Archive for the ‘Kensington’ Category

We’re all meant to root for heroines in books. The female who brandishes her wits like a sword to cut down her foes, whose beauty is more than skin deep, and who can seduce the hero while saving herself, thank you very much.


But what about the other females in the book? Even secondary characters, even those with roots in mythology, can have very real feelings. For instance, in Goddess Awakened, another goddess guards the gates of Tartarus, which is located just outside Hades proper. She’s one of the three Harpies, also called the Erinye. Her name is Tisiphone. Terrible to look upon, and even more terrible to smell, lol,


Tisiphone must make sure no one escapes the outer boundaries of Hell. It’s a lonely and tedious job patrolling the gate of Hell, but someone has to do it. Still, a girl has feelings. She likes to be invited out once in awhile, or at least keep up with the gossip from the outside world. Or world above, as the case may be. So when the hero, Eric, is kidnapped and trapped in Tartarus, and runs into Tisiphone at the gate, he unwittingly hurts her feelings by filling her in on the latest news: there’s a war between demons and fae in his hometown. As usual, no one thought to tell Tisiphone.


Eric, being a veterinarian, recognizes Tisiphone has a skin problem. Nice guy that he is, he offers to provide her with some creams and ointments. Did I mention Tisiphone has the head of a dog? Yep. A mangy one!


So if she happens to let the gate slip so Eric can slip through, well… who can blame her? Every goddess needs a little love.


The research for this novel led me deeper and deeper into mythology. I loved learning about the Goddess Iris – messenger to the gods, and also Goddess of the Rainbow, the bridge between the worlds.


Goddess, Awakened, is the first book in The Goddess Connection series, which says: Every woman should embrace her inner goddess. What’s your connection?


I have several more novels in this series in mind to follow. In each, the heroine will be somehow connected to a goddess. Her lifelong quirks will become strengths once she finds her true place in the world, and accepts herself for who she really is.


Something we should all do! Every woman should be treated like a goddess, don’t you think? 😉



With a little help from a goddess, battling evil is a piece of cake for Jocelyn Gibson.

A descendant of the goddess Iris, Jocelyn Gibson may have forgotten about the realm of magic, but it hasn’t forgotten her. When Eric Hendricks is targeted by a demon, Joss must step in to battle the evil and save the town’s awkward, but endearing, vet…who also happens to be the man she loves.

Joss’s new inn, a culinary career specializing in cooking with lavender and a new love all make for a fine recipe of disaster. She needs to embrace her inner goddess and harness the powers she never knew she had before it’s too late.


Goddess, Awakened

The Goddess Connection Book 1

Fantasy/paranormal romance novel

About 89,700 words

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |All Romance eBooks| Kensington


About the Author

Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.



Contact Details

Website: http://catemasters.blogspot.com

Email: cate.masters@gmail.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts

Twitter: @CateMasters



Mini excerpt for GODDESS, AWAKENED:

In starting her life over, Joss had expected some resistance, even some trouble, but not this. The bedroom floor boards trembled beneath her golden-slippered feet. Tendrils of an unseen power curled upward from deep within the ground, tingling through her toes. She paused to steady herself, then continued to put the finishing touches on her costume. The tremors grew into rumbles and their hum seeped beneath her skin. When their tiny wisps twined through her mind, she clenched her hands. Enough. Go away.

Thick as starlight on a clear summer’s eve, sweet as the lavender blossoms she had yet to plant, energy whooshed up through the cracks of the worn wood and out into the October night.

She gripped the bureau until it passed, the vibrations rolling over her in lessening waves. Bubbly, effervescent waves. “Third time tonight, Taz.” Each departure took longer, and more of the essence remained.

When the dog whined, she stroked his fur. “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you.”

Even if tonight the waves were palpable enough to make her hairs stand on end. Oh, no, please.

Nothing could ruin tonight. More than a party, this event would determine her future. And after three years of grief, she’d never allow anything to trap her in its clutches again.



Do you love to read paranormals? Do you have a favorite goddess? Leave your reply on this post for a chance to win an ebook from my backlist (your choice – find all the titles at http://catemasters.blogspot.com). Be sure to include your email address in the comment! Good luck!

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Never Too Late e book

Romance book covers are generally very easy to spot. They might show a couple in a clinch or a damsel with her long hair streaming behind her or a burly man with his shirt unbuttoned or completely missing (you know the ones…the ”mantitty” that some people who don’t read romance most often associate with romance novels).


Some readers—and writers—have very strong views about the ideal romance covers. In case you didn’t know, though, most romance writers don’t get to choose their covers.  They may be welcome to suggest cover ideas and preferences, but the actual covers are not in their control. (Okay, maybe the really BIG names get cover control…but not we mere mortals. J )

So, with my debut historical romance Never Too Late, I’ll admit I was nervous. Kensington asked me for cover ideas (Yay!), but there was no guarantee they would use any of them. I trusted they knew what they were doing, but…personally, just personally, I’m not a fan of mantitty. (No judgment! I know some wonderful romances with mantitty covers that absolutely make sense, that convey the perfect tone for the character and the story!) Beyond personal preference, though, such an aggressively physical cover wouldn’t fit with the story on the page. Oh, the hero, Lord Alex Devin, is tall, dark, handsome, and fit, but he’s not the flashy kind of alpha such covers imply. He’s more quiet, more serious, more reserved. Why exert your brawn when you can dominate with your brain? Or at least that’s what he says. So I was nervous.


When Never Too Late’s cover finally appeared, I breathed a sigh of great relief. It fits. As one friend said, “Nice. It’s subtle, but hot.” Exactly.


Some of the subtleties are what I love most. At the edge of upper right corner, the hero gazes at the reader. So easy to miss. That’s the kind of alpha Alex is. The heroine is in profile, looking down and away. That’s the tension Honoria feels about Alex’s interest and their budding relationship.  And they’re in an early state of undress but not uncovered—his shirt is open, but we don’t see the mantitty. Yes!


And then there are the books. I had given Kensington a variety of general cover “wants”—a couple rather than a lone man or woman, their physical appearances, how they might be dressed, etc, etc.—but there was one thing I really, really, really wanted: bookshelves. They might not be the first thing someone associates with romance, but Honoria is a bookseller, a relatively rare Victorian woman who supports herself with her own business. The library at Devin house is the heart of the Devin family. These spaces feature prominently in their lives and in their increasingly intense encounters.  So the bookshelves at the bottom of the cover made me really, really, really happy.


In fact, I may have done a little happy dance. Just a little one.


About the book


Expect the unexpected, especially in a room filled with books…


Honoria Duchamp is well aware that men often consider widows easy prey for the role of mistress. What else could explain the attentions of handsome Lord Devin, and his visits to her bookshop? The much younger Viscount has even shown interest in the printing press with which she creates pamphlets on London’s basest injustices. Yet his chief interest appears to be in her…

Coerced to investigate Nora’s controversial pamphlets, Devin expected to find a bookish matron. Instead, he is taken with Nora’s womanly beauty, sharp intellect, and quick wit. Soon, what begins as an unwelcome task becomes a pleasure, and Devin’s job becomes more dangerous—for them both. For Nora has no idea of the vicious element she’s crossed. Now Devin will risk his reputation to protect her—and much more to win her love…


About the author


Amara Royce writes historical romances that combine her passion for 19th-century literature and history with her addiction to happily ever afters. She earned a PhD in English, specializing in 19th-century British literature, from Lehigh University and a Master’s degree in English from Villanova University, and she now teaches English literature and composition at a community college in Pennsylvania. When she isn’t writing, she’s either grading papers or reveling in her own happily ever after with her remarkably patient family.


Amara loves to hear from readers! Find her on Facebook and Twitter and GoodReads and on www.amararoyce.com!


About the giveaway


Thanks to Kensington’s generosity, I’m giving away one free e-book copy of Never Too Late! (U.S. only)  For a chance to win, leave a comment about your thoughts on romance covers!


Here are just a few starter questions as suggestions—you don’t actually have to answer any of them. What do you like? What don’t you like? Do you have any favorites? Does a book’s cover help you decide whether you want to read it? Or do you not even notice them? I look forward to finding out what you think!

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Welcome to Book Dish. This isn’t a review. It’s Mad and Lillie honestly discussing a recent book. Book Dish may have SPOILERS. And possibly bad words. Today’s Book Dish is about Wolf With Benefits by Shelly Laurenston (out March 26, 2013)



Shelly Laurenston, New York Times bestselling author and a star in the paranormal romance genre, comes the eighth book is the successful Pride series, that blends outrageous humor and sexy shapeshifters to create irresistible heroes that readers fall in love with.

Ricky Lee has no plans of getting serious about anyone, but he will protect Toni Jean-Louis Parker. Not just because he’s been hired to do so, but because it’s the right thing to do. And if that means traveling around the country with one complicated She-jackal, dealing with chocolate-eating wild dogs, instigating trouble between his brothers, and having the most amazing sex he’s ever had…well, who said his job didn’t have perks?

Toni doesn’t know how she keeps getting herself into these situations. But even she has to admit there’s something about Ricky Lee Reed that she finds kind of interesting…and downright sexy. Now they just have to survive long enough to figure out if what they have is worth fighting for…

Mad: Let’s do this. *cracks knuckles* lol

Lillie: Alrighty. So we have Ricky Lee Reed,wolf shifter and the slightly goofy brother of Ronnie Lee and Toni Jean-Louis Parker, jackel and big sister to 10 prodigy siblings! That’s a lot of siblings…

Mad: Her parents weren’t playing when it came to kid-making. Haha!

Lillie: Nope! And those siblings were some of my favorite moments. The fact that she trained them to help discourage men by asking “Are you my daddy?” whenever men came near her was HYSTERICAL.

Mad: That cracked me up every time they said it. Priceless.

Kyle was a hoot, I don’t know if I would have had as much patience with him as Toni did.

And that scene when he first meets Bo and he tells him what he thinks about Bo being a hockey player? Bo replies with “I wish I could say you disgust me but I understand what you’re saying” I laughed so hard at that part.

Lillie: I liked that Toni didn’t see them as perfect. The comments of “those evil bastards”, “narcassistic brats” etc made me smile.

Mad: She was their rock and kept them grounded.

Lillie: She did and didn’t realize how special that was. I loved seeing her use those same skills in her new job with the hockey team. Watching her calm Bo was a thing of brilliance.

Mad: Yes…and the scene with the bear who hated to fly? What was his name? She handled it like she needed to.

Lillie: And I loved that Ricky Lee saw that in her from the beginning. He got what was important to her, what she needed, and handled her when necassary. I don’t think I could see any other character as a hero for her. He was just so laid back and let it all flow.

Mad: Right and he seemed like he never lost his cool and just was waiting for the entertainment to come to him, as he said to Toni. 🙂

Lillie: Speaking of entertainment, almost ALL the former heroes and heroines made an appearance in this one! Irene, Miki, Sara, Gwen, Blayne. I was so happy! It was like a big dysfunctional family reunion!

Mad: I agree, I felt that the whole time I was reading it. Loved each time a previous character came into the story.

How funny did you fine that Toni could not remember Blayne’s name to save her life? It was Blane, Blank, Bane, etc but never Blayne.

Lillie: Bwahaha! Seeing Blayne get flustered by that was awesome.

Mad: What did you think of Del, Toni’s sister? That chick was a piece of work!

Lillie: I’ve rarely been creeped out by a Laurenston character but that one did it. Pure evil. And I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her. I think her and Dee Ann will be having another Come To Jesus moment somewhere down the line.

Mad: Neither do I and it’s not going to be pretty when Dee-Ann finally gets her hands on her.

Without giving spoilers, what did you think of the new shifter that was introduced?

Lillie: That was my favorite part! More than the romance between Toni and Ricky, more than past characters, I LOVED Livy! She’s awesome! And I think Laurenston has created the best shifter EVER with her. All the hints dropped about what she was then when it was finally revealed, I squealed a little. I want her book now. Right this very second.

Mad: She and Dee-Ann together scare me …. I would not ever want to be on the wrong side of them. The things they could do…..

Lillie: Yeah, those two as friends (or as close as either of them come to friendship) is a little scary. Dee has always been the ultimate badass of this series but Livy may have her beat on the oh-shit scale. She’s got that dangerous side that Dee has but also the craziness of Sara. That combo… *shudders*

Mad: True! Which brings me to Sara…she was in only one scene but she was as crazy as ever, hilarious to see her pop up like that.

What was your favorite scene? Can you even choose?

Lillie: I honestly don’t think I can. Where Bo beats the hell out of Reece again as Ricky Lee watched? Where the 3 year old twins broke the mighty king of the jungle? The Reed brothers breaking into Brendon Shaw’s apartment again just to eat his yogurt? Soooo many!


Mad: The twins chasing each other with knives/scissors…the scene where Freddy wanted to see how tall he could be if he stood on Bo’s shoulders & Bo let him? That melted me when he picked him up & stood him on his shoulders. Sissy & Ronnie Lee trying to help Ricky Lee get over his ex…when he didn’t need it. lol Or when Livy jumped that lion because he was rude to her without a hint as to what was going to happen.

Lillie: I’ve liked all of Laurenston’s shifter books but this is one of my favorites. I just loved it. Final grade?

Mad: If I could give it higher than an A+ I would….I loved everything about it! You?

Lillie: Same here. Definitely a recommended read. If I didn’t have a ton of review books I need to get to, I would already be rereading it.

Mad: I love when an author does that to me. I want to just dive right back in and just start rereading this whole series all over again.

Lillie: Me too. More Laurenston books NOW, please.

Mad: Yes. I feel like telling her WRITE FASTER, PLEASE but she might cut me like the characters she writes about 😉

Lillie: Good point. We’ll just stare longingly in her general direction.

Mad’s favorite quote:

“Can I stand on your shoulders?”


“Can I stand on your shoulders? Just for a minute or so.”


“I want to know what it’s like to be tall.”

Bo was about to explain that the chances of a jackal being as tall as him – a lion-polar bear hybrid – were impossible but decided against it. In fact, he could actually hear Blayne in his head telling him not to tell Freddy that. So, Bo instead crouched down and held his arm out. The boy grabbed it with both hands and Bo lifted him, placing his small feet on his shoulders. When he had the boy secure, Bo’s hands wrapped tightly around Freddy’s ankles, Bo stood tall.

“Woooooow,” Freddy sighed out. “I can see the entire world from here.”

Lillie’s favorite quote:

“I was eighteen. She was nineteen. And kind of a,” he covered his goddaughter’s ears with his hands, “whore.”

“Now, now. That’s my cousin, Ricky Lee.” When Ricky just stared at him, Bobby shrugged. “Who is kind of a whore.”


We are giving away 3 digital copies of Wolf With Benefits! Nook or kindle format, winner’s choice. We’ll be drawing the names on Sunday and the book will be gifted on release day. To be entered in the giveaway, just leave a comment below. What is your favorite Shelly Laurenston book. And if you haven’t read Laurenston yet, what makes you like shifter books?

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As a fallen Angel of Death, Azrael is cursed to walk the earth alone in search of redemption. One night, as he wanders the streets of New Orleans, he discovers a woman surrounded by panther shifters.  No longer able to contain the anger simmering within, Az summons his dark powers and attacks, determined to protect this innocent human from certain death.

Only Jade Pierce is no delicate flower.  She’s spent years learning to survive and fight the evil forces sent by her ex-lover who refuses to let her go. But after seeing Az in action, she figures she could use a little supernatural help. And so she plans a course of seduction guaranteed to arouse his interest and his angelic passions…

I’ve been anxiously awaiting ANGEL IN CHAINS ever since I read ANGEL BETRAYED. My expectations were high going in and I am so happy to say Jade and Az exceeded those expectations. Jade is a fantastically flawed heroine. She’s made massive mistakes in her life that led to lives lost. Now all she wants is a chance to live her life free of her psycho ex and she’s willing to use Az to get that. But from the beginning, she can’t fight her attraction to him.

Az has never understood why other Fallens give in to temptations of the flesh until he meets Jade. She awakens feelings he’s never experienced and this virgin hero wastes no time in making up for those lost centuries. He’s hot, badass, protective, and surprisingly sweet. Both of my favorite quotes are from Az.

“His hands, though lethally strong, were lighter on her flesh.

Gentleness. She’s only expected heat and hunger.

“I won’t break,” Jade told him.

“I’ll never let you.” A vow.


Az never wanted her to know the truth about him. He wanted her to keep looking at him like he was a hero. Like he was a protector. A man she could count on. A man she wanted.

Not a monster she feared.

This was such a fantastic romance! Suspenseful and over the top with an ending that made me cry, ANGEL IN CHAINS was one of the best paranormal romances I’ve read this year. I can’t recommend it enough!


5 stars

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: November 27, 2012
Format: Print and digital

Barnes & Noble


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It wouldn’t be release day if I weren’t sitting on Fatin’s virtual couch! Thanks so much for having me back to talk about the two November releases I have.


Yes, two. One is the mass-market re-release of the anthology Lords of Passion, which first came out in December 2010. I share the title with the fabulous writers Kate Pearce and Virginia Henley, and the cover got changed just a little from the original trade paperback.  Sensible Pru and scoundrel Darius are the h/h in my story, “Not Quite a Courtesan.” Reviews at the time called it “delicious” and “…funny. Really funny.”


I’m so excited to be out in mass-market—in these days when every penny counts, mm books are more affordable than trade paperbacks. As an author, I don’t get to set pricing, unfortunately. But I hope readers like my books enough to shell out a little extra for Lord Gray’s List, the first book in my new London List series. Lords are everywhere this November!


Early reviews for Lord Gray’s List say it’s “sexy, smart and fun”, “witty,” “pure fun,” and “the perfect blend of heart, wit, charm and heat.”  Evangeline Ramsey has been skewering her old love Benton Gray on the front page of her newspaper, and needless to say, he’s sick of it. When he tries to stop her, they discover not everything is black and white. I had such a blast with independent, trouser-wearing Evie and bad boy Ben.


My grandmother always said it was vulgar to talk about money in public, but she passed away long ago. In an ideal world, what price point do you think is perfect for a paperback? How about an electronic addition? We’ll have an unscientific survey. I’ll give away Lords of Passion ($6.99) to one commenter and Lord Gray’s List (discounted on Amazon to $11.18) to another!


Back cover blurb for Lord Gray’s List:

From duchesses to chamber maids, everybody’s reading it. Each Tuesday, The London List appears, filled with gossip and scandal, offering job postings and matches for the lovelorn–and most enticing of all, telling the tales and selling the wares a more modest publication wouldn’t touch.

The creation of Evangeline Ramsey, the London List saved her and her ailing father from destitution. But the paper has given Evie more than financial relief. As its publisher, she lives as a man, dressed in masculine garb, free to pursue and report whatever she likes–especially the latest disgraces besmirching Lord Benton Gray. It’s only fair she hang his dirty laundry, given that it was his youthful ardor that put her off marriage for good.

Lord Gray–Ben–isn’t about to stand by while all of London laughs at his peccadilloes week after week. But once he discovers that the publisher is none other than pretty Evie Ramsey with her curls lopped short, his worries turn to desires–and not a one of them fit to print.

Back cover blurb for Lords of Passion:

Sensible bluestocking Prudence Thorne has been too busy keeping her cousin Sophy out of trouble to experience any adventures of her own. But when Sophy begs Prudence’s help in saving her marriage, Pru encounters handsome, worldly Darius Shaw. And under Darius’s skilled tutelage, Pru learns just how delightful a little scandal can be…


For a chance to win LORD GRAY’S LIST and LORDS OF PASSION, just leave a comment below. And to find out more about Maggie Robinson, visit www.maggierobinson.net.

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Sammael–call him Sam–was an angel once. An Angel of Death. But the dispassionate, watch-from-above thing just wasn’t working for him when it meant watching evil torture innocent souls day in and day out. It might have cost him his wings, but these days he gets to apply the direct method on the bad guys. Problem is, what’s making his life difficult is a bad girl…

Seline O’Shaw needs protection, and with the hounds of hell on her tail, she’s not going to quibble too hard about where she gets it. Sam’s virtue is questionable, but he’s smoking hot, massively powerful, and owes her a favor. So what if she’s getting a little case of angel lust? There are some damn deadly sins after her hide…

Wow. Just wow. I started reading Angel Betrayed fairly late at night and was resentful when I had to set it down at 3am to get some sleep. I couldn’t wait to get back to it! Seline had me intrigued from the beginning. She’s not your average heroine. As a half succubus/half fallen angel, she isn’t out to save the world, she’s just trying to save her own ass. When she is sent to kill Sam, the biggest and baddest Other around, she sees her chance to finally be free of the Other that commands her. It’s not often I get an anti-hero and anti-heroine in the same book and I loved it.

Both have been betrayed in the past and struggle with trust, while they slowly start to fall for each. As more is revealed about Seline, a vulnerable side starts to emerge from her tough-girl image. That side was just as fascinating to me as the succubus who will do anything to survive. And Sam’s ability to embrace and support her tough side while sheltering the vulnerable made me fall in love with him. Watching the ultimate badass lose his mind when the woman he can only describe as “mine” is in danger is both beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking.

The world building in this book is superb. It’s one I was able to step into easily and not want to leave. New Orleans and a cast of complex secondary characters sets the perfect backdrop for this over-the-top romance. If I could give Angel Betrayed more than 5 stars, I would.  I was hooked from page one and sighing happily at the end. One of my top five paranormal reads of the year.

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: June 26th, 2012
Format: Print and digital

Barnes & Noble


*eARC received from NetGalley

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Happy summer, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying these long, lazy days. (And a big thanks to Fatin for inviting me over!)

I recently tried to explain my romance addiction to a friend.  As I talked to her, I realized that I have five main reasons for loving romance novels:

  1. The happy ending.  Come on, I love that feel-good ending! After watching my depressing local news stories, I NEED my happy romance ending.
  2. The emotion.  Romance novels take me on a roller coaster ride. I can laugh, I can cry, I can root for my characters…all from the comfort of my cushy couch.
  3. The heroes are hot. Um, do I need to say more on that?  No?  Okay.
  4. The heroines are strong and smart (and they’re hot, too!).  I love reading about capable heroines who can kick-butt and capture the bad-boy heroes’ hearts.
  5. The stories entertain me.


And you know what? It’s really item 5 on that list that I like the most. When I open a romance novel, I am looking for an escape from reality, for just a little while. I want an adventure. I want excitement. I want entertainment.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve got to experience hundreds of lives (thousands?) because I’ve had so many adventures within the pages of books.  I’ve traveled to exotic locales, had dozens of careers…all because I opened books.

What more could I possibly want?  So, this summer, when the sun dips low in the sky, you can find me in my hammock, swinging a bit (okay, for the ten minutes I manage to squeeze away from my family), and I’ll be reading my treasured romance novels. I’ll be escaping, even if that escape just takes place in my backyard.

Now, what about you? Why do you enjoy romance novels?  Tell me, and you will win a copy of my new release, ANGEL BETRAYED (digital or print copy—winner’s choice).

Here’s the blurb for ANGEL BETRAYED—this way, you’ll know what type of “escape” you’ll find in this book (warning—danger and hot fallen angels are dead ahead!):


Sammael–call him Sam–was an angel once. An angel of death. But the dispassionate, watch-from-above thing just wasn’t working for him when it meant watching evil torture innocent souls day in and day out. It might have cost him his wings, but these days he gets to apply the direct method on the bad guys. Problem is, what’s making his life difficult is a bad girl…

Seline O’Shaw needs protection, and with the hounds of hell on her tail, she’s not going to quibble too hard about where she gets it. Sam’s virtue is questionable, but he’s smoking hot, massively powerful, and owes her a favor. So what if she’s getting a little case of angel lust? There are some damn deadly sins after her hide…


I’ll post the winner tomorrow at noon.


Cynthia Eden


ANGEL BETRAYED—Available 6/26/12 from Kensington Brava

When you betray an angel, there’s all hell to pay…


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At thirty-one, Meena Shenoy has a fulfilling career at a New Jersey high-tech firm. Not that it impresses her mother and aunts, who make dire predictions about her ticking biological clock. Men are drawn to Meena’s dainty looks and she dates regularly, but hasn’t met someone who really intrigues her. Someone professional, ambitious, confident, caring. Someone like her new boss, Prajay Nayak.

Just as Meena’s thoughts turn to romance, Prajay makes an astonishing request. He wants her to craft a personal ad that will help him find a suitable wife: a statuesque, sophisticated Indian-American woman who will complement his striking height.

Despite her attraction to Prajay and the complications of balancing work and her “marriage consultant” role, Meena can’t refuse the generous fee. And as her family is thrown into turmoil by her brother’s relationship with a Muslim woman, Meena comes to surprising realizations about love, tradition, and the sacrifices she will–and won’t–make for the sake of both.



What is it about romance novel covers that make them enticing on the one hand and the butt end of jokes on the other? It is the men who typically disdain romantic books and stay away from the romance aisles in the bookstores. But there are also women who are embarrassed to be seen reading novels with provocative covers.

Historical fiction covers still tend to stick to the old stereotype: voluptuous women with luscious breasts spilling out of their gowns and dashing heroes in tight breeches and flamboyant jackets.

Contemporary romances however have come a long way since the days of bosomy heroines staring adoringly at the heroes holding them in their muscle-bound arms. Now, book covers still show C-cup women and strapping men, but with a slight twist. The women are more scantily clad, with slender waists and skinny legs, and often wielding guns or other weapons, depending on the sub-genre. The men’s broad chests and tree-trunk biceps are bare, too, often tattooed and hairless. Then there are the paranormal covers with vampires, wolves, and wild cats poised to leap. All those covers are beautiful and tell their own story. They seem just right for the tales inside.

So where does that leave the kind of fiction I write: Bollywood in a Book? Mine is multicultural commercial fiction with heroines in modest garb, heroes working at ordinary jobs, and family drama as the central theme. Nevertheless there is plenty of love and romance woven into my stories.

Much to my joy, my publisher has designed beautiful covers to suit my unusual brand of Indian-American romance. No bosom on display, and no man—just a woman wearing a sari or tunic top and ethnic jewelry. The covers work effectively in attracting readers who are looking for something different in romance.

My latest novel, THE RELUCTANT MATCHMAKER, has a woman standing alone in contemplation, inside the arched entryway of an Indian temple. It suits the story—a vivid blend of contemporary Indian-American culture with an unconventional romance. When petite Meena finds herself irresistibly attracted to her strikingly tall boss, Prajay, a man who’s determined to find a statuesque bride to complement his remarkable height, how can Meena convince him that she is his perfect soul-mate? Is she willing to make some sacrifices to win his heart?

Leave a comment for a chance to win one autographed copy of THE RELUCTANT MATCHMAKER.

My book trailers and excerpts can be found at www.shobhanbantwal.com along with my contests, recipes, photos, and reviews. Visit me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShobhanBantwal.author

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