Archive for the ‘January 2013’ Category

Confidence Tricks Cover


A con woman with a criminal record meets her match in a millionaire playboy art thief in this high-intensity heist romance.

Asprey Charles has always assumed he would one day take his place in the family art appraisal and insurance firm. “His place” meaning he plans to continue to enjoy his playboy lifestyle, lavish money on his Cessna, and shirk every responsibility that dares come his way.

But when a life of crime is thrust upon him, he is just as happy to slip on a mask and cape and play a highwayman rogue. After all, life is one big game—and he excels at playing.
Poppy Donovan vows that her recent release from jail will be her last—no more crime, no more cons. But when she learns that her grandmother lost her savings to a low-life financial advisor, she’s forced to do just one more job.
It’s all going smoothly until the necklace she intends to pawn to fund her con is stolen by a handsome, mocking, white-collar thief. A thief who, it turns out, could take a whole lot more than money. If she’s not careful, this blue blood with no business on her side of the tracks could run off with the last thing she can afford to lose. Her heart.

Warning: This book contains masked crusaders, a remorseless con woman, and plans to boost a ten-million-dollar painting. Expect high speeds and fast hands.

This was just flat-out fun. Asprey was pure entertainment from the first page as he lay in the dirt wearing a black mask while Poppy’s spiked heel was at his throat. He’s a rich playboy, the baby brother, the guy who never had to take anything seriously until he had to clean up the mess his family left behind. Now he’s living in an old hanger and convincing his cranky older brother that they need the hot ex-con Poppy to help them with their final job.

Poppy is not the average romance heroine. She’s a con woman and quite happy with that title. The thrill of the con always excites her and she has no intention of turning her life around. Every scene with her and Asprey sparks with sexual tension and they are the perfect foil for each other. Full of dry humor with an ending I didn’t see coming, I recommend Confidence Tricks to any romance reader looking for an unusual hero and heroine that will keep them laughing.


Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Format: Digital

Barnes & Noble

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pepper penn

wins the DEADLY PROMISES anthology from Cindy Gerard

Congrats! To claim your prize, please email mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces). You have 48 hours to email before a new name is chosen.

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The blurb:

Josh Kowalski is tired of holding down the fort—better known as the Northern Star Lodge—while his siblings are off living their dreams. Now that his oldest brother has returned to Whitford, Maine for good, Josh is free to chase some dreams of his own.

As the daughter of the lodge’s longtime housekeeper, Katie Davis grew up alongside the Kowalski kids. Though she’s always been “one of the guys”, her feelings for Josh are anything but sisterly. And after a hot late-night encounter in the kitchen, it’s clear Josh finally sees her as the woman she is.

Katie’s been waiting years for Josh to notice her, but now that he has, she’s afraid it’s too late. Giving her heart to a man who can’t wait to leave town is one sure way to have it broken. But Josh keeps coming up with excuses not to leave—could it be that everything he’s ever wanted is closer than he could have imagined?

It’s finally Josh Kowalski’s turn. In earlier books, we learned that while the older Kowalski siblings left home to chase their dreams, Josh put his on the back burner to take on the responsibility of running the family lodge. Now the family has come together to find a solution and Josh’s chance to escape is finally in sight. But Josh has noticed that his best friend Katie is definitely not one of the guys and now he doesn’t know if escape is what he wants.

Katie has been in love with a clueless Josh for years but he’s never seen as more than his best buddy. Katie temporarily moving into the lodge and a midnight encounter in the kitchen changes all that. As both give in to the attraction and friendship turns into something more, painful choices have to be made and hearts may be broken.

I loved this one. There were many laugh out loud moments, as I’ve come to expect from Shannon Stacey books, but there was also more than one scene I read with a lump in my throat. None of the choices made by any of the characters were easy ones and the pain, confusion, and love came through clearly. I ached for them all while still cheering on Josh and Katie for not compromising their dreams. I wasn’t sure how a happily ever after was possible for two people that wanted such different things out of life but when it came, it was believable and beautiful. All He Ever Dreamed is my favorite Kowalski book to date and I can’t recommend it enough!


Favorite quote:

“Dammit. I need to know what he does for a living.”

“I heard he’s a serial killer.”

“You should go on a date with him.”

Hailey stared at her for a few seconds, her eyes wide. “I’m just going to sit here while you replay that last bit of conversation in your head.”

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 21, 2013
Format: Digital

Barnes & Noble

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I REGRET NOTHING! - lolcats.com

I’ve been reading romance almost exclusively for over twenty years. It’s my genre of choice, it makes me happy, and it’s never been a “guilty pleasure.”  I love it and I get as excited to talk about romances as I do about reading them. Which makes twitter one of my favorite places. I follow authors, editors, and other readers who share my addiction. While there, I’ve noticed I’m rarely in the majority of tweeters on what’s popular or what are big pet peeves in the genre. This doesn’t bother me because variety is a fabulous thing and the romance genre is big enough that we can all find things we love but a thought occurred to me a few days ago : What if there was an author reading those twitter conversations that wanted to write or had already written a story packed full of what others dislike and decide to ditch it? What if it was a book I would LOVE? And since I’m more than a little selfish, that led to these confessions 😀

1.) I love the alpha billionaire hero. Love him. He can even be an ass but he has to be a redeemable ass. I do think the genre is over saturated with them right now and that makes finding the good ones a little more difficult but when I do, it is oh so sweet. I also like beta heroes. And blue collar heroes. Really, I like them all but the billionaires do hold a special place in my heart.

2.) I like the Mary Sues! Not in every book of course but sometimes they are exactly what I want to read. Lisa Marie Rice is a perfect example. Many times while reading her books, I expect the woodland creatures to materialize beside the heroine, dancing and braiding her hair. But they work for me and I don’t question the things that make me happy.

3.) I am a complete and total whore for the preggo heroine story. I’ve been known to purchase books without reading the blurb just because of the baby bump on the cover. So it will probably come as no surprise that I also like epilogues that have the heroine pregnant.  Before anyone yells at me, no I don’t think that every couple needs a child to be happy or fulfilled but it makes me happy to see the badass hero all mushy over the upcoming addition to the family.

4.) I see a lot of reviewers say they didn’t like a certain book because of how over the top it was. That’s actually a selling point for me. Nothing makes me happier than crazy over-the-topness. We’ve seen this go horribly wrong, like when Mad and I book dished Eye of the Storm by Monette Michaels but that’s a theme I will go back to and try time and again, hoping to find awesomeness.

5.) I hesitated to include this since this has been a lighter post and this is definitely on a more serious note but I felt it should be included. Dear Author has a post titled Realistic Depictions of Rape in Romance that has stuck with me all day. It’s well written and has left me very conflicted about my own opinions on the subject.

I think I’ve read just about every depiction of rape in romance. I read the rapist heroes of the 80s and celebrated when those became an endangered species. I’ve read the “magic penis cures all” and fumed. And I’ve read the ones where the heroine accepted help in her recovery and the hero was a fantastic support system. Some have made me sob and others have infuriated me. But through them all, none have been a trigger for me until I read Fault Lines by Rebecca Rogers Maher in the fall of 2012. I became physically ill while reading this book but I didn’t recognize what my body was telling me. I fell into a depression afterward that lasted for over two weeks and started having panic attacks again for the first time in 10 years. The nightmares lasted for months.

I shared this so I could say, for purely selfish reasons, that this reader doesn’t want that much realism in romance. There is definitely a place and a need for those books in this genre and if it helps even one person through the struggle, then that is fantastic but it’s not for me. I’ll stick with the ones that show the happiness and love that can come later. And now I know I have to be more cautious when reading this theme.

So there are my confessions. What themes or tropes do you love/hate that the majority seems to disagree with? Also, if you are a writer with an over the top alpha hero and a pregnant Mary Sue heroine, hook a girl up please. I will buy that thing so fast, heads will spin 😉

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wins UNFORGIVABLE by Joanna Chambers



wins RUSH by Maya Banks


Congrats! To claim your prize, please email mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces). You have 48 hours to email before a new name is chosen.

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We are all familiar with the cover for Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton, right? Gorgeous hockey player with sweat trailing down spectacular abs? Hit the best seller lists? Let’s take another look since it’s never painful to stare at this one.

Taking A Shot

I’m not just posting that for the drool-factor. Really. Mad was on Facebook today and discovered a new cover that left us both speechless.

Taking Shots

Huh. Taking Shots vs Taking a Shot. Shirtless, ripped model with skates tossed carelessly over his shoulder. Similar backgrounds. Even the font is similar. I think we are pushing coincidence a little too far here.

Oh, Loveswept. I am so disappointed and a little angry that you would underestimate the intelligence of romance readers. Is making an attempt at originality that painful and scary?

We’re calling total WTFery on this one.


As I was looking at Amazon, I found the original cover for Taking Shots. And then I was sent another cover for it.

Taking Shots 2

Taking Shots 1

This title was originally self published by Toni Aleo with these covers then purchased by Random House/Loveswept. And that is where what appears to be a blatant bait and switch is occurring.

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Are you ready for a giveaway? We’ve got our hands on a signed copy of RUSH by Maya Banks and we’re giving it away to one lucky reader here. Woot woot! 🙂

It’s open to all and winner will be announced on Sunday, January 20th.

To be in the running, help me out…I’m in a reading slump so what are you all reading these days? Anything that I must get my hands on? 🙂


Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking…

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

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joannachambers_unforgiveable1Gil Truman has eyes only for the beautiful Tilly—until he is forced to marry plain, sickly Rose Davenport to reclaim the lands his father foolishly gambled away. After a disastrous wedding night tainted with his bitterness, he deposits Rose at his remote Northumbrian estate, soothing his guilt with the thought that she need never lay eyes on him again.

Five years after the mortifying wedding night that destroyed all her romantic fantasies, Rose is fed up with hearing second- and third-hand reports of Gil’s philandering ways. She is no longer the shy, homely girl he left behind, but a strong, confident woman who knows how to run an estate. And knows what she wants—her husband, back in their marriage bed.

Gil doesn’t recognize the bold, flirtatious woman he meets at a ball, with or without her mask. Yet he is bewitched and besotted, and their night together is the most passionate he has ever known.

But when he confesses his sins to the beautiful stranger, the truth rips open the old wounds of their blighted history. Threatening any hope of a future together.


Harry: The third time we met, we became friends.

Sally: We were friends for a long time.

Harry: And then we weren’t.

Sally: And then we fell in love.

Sally: Three months later we got married.

Harry: Yeah, it only took three months.

Sally: [Pause]Twelve years and three months.


When Harry Met Sally (1989)


Unforgivable took a very long time and a very short time to write.  Or maybe it’s more accurate to say it was written twice. The first complete draft took me almost two years to write and was a whopping twenty thousand words longer than the final published version. In fact, the final published version shares very few words with that initial draft.


The point in my life when I started writing Unforgivable was a crucial point for me as a writer.  I’d already completed two other manuscripts only to stick them in a dusty drawer when I had a Damascene moment and realised that those manuscripts were fundamentally flawed.  Why?  Because I didn’t write them with the sincerity which I’ve now realised is the only way to write (for me anyway).


Unforgivable 1.0 was my first leap over the waterfall, and I threw everything at it, which is why it ended up being so long. I kind of knew the final draft wasn’t quite what I’d hoped for, so after sending it to just a couple of agents and despite getting some positive comments with the rejections, I decided to stick it into the dusty drawer with the other two and start again.  My next venture became The Lady’s Secret, my debut novel.


The Lady’s Secret was out and I was in the middle of a new project when I decided to revisit Unforgivable 1.0.  The distance of a bit of time – maybe 18 months at this point – was invaluable.  I put the manuscript on my e-reader and read it while on holiday in Spain.  Suddenly, it was as though I could see the real, true shape of the story and where I’d gone wrong.


The core of the story remained unchanged (H/H marry young. They have a disastrous wedding night and part.  Years later, when the heroine confronts the hero and realises he doesn’t recognise her, she gives into the temptation of pretending to be someone else). But aside from that core, a lot changed. In fact, I completely rewrote 80% of the story, and did so very quickly – within 3 months.  When I was finished, the hero’s character had done a 180, some characters had been cut, others added and there had been major plot changes.  I cut twenty thousand words (always hard and I loved some of the passages I cut) but when I was done, it was leaner and fitter.


This time, I didn’t feel any hesitation in sending it off.  I was eager to do so.  And it wasn’t long before I heard back from the lovely Linda Ingmanson at Samhain offering me a contract.  Woot! Happy daze!


So while Unforgivable 1.0 took several years to produce, Unforgivable 2.0 took just three months. And I’m so happy to see it coming out at last, this book of my heart.  This first story in which I abandoned myself and just let go of all writerly fear.


You can read an excerpt of Unforgivable here.


Leave a comment to win a copy of Unforgivable.


Twitter – @ChambersJoanna

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002993543568


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Series winners!

Cat V

wins the first 4 digital books in the Red Rock Pass series by Moira Rogers


Little Lamb Lost

wins the first 3 books in the Sinners On Tour series by Olivia Cunning


Congrats! To claim your prize, please email mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces). You have 48 hours to email before a new name is chosen.

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Wishing For A HighlanderWhile examining Andrew Carnegie’s lucky rosewood box, single-and-pregnant museum worker Melanie makes a tongue in cheek wish on the artifact–for a Highland warrior to help her forget about her cheating ex. Suddenly transported to the middle of a clan skirmish in sixteenth-century Scotland, she realizes she should have been a tad more specific.


Darcy, laird in waiting, should be the most eligible bachelor in Ackergill, but a cruel prank played on him in his teenage years has led him to believe he is too large under his kilt to ever join with a woman. He has committed himself to a life of bachelorhood, running his deceased father’s windmills and keeping up the family manor house…alone.


Darcy’s uncle, Laird Steafan welcomes the strangely dressed woman into his clan, immediately marrying her to Darcy in hopes of an heir. But when Steafan learns of her magic box and brands her a witch, Darcy must do what any good husband would–protect his wife, even if it means forsaking his clan.


WARNING: A pregnant museum worker, a sixteenth-century Scot, and a meddlesome wishing box.


Thank you for having me, today, Mad and Lillie. It’s an honor to be a guest at RR@H Novel Thoughts & Book Talk.


I’m so excited to share my new release, WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER, with your readers! It’s out now with Lyrical Press, Inc.


I’m a shameless devourer of any book with a kilt in it. I also have this thing for virginal heroes. I love reading alpha heroes, but beta heroes have their appeal too, especially when the right woman decides to seduce one *winks*. Darcy Keith, my hero in WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER is mainly a beta, but he puts on his alpha hat when he needs to protect what’s his, mainly the oddly dressed, pregnant stranger he marries to spare from his laird’s dungeon.


Here’s an excerpt:

Size might have its advantages when it came to fighting, but those few boons fell far short of making up for the problems it caused. Being the biggest and the strongest had gotten him into far more trouble than it had gotten him out of. Swallowing his regret for how careless he’d been with her, he sought to determine whom she belonged to, whom, saints forbid, he might owe.


“Whose wife are ye, then? Not a Gunn’s or I wouldna have had to rescue you from one.”


“I’m not married,” the lass said. “And thank you for the rescuing, by the way. I can’t believe I dropped the dirk. Stupid.” She shook her head.


His heart warmed at her thanks. He didn’t hear many kind words from the lasses and would take what he could get, even from a dishonored woman who had caught a bairn out wedlock. Oddly, he didn’t think poorly of her. Whether it was her worried brow, her guileless, soft mouth, or her vulnerable size, he had not the heart to condemn her.


He didn’t even mind so much that she found him distasteful for his size, although talking with her now, she didn’t seem overly upset to be in his arms. He endeavored to keep her talking, keep her distracted from her disgust.


“Ye never answered my first question,” he said. “Who are you? And where are ye from if ye’re no’ English?”


“Ugh. I don’t know. Is there an answer that won’t get me burned at the stake or locked up in a ward for the hopelessly insane?”


Like most things out of her mouth, that had been a peculiar answer. “Ye could try the truth,” he offered, slowing his pace since he heard Archie’s voice not far off.


“No,” she said flatly. “I couldn’t. At least not the whole truth. How about we just go with my name, Melanie, and with the honest fact that I’m a long way from home and I have no idea how to get back.” Her green eyes pierced his. “I’m afraid you might be stuck with me, Darcy Keith.”


I’m celebrating release week with a GIVEAWAY! Two ecopies of WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER are up for grabs. To enter the drawing, commenters here at RR@H should (1) leave their email address and (2) answer the following question: If you could go back in time for one week of what-happens-in-the-past-stays-in-the-past fantasy, where & when would you go?


My answer: I’d go back to Aberdeen, WA in 1991 just before Nirvana broke out with their big hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and flirt my butt off with Kurt Cobain.


For more chances at a free ecopy of WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER readers can swing by my blog and comment over there. I’ll do the drawing after midnight Friday 1/11/13 and notify the winners by email on Saturday 1/12/13.


If anyone would like more information about WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER or my other works, they are more than welcome to swing by my blog or website.


Thanks again for having me, Mad and Lillie!



Lyrical (50% off for the month of January)


Barnes & Noble


Jessi Gage Bio

JessiGageJessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. In addition to writing paranormal romance, she’s a wife, a mom, an audiologist, a church-goer, a Ford driver, a PC user, and a coffee snob. Her guiding tenet in her writing is that good triumphs over evil, but not before evil gives good one heck of a run for its money. The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.


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