, do you enjoy hiking? Exploring? Taking long walks?

Where in the world would you most like to adventure?

Do you have a favorite local hangout (bar, restaurant, etc) where everyone gathers?