Posts in the Contemporary genre


Q&A: Anne Calhoun of UNDER THE SURFACE

Under The Surface Anne Calhoun

Today we take a peek into the mind of Anne Calhoun, author of the ever-so-steamy Alpha Ops series! Her latest installment, Under the Surface, is out now!


What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?


Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Bridget Jones’ Diary

Sense and Sensibility

Bright Star (a romance with a very unhappy ending, but gorgeously filmed)

Describe your favorite scene from each one.

Persuasion: The scene where Wentworth hands Anne up into the carriage when he sees she’s tired. So thoughtful, and he can’t bear to look at her afterwards.

Pride and Prejudice: The scene where Darcy scurries to catch up with Elizabeth after the wet shirt scene. We see how far he’s come, that he’s willing to be caught in such an undignified situation but then go after her.

Bridget Jones’ Diary: the fight scene between Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy. It’s ridiculous to watch these two Cambridge-educated men scrabble around in an attempt to hurt each other. So funny.

Sense and Sensibility: When Colonel Brandon staggers in, soaked to his skin, carrying Marianne, then collapses to his knees with exhaustion. “Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad.” So controlled. So in love.

Bright Star: the scene where Keats and Fanny Brawne are sitting together, touching each other’s hands.

Did you have any of these scenes in mind when writing scenes from your latest release?

Not a one!

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Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: Nacho Figueras Presents HIGH SEASON by Jessica Whitman

High Season by Jessica Whitman

Confession: We’re a little bit like an overbearing mom that taste tests all your food when you’re at a restaurant, but with books. And trust us, this one? This is so good! We’ve got a taste of Nacho Figueras Presents: High Season by Jessica Whitman that you’ll want entirely for yourself! And lucky you, it’s out today!

Alejandro glanced across the room at the sound of his brother laughing and tried to see whoever he was talking to. He got a glimpse of a pretty face, animated by conversation, before Rory moved to loom over her and obscure the view.

He realized his audience were waiting for a reaction and smiled and nodded at the ring of people around him, trying to concentrate on the story that the socialite in the tight turquoise dress was telling and hoping he was hiding how claustrophobic he felt.

He hated these press events. Every which way he turned, someone waited to talk to him, touch him, demanding his attention. He knew it was part of the job – and he tried his best to satisfy – but the longer he stood, grinning like a fool and saying the same polite and predictable things over and over, the more horrifically restless he became.  The mandatory mingling was bad enough when his team had won; but forced jollity after a loss like today’s added serious insult to injury.

Sebastian laughed even louder, and Alejandro turned his head again. He saw Sebastian break away to get a refill on his drink.  Fantastic – just what he needed – Sebastian on the rampage.

Alejandro took that as his cue, quickly excusing himself before he was caught up in another round of unbearably inane conversation.

He wound his way through the crowd, past women sporting spray-on dresses and customer service smiles and sought out his teammates.

He strode over toward his brother, laid one hand on his shoulder, and took the champagne from his hand. He spoke to him in quick, low Spanish. “Che, hermano, I thought we agreed not to drink during the season?”

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Swoon-Worthy Heroes

Swoon-Worthy Heroes: Grayson from Drop Dead Diva

I admit that sometimes, you just have to binge watch a show you used to watch on air and several weeks ago, I was searching for something to help me get out of my own head and I stopped on Drop Dead Diva. Have you ever watched it? Drop Dead DivaIt is about an aspiring model who dies in a car crash, but when she gets to Heaven, she hits the return button, and she ends up coming back to life in Jane’s body. return Deb isn’t happy about going from tall, thin, and blonde to a short, size sixteen brunette, but the biggest adjustment is losing her fiancé, Grayson, who happens to work with Jane at the Harrison and Parker law firm. 

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “The Wounds That Shape Us” by Toni J Strawn

Not For a Moment Toni J. Strawn

We all carry wounds. The internal flaws that mark our character are created by events in our lives which form us…cause us to create shields or barriers to prevent getting hurt in the same way again. That is what a great hero or heroine is built of—their character arc sweeps them along from flawed and injured, through the story to find true love.

But what if a wound is more obvious that that? The external scars and flaws from injury and disease that confront our hero or heroine. A scarred face or noticeable limp, wasted limbs or ill-health that can often define our characters. There is something about the struggle to battle both a physical and physiological injury that grabs at our hearts and has us rooting for our hero to succeed against seemingly insurmountable odds to find love.

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Steals & Deals

Deal Alert: Jennifer Coburn, Susan Ee, and Collette Cameron

Having a hard time surviving hump day? Here’s a goodie bag of survival treats just for you! We’ve brought you titles you’ll love from Jennifer Coburn, Susan Ee, and Collette Cameron!

Reinventing Mona by Jennifer Coburn
Reinventing Mona by Jennifer Coburn

What’s new? Me, for starters… It all began when my job offered me a buyout package. That’s when the realization hit: I’m young, I’m rich (thanks to a hefty inheritance), and I’m boring. Things are gonna change-starting now… Building a better man trap… First things first: Exercise. Carrot juice. Straight hair. Whiter teeth. Clothes that fit. But wait-there’s more. I’m finally ready to take a chance on love with the perfect guy. He’s handsome. He’s smart. He’s reliable. He’s my CPA. Problem is, I’m clueless about winning him over. It’s time to call in an expert. It’s time to call in The Dog. Down, boy. Mike “The Dog” Dougherty is a man’s man. A guy’s guy. Okay, he’s a chauvinist pig, and his sty is “The Dog House,” a testosterone-charged column in Maximum for Him magazine. On one hand, I abhor all he stands for. On the other hand, who better to coach me? So here I am. Learning the complex unspoken language of the American male (Talk, bad. Sex, good.); trying exciting new things (Stripping lessons are empowering. Really.); falling for Mike. Uh oh. But the Mike I’m getting to know is different from The Dog. And the Mona I’m becoming isn’t quite who I expected, either. This whole makeover scheme is getting crazier by the minute. But “crazy” beats “boring”…right?

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Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: EVERY BRIDE HAS HER DAY by Lynnette Austin

Every Bride Has Her Day Lynnette Austin

New York City Detective Sam DeLuca, hurt both physically and emotionally when a case went south, has fled to Misty Bottoms, Georgia, for some R&R at the ramshackle house inherited from his aunt. He wants solitude; he wants to be left alone.  His across-the-street neighbor, Cricket O’Malley, has returned to town to open The Enchanted Florist and work with the Magnolia Brides. Sam’s city; Cricket’s country. He’s a pessimist; she’s a card-carrying optimist. He’s a Yankee, and she’s Dixie-to-her-toes.

In this excerpt from Every Bride Has Her Day, Cricket and a very reluctant Sam have spent much of the day making his aunt’s house habitable. To thank Cricket, he’s offered to take her to dinner—on his Harley.

Cricket decided she’d approach tonight as a reconnaissance mission. She and Sam had worked together much of the afternoon, but with them on separate floors most of the time, there’d been pathetically little chatter. He’d kept his radio on, too, which pretty much squelched any get-to-know-each-other talk. A deliberate move on his part because the man was not a talker.

That sweaty back, though, with those rippling muscles. His stubble-darkened jaw. The pain flickering in those black eyes. His comment about his mama’s cooking. She sighed. Yep, he definitely had some items on the plus side.

Reaching into the fridge, she found a stalk of celery and crunched on it. Lunch had been too many cobwebs and dirty windows ago. She needed fuel and hoped Sam wasn’t one of those guys who thought a woman should pick at her food. What was the sense in that? If you paid for it, why not eat it?

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Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: RUSH by Shae Ross

RUSH by Shae Ross

Okay, we had to stop ourselves from laughing long enough to get this exclusive excerpt of Rush, by Shae Ross, live! If you love amazingly snappy dialogue, this one’s for you! Rush is out now!

I’m going to kill my sister. Strike that. First, I’ll shave her bald, then I’ll kill her.

White ruffles billow around my legs. I’m following my best friend Jace to the entrance of the Rathskeller bar. It’s the night before Halloween and thanks to my sister Cate, who stole my badass ninja costume and left me hers, I’m dressed as Little Bo Peep. Despite the fact that I haven’t worn a dress in years and Cate doesn’t wear anything unless it’s fringed, feathered, or sequined, she thought this “stripper on her way to a carnival” look would work for me.

Double doors burst open, blasting the night air with riotous sounds from the crowd within. Anxiety bubbles in my swampy stomach as we sidestep the gang of sweaty men that are laughing and stumbling out. “Hey, look, it’s Cinderella,” one of them calls in a tone of drunken euphoria.

I locate the source—a stocky cowboy, grinning at me from under the brim of his Stetson. When I pass him, he turns and walks backward, opening his hands over an impressive beer belly. “Aw, where ya’ goin’? I got your Prince Charming right here.”

Jace loops her arm through mine and nods to his gut. “You need to reacquaint yourself with a mirror, my friend.” His buddies roar, nudging him toward the parking lot. I blow out a breath then instantly suck it back as Jace reaches for the door handle.

“Wait!” My palm slaps the door, and she pauses, staring at me with an expectant look. “I can’t do it. I’m sorry. I thought I could but—I just can’t.” I spin and lunge toward the parking lot but she catches the hem of my dress with a firm stomp. My corset tightens, pinching my ribs, and I jerk to a stop.

“Priscilla! Get your ruffled butt back here.”

I grab a fistful of fabric and yank. It springs loose, sending me staggering. I’m trying to make my getaway, but it’s like moving with a tent strapped to my waist. No wonder Little Bo Peep couldn’t find her sheep—she couldn’t fucking move. Jace pivots, squashing my split second of freedom with her other foot. Frustration rumbles up my throat and I glare at her, but she’s unfazed. Reddish-blonde bangs sweep low on her brow, enhancing the twinkle of victory in her blue eyes.

I twist and thrust my palms out. “Seriously, do you know how humiliating this is for me?”

“You oughta be owning that corset like Madonna in the eighties.”

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Aural Pleasures

Aural Pleasures: “Why Are You Listening to THAT?” by Lisa Wells

The Seduction of Kinley Foster Lisa Wells

Hugs and thanks to EverAfter Romance for having me on the blog!


Today I’m dishing about the songs that inspired key scenes in my romantic comedy – The Seduction of Kinley Foster.

If you have teenagers in your life, at one time or another, they have probably demanded to know, ‘Why are you listening to that?’, in a tone that clearly states their opinion of whatever that is.  If you haven’t heard this statement, you must be one really cool dude or dudette.

My daughter knows I’m a 70’s music fanatic.  When we go on long runs together, it’s what I listen to for ten plus miles on my playlist.  It’s what I listen to in the car whenever we’re going someplace: be it to the grocery store, to a shopping mall or on a cross country road trip. You see, I have a simple rule: my car – my station.  🙂

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Guest Post

Guest Post: Jennifer Blackwood on Rule Makers and Rule Breakers

The Rule Book Jennifer Blackwood

If you’ve had a chance to read the blurb for The Rule Book, you might get the sense that rules play a large part in the book. Heck, it’s even in the title. Well, your assumptions would be correct. Brogan Starr, the hero of the book, owns Starr Media, a Fortune 500 company that focuses on handling social media for celebrities. He has a penchant for making rules and has a 300-page employee manual to prove it. The rule book includes anything from not eating garlic at work to the banning of semi-colons in social media posts. Seem a little extreme? My heroine, Lainey Taylor tends to think so, too! According to Lainey, he runs the company on a tighter leash than the Pentagon during a national security threat.




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Guest Post, Reviews

My Never-Ending TBR List: Look At All The Pretty Edition

I’ll admit up front that I’ve had almost no time to read. I went to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and then I had to do pesky stuff like write and pay attention to my family. Since we last met I was able to read Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole and Her Kind of Man by Elle Wright, but they weren’t on the list, so really we’re back to square one. Join me as I pile on.

I process things visually. If you try to give me instructions, I’ll probably turn around ask you for a diagram. In the films and TV shows I like, bright colors and stark contract are something they have in common. Jane the Virgin is visual crack for me, sooo many pretty colors. When I’m on the hunt for books I know better than to just hit that one-click based on cover alone. The blurb has got to snag me, which the blurbs for all the below titles did, once I read them. Here are a several books that have made me stop, do a double take and walk back to the shop window.

Sugar Love Victoria H. Smith
Sugar Love by Victoria H Smith


That’s some kind of name, isn’t it?

It wasn’t any type of name I’d heard of, but across the world, it seemed I was the only one.

You see, he’s an international superstar, talented, sexy, and one day, he comes walking into my record store. He tells me he wants to buy some music, and later on, wants to get to know me a little better.

I had no idea he was here for his American debut, nor that he was one of the most successful rappers South Korean music had ever seen. If I had, I might not have been so frazzled when I found out and accidentally kidnapped him.

But then again…

Maybe that wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

This cover is giving me sexy 80’s realness and I’m a sucker for a good interracial new adult romance.

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