Essential Beginnings Kennedy Layne

Giveaway: Win Meredith Wild’s Complete Hacker Series!

Hard Love Meredith Wild

Meredith Wild’s Hacker Series follows Blake and Erica’s journey, from the boardroom to the bedroom. Meredith’s latest release, Hard Love, finds Blake and Erica coming up against the biggest challenge of their lives–and you’ll want to be with them every step of the way. We’re thrilled to be hosting a giveaway for one set of all five books in the Hackers series, along with signed bookplates, so you can find out for yourself just what Blake and Erica are getting up to (it’s hot!). Giveaway is for United States residents only, and ends September 29th. Enter now!

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Meredith Wild is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of romance. Living on Florida’s Gulf Coast with her husband and three children, she refers to herself as a techie, whiskey-appreciator, and hopeless romantic. When she isn’t living in the fantasy world of her characters, she can usually be found on Facebook. You can learn more about her upcoming projects at


Portland ME Freya Barker sale July
Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: WHAT LOLA WANTS by Calista Fox

What Lola Wants Calista Fox

Calista Fox’s What Lola Wants brings together old friends who find something new is sparking between them–making for some deliciously hot friends-to-lovers action. And we’ve got an exclusive excerpt from What Lola Wants, which includes a “bad-boy smirk.” Swoon! Thanks, Calista!

Lola knows what she wants…

Lola Vonn isn’t sure exactly when it happened, but sometime between ages seven and twentysomething, her best friend, Alex, got hot.Really hot. He’s hotter than the blazing Arizona sun-and definitely hotter than the nerdy-cute mathlete she grew up with. And, when she needs to crash at his apartment while looking for a place of her own, Alex becomes a temptation she can’t resist. But while unbuttoning Alex’s buttoned-up self is scorchingly fun, wild child Lola fears risking the best friend she’s ever had on a fling.

He knows what she needs…

Alex Reed has wanted Lola since they were teenagers and now that she’s parading around his condo in sexy stilettos and short nighties, he can’t stop the more-than-just-friends fantasies he has every time he looks at his new curvy blonde roommate. Luckily he’s no longer the painfully dorky teenager he once was-and it’s high time he showed Lola that he’s the man for her.

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Sisters in Love Melissa Foster
Giveaway, Guest Post

Guest Post: “The Long Running Series: How Hard Can It Be?” by Marie Force

When you’re writing a long-running series, how do you keep the chemistry between reoccurring characters genuine, and, well, sexy? We asked contemporary romance author Marie Force to tell us how she manages to keep us loving the characters in her suspenseful Fatal Series through nine books and two novellas. (And, as an added bonus, Marie gave us two sets of the print editions of the Fatal Series to give away! See the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.)

Today is the release day for Fatal Frenzy, book 9 in my Fatal Series, which is now five years old with no end in sight. It’s a tiny bit surreal to consider that this series has now gone to nine books—and two novellas—when you consider its somewhat inauspicious beginning. I wanted to write a series that featured the same couple in every book—a female homicide detective who is romantically involved with an up-and-coming politician. Editors love the idea for the first book, but weren’t too keen on the idea of the same couple headlining every book in the series. “It’s simply not done in romance,” one editor famously told me.

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Morning Bites

Morning Bites: Happy Birthday, Betty Neels!

sister peters in amsterdam
Going Dutch?

Today is legendary romance author Betty Neels‘s birthday. Born in 1909, Betty’s romance novels–numbering well over 100–were remarkably chaste affairs (so to speak), and were among the first books published by Harlequin when it launched.

Sister Peters in Amsterdam, published in 1969, was the first Betty Neels book to see publication. Here’s the blurb:

Sister Adelaide Peters was surprised, but also very proud and excited, to have been chosen to represent her hospital in a new exchange scheme. It meant she’d be spending a year in Holland. Adelaide was determined to do her best, and she more than succeeded! She adored Holland, liked her colleagues and even mastered some of the language. She also unexpectedly—and disastrously—fell in love with her new boss. But Professor Coenraad van Essen was clearly out of her league.

Interestingly, Betty herself was a nurse whose husband was Dutch (write what you know, right?)

Have you read any Betty Neels books?

Guest Post

Guest Post: Kris Calvert on the Writers’ Police Academy

Writers' Police Academy

When you’re writing romantic suspense or thrillers, or if one of your heroes is a cop, it’s important to get the details right. Does the gun your character uses have some quirks you should know about? How would your character find clues in a blood spatter pattern? When does the local police call in the FBI for help? And that’s where the Writers’ Police Academy comes in. Every year, writers gather in Appleton, Wisconsin for one hectic and fun-filled weekend to train like a cop, by real cops, Federal agents, and forensics specialists. We asked romantic suspense writer Kris Calvert to tell us about her weekend at this year’s Writers Police Academy. Here’s her story…

Will There Be Doughnuts?

When I set out for Appleton, Wisconsin and Writer’s Police Academy 2015, there was one pressing question on my mind: will there be doughnuts?

It may seem like an odd thing to ponder with so many intriguing seminars and hands on training sessions on everything from blood spatter and autopsies, to K-9 units and romance in law enforcement, but if I was playing cop for a few days (along with two hundred and fifty other authors), I wanted it to be as real as it could be. And for me, that meant doughnuts.

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Aural Pleasures

Aural Pleasures: Tessa Bailey

Make Me Tessa Bailey

The characters in Tessa Bailey’s Broke & Beautiful series might not always have a lot of cash, but they always have plenty of heat–especially for one another. And beauty. And tattoos. And did we mention heat? Yeah. Lots and lots of heat. Tessa is here sharing the playlist for her series. Thanks for joining us, Tessa!

How do you make your playlists for your books?

It’s going to sound crazy, but when I’m writing a book, the songs that fit the story seem to find me somehow. It could also be that I’m attracted to certain music when a story has me in a specific mood, but I like to think it’s more of a cosmic coincidence. I was writing a book recently about a man meeting his niece for the first time—and this beautiful song, “Cecilia and the Satellite” showed up on my radar. It was perfect and definitely enhanced the writing process.

Do you use the entire playlist for the whole book or specific parts for certain sections or types of scenes?

Recently, I made one playlist for a whole three-book series. I wanted each book in the series to have the same theme of early, twenty-something struggle, but with a positive, upbeat spin. So I went back through my old mix CDs from my first year in New York as an eighteen year old, pulled a bunch of songs from those and had my playlist.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: E_Bookpushers Finds Romance at the National Book Festival

For the first time, the National Book Festival, held in Washington, D.C., had romance authors as part of its program. E_Bookpushers, a romance fan, filed a report of the event, sharing her experience during the Festival. Thanks, E!

Destiny’s Captive by Beverly Jenkins

Last Saturday, as part of my Labor Day weekend, I decided to attend the National Book Festival. It is an annual event formerly held on The Mall, but returning for the second year to the Washington D.C. Convention Center. Despite living here for a couple of years and loving books, this was my first time attending, because for the first time it included authors I wanted to see. This year, the National Book Fest included Romance! I read across several different genres, so each year I would scan the list of programs and attending authors, and sigh in disappointment. I am sure you can imagine my joy when I looked at the line-up this year and noticed a “Romance Pavilion.” Now I was slightly disappointed to see we had the very last timeslot and were opposite a couple of other events romance readers would probably enjoy, but Romance was finally in the house!

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Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: Sally MacKenzie’s WHAT TO DO WITH A DUKE

What To Do With A Duke Sally MacKenzie

Sally MacKenzie writes some of the most scintillating historical romance out there, so were were thrilled when she agreed to share this excerpt of her just-released What To Do With A Duke, the first in her new Spinster House series…especially since it features match-making cat!

Welcome to the charming, fatefully named village of Loves Bridge, where a woman destined for spinsterhood can live a life of her own choosingor fall unexpectedly, madly in love…

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Morning Bites

What’s the Longest Romance Series You’ve Kept Up With?

Hopelessly devoted to the In Death series.

Devoted in Death, the forty-first book in J.D. Robb’s In Death series, releases tomorrow.

Forty-one books. 41. There are probably non-readers out there who will never read forty-one books in their entire lifetimes.

Robb’s series is one of the longest, certainly, but there are plenty of other long-running series out there.

If you follow a long-running series, which one is it, and how many books are in the series? Have you ever thought about stopping the series? Why did or didn’t you?

Morning Bites

New on Netflix: Love at First Fight

Just arrived on Netflix for its streaming subscribers is Love at First Fight (Les Combattants in the original French), a French romantic comedy that also has tips for preparing for the Apocalypse. Because of course. Here’s the synopsis:

Between his friends and the family business, Arnaud’s summer looks set to be a peaceful one. Peaceful until he runs into Madeleine, as beautiful as she is brusque, a concrete block of tensed muscles and doomsday prophecies. He expects nothing; she prepares for the worst. He takes things as they come, likes a good laugh. She fights, runs, swims, pushes herself to the limit. Given she hasn’t asked him for anything, just how far will he go along with her? It’s a love story. Or a story of survival. Or both.

We’ll be sharing some cool films with romantic elements that you might not have been aware of from time to time, and if you do watch this one (or one of the others in the future) we definitely want to know what you thought.

Meanwhile we will be over here contemplating how we’d eat a raw sardine. Blech.