Monthly Archives: January 2014

Why Earl’s Fall in Love Winner!

Thank you so much, Manda Collins for such a great piece on the importance of setting in a book.  After reading both the book and Tuesday’s post, I felt as if I’d had a mini-vacation, away from the stresses of my life.  Bath sounds so lovely — I cannot wait to see it in person someday.

We had an amazing turn out for Manda’s release of Why Earl’s Fall in Love.  The winner of a copy of this latest installment in the Wicked Widow’s series is:  Diane Sallans!  Please contact us within ten days to claim your prize.

In the meantime, the rest of you — perhaps not lucky enough to win — are still lucky enough to be able to go out and read this great book.  For an excerpt, click HERE or on the photo below.

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Pretty, practical Georgie is nothing like the women Con usually woos–especially since she seems blind to his charms. But his elderly aunt is so fond of her that Con is determined at least to be sociable…with the occasional flirtation thrown in just for fun. But things take a serious turn when a dangerous figure from Georgie’s unhappy past appears and threatens to bring her harm. Con will do whatever it takes to keep Georgie safe. And if he can show her that all men are not menaces, he might be able to keep her in his arms and never let go…

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Author Erica Monroe joins us on Tuesday to tell us about her Rookery Rogues series. Read on for a sneak peak at what people are saying about her debut book:  A DANGEROUS INVITATION.

Dangerous Invitation Cover

“Dark and atmospheric. . . Erica Monroe delivers a different kind of Regency Romance. Weaving suspense and romance, A Dangerous Invitation takes you on a ride through London’s rookeries and into a unique new series.” – Deb Marlowe, Award Winning Author

“Fabulously researched with a fantastic love story and page-turning adventure. This promises to be a great series!” -Darcy Burke, Bestselling Author

Manda Talks Location, Location, Location!

Our very own Manda Collins has her newest Wicked Widows novel out today!  Yippee!  The characters in Why Earls Fall in Love are so delicious, I’ve been counting the days until its release.   Manda and I sat down to discuss what makes her novels so special.  (Oh, and how to win a Manda Collins novel today! See below.)

:::Uncorking a bottle of champagne and passing out glasses for Manda and all our readers:::

Diana:  Your settings in this series are really wonderful.  I feel as if I’m swept away on a vacation every time I read one of your books.  How important do you think the places you write about are to your plots?

Manda:  It would be difficult to imagine one of Colin Dexter’s wonderful Inspector Morse mysteries set in anyplace other than Oxford England. The same could be said if one were tempted to move the action of one of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mysteries to say, Texas. As with real estate, location in books matters! Especially when it comes to suspense. It can affect where the action takes place, what resources the characters will have at their disposal to solve the mystery, and even what sorts of danger could lurk for our hero and heroine.

Diana: ::: passing a tray of delicate, Regency-style cucumber sandwiches to Manda and our guests::: So, what made you pick the location for Why Earls Fall in Love? 

Bath Abbey at twilight. (Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Bath Abbey at twilight. (Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0)

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Roman Baths, Bath, England. Photo by Elissa Rolle (own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

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Farleigh-Hungerford Castle, Somerset, England. “Photo by Ian Knox [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons”

Manda:  When I chose to set my latest Wicked Widows novel, Why Earls Fall in Love, in Bath, I did so for several reasons. First of all, as companion to an elderly lady, Georgina would’ve be very likely to find herself in the spa town. Bath was, after all, one of the most popular places in England for invalids and the elderly to gather so that they could partake of the medicinal waters, which had been used to such purpose for hundreds of years.

Diana:  ::: wrinkling nose::: I heard the waters contained odd minerals and were absolutely awful tasting and smelly.  Wasn’t Bath mostly a chic place for people to see and be seen? 

Manda:  Once a thriving social whirl, by the time Georgie and Lady Russell arrive in Bath it has lost some of the polish that once made it such a popular spot. With the Prince Regent’s removal, along with his entourage, to the seaside town of Brighton, the Bath that Georgie arrives in has become a place where the elderly and those unable to afford a London season can repair to mingle with polite society for less. (Recall that in Jane Austen’s Persuasion, it is to Bath that the spendthrift Sir Walter Elliot is convinced to go when he can no longer afford to remain in his country estate.)

Diana:  Oh yes!  I forgot about that.  So it’s a place for economical socialization? Hmmm so why did you put your Earl there? Such lovely photos by the way.  Makes me want to go this very minute.  

Manda:  Another reason I chose Bath was that unlike London, it would be easier for people of differing classes to mix without too much difficulty. Because Bath society at this time wasn’t nearly as strict as it was earlier in the century, it was possible for the shabby genteel and the middle classes to mix with the wealthy at the Pump Room or in the Assembly Rooms without much fuss. And because I wished for Georgie to be able to see her old friends from her Army days, I needed that to be the case.

Diana:  ::: Passing out chocolate covered cherries to get rid of the imaginary taste of Bath waters:::  A perfect way for them to meet!  Clever and sneaky of you.  But, I hope there is more for them to do than sit around and drink smelly water?

 Manda: ::: laughing::: Unlike other towns of its size during the era, Bath offered many of the same kinds of entertainments that might be found in larger cities, like London, such as the theatre, gentlemen’s clubs, lending libraries, and even tourist destinations like Bath Abbey and Farleigh Castle. When it came to choosing a destination for Georgie and Con’s romance, then, I simply had to choose Bath! I can’t tell you more about how these special locations within the city of Bath play into the story without revealing some very major spoilers, but know that now the book is finished and nearly published, I cannot imagine WHY EARLS FALL IN LOVE taking place in any other place.

Diana:  Well, you’ve convinced me!  I cannot wait to dive into this book!

Manda:  So, let’s talk locations. What are some of your favorite mysteries, romances, or romantic suspense stories, in which the setting really made a difference? Do you think the book would have been the same if the setting were suddenly swapped out with another locale? What is it about that city or town that makes it the perfect place for the book to take place? Inquiring minds want to know! Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Why Earl’s Fall in Love.

Diana:  And don’t forget to get Manda Collins latest Wicked Widow Novel, Why Earl’s Fall in Love, out today! Why-Earls-Fall-In-Love-by-Manda-Collins300x490-e1384454350437

Winner of Tennessee Takedown

I’d like to thank Lena Diaz again for being a good sport and answering all our questions in between sneezes! It was a blast to interview her. And thanks to all our readers and commenters for a fun discussion of dark heroes.81aLrChZQqL._SL1500_

The winner of a signed copy of Tennessee Takedown is: Sherry Gladden. Sherry please email us here with your snail mail address to claim your autographed print copy of Tennessee Takedown! 

What’s up next?

Lovely Diana Belchase interviews also lovely Manda Collins. Manda’s Why-Earls-Fall-In-Love-by-Manda-Collins300x490newest release Why Earls Fall in Love releases Jan. 28th. She’ll be right here to share the release day excitement with us. And Psst: Guess who got her first ever review from Publishers Weekly! Manda! And it was awesome. Among other things, PW said that Why Earls Fall in Love is “sparkling” and “delicious”! Not too shabby for a first timer, eh? Check it out here: Publishers Weekly review.

Kiss and Thrill Takedown

Lena DiazToday it’s my very great pleasure to take down…I mean interview…Kiss and Thrill’s very own Lena Diaz. Lena is a master story-teller whose stories will rev your heart and melt it at the same time. If you haven’t tried one of her books what are you waiting for? Her latest release, TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN is one of my personal favorites. The story opens with an electrifying office shooting and then never lets up. It’s a thrill a minute coupled with a luscious love story. I adored TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN. Please don’t miss it! (Print release is Jan 21st! Ebook release is Feb 1st!) And now for the interview. Don’t forget there’ll be a giveaway for commenters. More on that later, but now here’s Lena:

Carey: What’s your favorite way to kill a character?

Lena: My favorite method is whatever works but doesn’t leave many clues for the police. Wait, CHARACTER? Sorry, Um. Okay, I admit I’m quite the fan of a good gunfight. There’s just something sexy about the hero diving to avoid a bullet and doing that mid-air maneuver where he twists around and returns fire before he even hits the ground. (shiver) I’ve also used poison, knives, even fire. And in one of the stories I’m writing right now the hero is very dark with a tortured past. His weapon of choice? His hands.

Carey: Shivering back! Let’s talk hunks- who would you want to play Dillon in Tennessee Takedown, the movie? And who for Ashley?

Lena: A younger version of Jeffrey Dean Morgan would be the PERFECT Dillon. (swoon) He’s the actor who played Denny in Grey’s Anatomy. I love his physique–solid, without being a body-builder type. And he has that sexy stubble I love so much, with a voice that could melt butter and eyes that invite you to try him on for size. LOVE him. And since I’m on a Grey’s Anatomy thread here, Chyler Leigh (Lexie Grey) would be a great foil for Dillon. She’s smart, funny, and has that all-American girl-next-door appeal.

Fun Fact Alert regarding TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN: The fictional town of Destiny, Tennessee is one county over from fellow Intrigue author Paula Graves’s fictional town of Bitterwood. And the hero even mentions the Bitterwood sheriff in my book.

Carey: What’s your secret ingredient for an unputdownable book?

Lena: I wish I knew! If I did, I’d bottle it and sell it and make a blasted fortune! I do think the hero is the most important part of a love story, so I put a lot of work into making my heroes smart, funny, sexy and super-alpha. And when it comes to plotting my stories, I constantly ask myself what would most likely make sense to happen next at the end of a scene–and try to do something else. I like to be surprised when I read, so that’s what I try to give my readers.

Carey: Oh I love that twist of the scene! You’re so good at it. Do you prefer writing an action scene or a love scene…and why :-)?

Lena: Action, action, action! Action scenes are just plain fun because they show off some of the best qualities in an alpha male. They add tension and drama and get the heart racing. Love scenes can (and should) get the heart racing too. But, honestly, they are so incredibly difficult for me to write. I agonize over them, for many reasons. Mainly, they are an important turning point in any love story and have to occur at the right moment(s) to ratchet up the tension and change the conflict. I also don’t want to write anything “crass” that would turn off my readers. I want to treat this important part of a relationship with the dignity and respect it deserves, while drawing out every ounce of emotion that I can. It’s never easy, but when it works, it can elevate the story to an entirely new level.

Carey: I love both your love scenes and your action scenes. Guess that explains why! Can you tell us about the Deadly Game series and give us a sneak peek at Take the Key and Lock Her Up?

Lena: The Deadly Game series has that name because the titles of all the books are twisted versions of real childhood games (He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not; Simon Says Die; Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Dead; Take the Key and Lock Her Up.) Each story focuses on bringing down a serial killer, and the heroes are all Buchanan brothers, except for Logan who is a best friend of one of the brothers.

“Take the Key” comes out this July and features Devlin, known as “Devil” to his brothers. Whereas the other Buchanan men come from law-enforcement types of backgrounds, Devlin has a dark, secret past that, well, let’s just say he avoids police every chance he gets. He’s a super tortured hero who walks a tightrope between his devil-may-care side he shows his family and the darkness that truly lurks in his soul. He’s definitely a reluctant hero, drawn into helping solve some abductions where women are imprisoned for years before ultimately being killed. This book goes back to my roots with the first book in the series in that it’s much more serious and darker than the other two books. Crossing my fingers my readers will love it as much as I do. Redeeming a seemingly unredeemable hero was a really difficult challenge but so worth it in the end.

Carey: I’m hopping with anticipation, Lena. And for good reason! Please tell us about your upcoming series with Avon.

Lena: I’m so thrilled to have sold a three book print series to Avon! The first book probably won’t be out until late 2015, and I can’t really share much about the series yet. But I will say that I sold it based on the tagline “The Bourne Identity meets The Firm.” And I can tell you that this series is a natural spin-off from Take the Key and Lock Her Up. Devlin’s past is integral to the basis for the entire series. He plays an important cameo role in the first book. And readers shouldn’t be surprised if other Buchanan men show up in these books as well!

Time for Lightning Round questions: 

Name your favorites:

Fast food restaurant – Outback! Love their green beans.

TV show – Law and Order SVU

Christmas gift you received this year – My son graduated from college! Best present ever.

Place to vacation – Gatlinburg, Tennessee. LOVE the Smoky Mountains.

Book of all time – I’ll let you choose one or your top three – Straight suspense-Coffin Dancer by Jeffrey Deaver. Romance-too many to name! Two classics I adore are Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwiss and Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard.

Song on your ipod (go to most played and spill the actual song you’ve listened to most)  – Merry Go ‘Round by Kacey Musgraves.

Carey: Lena thanks for being such a good sport! And now I have to check out Kacey Musgraves. She’s new to me.

Lena: Thank you so much for hosting me, Carey!

Readers, for a chance to win TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN please leave a comment. Lena says: What I’d love to know from the readers is this: How dark is too dark for a romantic suspense? Do you enjoy stories where the hero is almost an anti-hero and has to be redeemed by the heroine? Examples of favorite dark heroes or stories would be awesome!  

You can find Lena on the web here: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Join her mailing list.

Book Lists and Lena Diaz’s Tennessee Takedown

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Thank you for helping us build our 2014 TBR lists! We came up with some wonderful suggestions that will keep us busy all year.

These are some of titles on our list so far  (in no particular order):

Do or Die, Suzanne Brockmann  February 4, 2014

Hell for Leather, Julie Ann Walker, May 6, 2014

Dash of Peril (Love Undercover), Lori Foster, March 25, 2014

When Day Breaks, Maya Banks, June 24, 2014

Elle Kennedy, Midnight Pursuits, April 1 2014

The King, JR Ward, April 1, 2014

Dark Wolf, Christine Feehan, January 7, 2014

Styxx, Sherrilyn Kenyon, September 2013

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The Fault in Our Stars  by John Green

Tenessee Takedown, Lena Diaz, February 1, 2014

The Bodyguard, Lena Diaz, April 15, 2014

Take the Key and Lock Her Up, Lena Diaz, July 22, 2014

Confession, Carey BaldwinMarch 11th, 2014

Labyrinth, Carey Baldwin, Sept 16th, 2014

Why Earls Fall in Love, Manda Collins , January 28, 2014

Why Lords Fall in Love, Manda Collins, July 28, 2014

Withholding Evidence, Rachel Grant, February 2014

Incriminating Evidence, Rachel Grant, Late 2014

Thankless in Death, J.D. Robb, September 17, 2013

The Spellman Files series by Lisa Lutz

It Happens in the Dark, Carol O’Connell, August 2013

Lost in a  Royal Kiss, Vanessa Kelly, November 26, 2013

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt, October 22, 2013

The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer, April 9, 2013

Life After Life, Kate Atkinson, April 2, 2013

Far Gone, Laura Griffin, April 15, 2014

Romancing the Duke, Tessa Dare, January 28, 2014

Sweet Talk Me, Kieran Kramer, March 15, 2014

Lena Diaz

And please join us next week when our very own Carey Baldwin interviews our very own Lena Diaz!

We can’t wait to hear about her upcoming release Tennessee Takedown from Harlequin!

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New Year, New Romantic Suspense (and others) TBR Pile

IMG_1677It’s a new year, filled with reviews of 2013’s goal lists and resolutions to do so much more in 2014. But I am neither obsessed about where I fell short nor worried about the year ahead because I have always measured my life by my TBR pile. It could have something to do with the fact I am both a librarian and a writer. Every January I diligently review the list of books I’ve read and make a new list for the new year. But as of January 14, 2014 I only have 110 books on my list. So I’ve decided to share just some of the books that fall into the romantic suspense/thriller/mystery category with a few YA’s and a 2013 holdover included just for fun.  IMG_1729

So grab a latte or hot chocolate and please join me in building the list. Last year I read over 250 titles so I could use a few more suggestions!

51XOGF8HHyL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Do or Die, Suzanne Brockmann  February 4, 2014

Book description from back cover:   Navy SEAL Ian Dunn went rogue in a big way when he turned his talents to a lawless life of jewel heists and con jobs. Or so the world has been led to believe. In reality, the former Special Ops warrior is still fighting for good, leading a small band of freelance covert operatives who take care of high-stakes business in highly unofficial ways. That makes Ian the hands-down choice when the U.S. government must breach a heavily guarded embassy and rescue a pair of children kidnapped by their own father, a sinister foreign national willing to turn his kids into casualties. Shockingly, Ian passes on the mission for reasons he will not—or cannot—reveal. But saying no is not an option. Especially not for Phoebe Kruger, Ian’s beautiful and unexpectedly brash new attorney.

Determined to see the abducted children set free, Phoebe not only gets Ian on board but insists on riding shotgun on his Mission: Impossible–style operation, whether he likes it or not. Though Phoebe has a valuable knack for getting out of tight spots, there’s no denying the intensely intimate feelings growing between Ian and Phoebe as the team gears up for combat. But these are feelings they both must fight to control as they face an array of cold-blooded adversaries, including a vindictive mob boss who’s got Ian at the top of his hit list and a wealthy psychopath who loves murder as much as he loves money. As they dodge death squads and play lethal games of deception, Ian and Phoebe will do whatever it takes to save the innocent and vanquish the guilty—or die trying. 51zMbzUGktL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Hell for Leather, Julie Ann Walker, May 6, 2014

Blurb from Amazon:  Only the most urgent crisis could force Delilah Fairchild to abandon her beloved biker bar and ask the surly Bryan “Mac” McMillan for help. What the ex-FBI agent has against her is a mystery…but when the bullets start to fly, Mac is her only chance for finding her uncle alive. Mac knows that beautiful women can’t be trusted, but he has to put his natural wariness of Delilah aside to help her. With the clock ticking, Mac and Delilah find themselves holding on to each other in the wildest adventure of their lives.

51nrr4qRmzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Dash of Peril (Love Undercover), Lori Foster, March 25, 2014

Book blurb from Amazon: To bring down a sleazy abduction ring, Lieutenant Margaret “Margo” Peterson has set herself up as bait. But recruiting Dashiel Riske as her unofficial partner is a whole other kind of danger. Dash is six feet four inches of laid-back masculine charm, a man who loves life—and women—to the limit. Until Margo is threatened, and he reveals a dark side that may just match her own…. Beneath Margo’s tough facade is a slow-burning sexiness that drives Dash crazy. The only way to finish this case is to work together side by side…skin to skin. And as their mission takes a lethal turn, he’ll have to prove he’s all the man she needs—in all the ways that matter…. 51dm0mRre-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

When Day Breaks, Maya Banks, June 24, 2014

Book blurb from Amazon:   Eden is said to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her face has graced countless magazines and her body has sold millions of dollars of clothing. But her fame and beauty has earned her more than she ever imagined. Evil is stalking her, determined to extinguish the ethereal beauty forever. Swanson or “Swanny” as his teammates call him is always up for the next mission. He came back from Afghanistan wounded and scarred. Hardly the kind of man who even belongs in the same room with Eden. And yet there’s something about the quiet beauty that stirs his blood and makes him dream of the impossible. Because Beauty loving the Beast only happens in fairy tales and KGI doesn’t deal in fairy tales. Ever. 51qqXaGt9xL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Elle Kennedy, Midnight Pursuits, April 1 2014

Book blurb from Amazon:  Soldier-for-hire Ethan Hayes is the youngest member of an elite mercenary team. While he may be affectionately nicknamed the rookie, the skills Ethan honed as a Marine make him seriously dangerous. But when a sudden distress call puts him in close quarters with a rival, he finds more than his field skills being put to the test. Juliet Mason stands out as the master thief in a covert group of assassins and spies. Her latest mission is personal—and it’s gone horribly wrong. Juliet may prefer to work alone, but when the rookie comes to her aid in snowy Eastern Europe, she can’t deny they make a good team. But even up against a powerful enemy, their most challenging task yet may be fighting the passion between them…. 516h27EJgUL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

The King, JR Ward, April 1, 2014  (Okay. Not RS. But I don’t care. I’ve been waiting for this book for YEARS and it’s going on the list. :))

Book blurb from Amazon:  After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father’s mantle–with the help of his beloved mate. But the crown sets heavily on his head. As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything–and everyone–at risk. Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it. But when she decides she wants a child, she’s unprepared for Wrath’s response–or the distance it creates between them. The question is, will true love win out… or tortured legacy take over? 91x0cuCZ4VL._SL1500_

Dark Wolf, Christine Feehan, January 7, 2014 ( I just got this book!!! And it’s on the list and will be read by the weekend!!!)

Book blurb from Amazon:  Skyler Daratrazanoff always recognized the miracle that was Dimitri Tirunul, a man beyond any dream that had ever engaged her nights. But she was human. Vulnerable. He was Carpathian. Nearly immortal. She was nineteen. He was an ancient. Yet she held half his soul, the light to his darkness. Without her, he would not survive. Caught between the two warring species, Dimitri has spent centuries hunting the undead to keep his people free, and humans safe. He had survived honorably when others had chosen to give up their souls. But now, marked for extermination by the Lycans, Dimitri found himself alone, and fearing for his life. But salvation was coming… No Lycan would ever suspect someone like Skyler to dare mount a secret rescue operation. A teenage girl. A human of untested abilities. But she had something no one else had. She was predestined for Dimitri—as he was for her. And there was nothing stronger for Skyler than her desire to see her life-dream come true. Whatever the risk.

51cw9VJsXeLStyxx, Sherrilyn Kenyon, September 2013 (This is my one holdover book from last year. This book is long (848 pages) but in October and I got caught up in re-reading The Mists of Avalon, also over 800 pages. So I got behind. But this is a book I’ve waited for for a long time.)

Book blurb from Amazon: Just when you thought doomsday was over . . .  Centuries ago Acheron saved the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge. As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life and future for Acheron’s. The Atlantean goddess of Wrath and Misery, Bethany was born to right wrongs. But it was never a task she relished. Until now. She owes Acheron a debt that she vows to repay, no matter what it takes. He will join their fellow gods in hell and nothing is going to stop her. But things are never what they seem, and Acheron is no longer the last of his line. Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer. Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it’s your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul?

81kauFPTdLL._SL1500_Since I promised my teenage daughter we’d go see these movies, I’m adding these YAs, Divergent by Veronica Roth and The Fault in Our Stars  by John Green, to the list as well.

Now for my favorite part of my annual list! As a writer, I am blessed to have so many friends who are successful authors who also (sometimes–hint, hint) offer me advanced copies. So here is a preview of my TBR books from my K&T sisters. I cannot wait to read these!!!

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Lena Diaz: Tenessee Takedown, February 1, 2014,

It can’t be a coincidence that in the past twenty-four hours, three different thugs have tried to kill or abduct Ashley Parrish. Sexy SWAT team leader Dillon Gray saved her, but now he wonders why someone would want to murder the beautiful accountant…and why he finds her so infuriatingly attractive.  Then the FBI comes after Ashley for embezzlement, and Dillon knows he must protect her from a killer and prove she’s being framed. Taking her on a hair-raising run through dangerous terrain barely fazes him. But wanting her for more than just one night scares the hell out of him.

51wjBAS5WeL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Bodyguard, April 15, 2014.

SHE HAD NO ONE TO FIGHT FOR HER—UNTIL ONE POWERFUL BODYGUARD REFUSED TO LEAVE HER SIDE 
Her perfect marriage was a sham and Caroline Ashton had the physical and emotional wounds to prove it. With nothing left to lose, Caroline is ready to walk away—and hires Luke Dawson as her personal bodyguard. But before he can do more than secure her a safe house, Caroline stumbles upon the body of the man she’d fought day and night to escape. Now, confronted with fears beyond anything she ever imagined, Luke is the only man she can trust. Putting her life in someone else’s hands isn’t easy, but Caroline knows survival never is. Besides, Luke’s proven himself to be a worthy protector—one who’ll stop at nothing to see she never suffers again….

Take the Key and Lock Her Up, July 22, 2014 from Avon Impulse is the next thriller Lena’s Nursery Rhyme Series.

51ZuS8rgUwL._AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-52,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Carey Baldwin: CONFESSION, March 11th, 2014.

For fans of Allison Brennan and Karen Rose comes Carey Baldwin, a daring new name in suspense, with the story of a serial killer out for blood—and the only woman who can stop his reign of terror.

They say the Santa Fe Saint comes to save your soul—by taking your life. Newly minted psychiatrist Faith Clancy gets the shock of her life when her first patient confesses to the grisly Saint murders. By law Faith’s compelled to notify the authorities, but is her patient really the Saint? Or will she contribute to more death by turning the wrong man over to the police?

Faith is going to need all her wits and the help of a powerful adversary, Luke Jericho, if she’s to unravel the truth. But she doesn’t realize she’s about to become an unwitting pawn in a serial killer’s diabolical game. For once he’s finished with Faith, she’ll become his next victim

And LABYRINTH featuring FBI profiler Atticus (Spense) Spenser and Dr. Caitlin Cassidy – whom you’ll meet in CONFESSION– releases Sept 16th, 2014. 

81reRpIwXpL._SL1500_Manda Collins: WHY EARLS FALL IN LOVE, January 28, 2014

Society often makes strange bedfellows—and even more surprising betrothals… Young widowed Georgina Mowbray is settling into her role as Lady Russell’s companion quite well—until the lady’s nephew Dominic, the Earl of Coniston, arrives in Bath for a visit. Georgie’s always found him shallow and too smooth, and trusts him as much as she trusts most men…which is to say, not at all. But Con turns out to be more intriguing than she remembers—and completely irresistible…

WHY LORDS FALL IN LOVE comes out on July 28, 2014!

BoE_72dpiFinally, but not at all the least, Rachel Grant has two releases coming this year.

WITHHOLDING EVIDENCE, a short novel in the Evidence series, will be out in late February or early March…

Military historian Trina Sorensen has a nearly impossible task before her: try to get recalcitrant and tempting former Navy SEAL Keith Hatcher to reveal what happened during a top secret Somalia op five years ago. Recent history isn’t usually her forte, but the navy wants an historian’s perspective and has given her the high security clearance to get the job done.

Keith Hatcher isn’t just refusing to tell Trina about the op, he’s protecting a national secret that could destroy the lives of those he cares about the most. But not wanting to talk about a covert mission doesn’t mean he isn’t interested in spending time with the sexy historian, and the first time they kiss it’s explosive. 

When the past comes pounding on Keith’s door, he’ll do anything to keep Trina safe… Anything, that is, except tell her about Somalia. But with the one thing he must hide at all costs being the key to their survival, Keith must decide who he can trust, and which secrets are worth dying for.

And Rachel’s next full-length Evidence story INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE will be out later in the year. 

So what other titles are you desperately waiting for? What other books can you recommend? I’d love to know!

Winner of Tempted Into Danger

The winner of TEMPTED INTO DANGER by Melissa Cutler is

Michelle Vasquez!

 


Congratulations! Contact us by January 19th to claim your prize.

And be sure to join us next week when Sharon interviews Heather Ashby!

Heather Ashby 2013 03 07 - 0042-2-5

Melissa Cutler wants to know: What’s on your bucket list?

SecretAgentSecretaryIf you love romantic suspense, but are in the mood for something shorter than the average 400-page book—and you’ve already finished all of Lena Diaz’s Intrigues—consider picking up Melissa Cutler’s latest: SECRET AGENT SECRETARY. It’s action-packed, sexy, fun, and full of twists.

Want to learn more? Melissa gives you the whole scoop below. And be sure to look for the giveaway. 😉 Take it away, Melissa…

What’s on Your Bucket List?

Melissa Cutler Author PhotoMelissa Cutler here, and I’m so excited to be on Kiss and Thrill today talking about SECRET AGENT SECRETARY, my latest action-adventure romance from Harlequin. In the book, the heroine, Avery, is obsessed with spy movies and books. She has a crush on James Bond, a 911 Porche Carrera that she’s named Nikita, and cats named Aston and Martin. She also has a bucket list of things she wants to do or accomplish before she kicks the bucket.

Tops on that list is assisting in the capture of a criminal mastermind. Also on the list is driving a powerful, dangerous man crazy with desire for her and to own her very own spy gadget. With a little help from jaded, brooding black ops agent Ryan Reitano, she just might get to cross some of those items off her list throughout the story…

Until two years ago, I only had one item on my personal bucket list: to become a published author. Done! Ever since I earned my first publishing contract, I’ve been debating what should go on my new bucket list. And though I have a bunch of ideas, I haven’t put them in any kind of order yet.

Traveling tops my list. Presently, I’ve been to more countries in the world than states in the United States. I can’t decide if I’d like to reverse that statistic or widen the gap. Pretty much, I’d like to go EVERYWHERE. Traveling to Australia, Japan, and Brazil would be dreams come true, but I’d also like to visit Hawaii and cruise the Mississippi.

Giveaway: Do you have a bucket list? What’s on it? Leave a comment and be entered to win either a digital or print copy of TEMPTED INTO DANGER, the first book in my ICE: Black Ops series. (SECRET AGENT SECRETARY is book 2) Unfortunately, I can only open this giveaway up to U.S. residents. Sorry about that!
[Be sure to check back Thursday to see if you won! ~ Gwen]

Book Blurb:

Tops on Avery Meadows’s bucket list is assisting in the capture of an international criminal mastermind…from the safety of her desk as an ICE Agency secretary. She’s obsessed with everything secret agent-y, but being the daughter of grassroots pacifist leaders has left her with a mountain of guilt about it. But when, on New Year’s Eve, fate catapults her into the arms of sexy, soft-spoken Ryan Reitano—an undercover ICE agent with dangerous secrets he’s desperate to hide—Avery’s dream of saving the world takes on a whole new twist…

SECRET AGENT SECRETARY is Now Available Everywhere:

Amazon   B&N   Walmart   iTunes   Kobo   Harlequin

Read Chapter One on Melissa’s website.

Here’s a scene from SECRET AGENT SECRETARY:

Who knew where Avery would be by the time he returned? She should be enrolling in the ICE academy, or the FBI. Even if she stayed in San Diego, the odds of a woman like her staying single for long were not in his favor. If the male gender had any kind of clue, they’d be lining up for miles hoping to catch her eye. The realization added a new level of frustration to his already despairing heart. He’d never ask her to wait for him; he’d never hold her back like that.

But, damn it all, he wanted to. He wanted to be her shepherd through this dangerous world she dreamed of being a part of. He wanted to be everything she needed to embrace how strong and capable she truly was. He wanted to help her fly.

She flattened against the car and smoothed her palm over his cheek. In her eyes, he read tenderness, desire. Need that mirrored his own. He stepped into her, pinning her against the car with his hips. Her smiling lips parted on a hungry sigh.

“You’re going to kiss me,” she whispered so softly that if his gaze weren’t already transfixed on her lips, he might’ve thought he’d imagined it.

He brushed his hand along her jaw, past her ear and into her hair. He brought their faces together, breathing into each other, noses rubbing. “Yeah, I am.”

A tilt of her head and her lips skimmed his lower lip with a touch so feathery light a ripple of electricity washed over his skin. A growl of pleasure rose up from his throat like he was some sort of damn animal, but he couldn’t temper the intensity of his hunger for her. To take her and make her his.

Her eyes cracked open and met his gaze. And it was the strangest thing because it was like she was looking inside him, at the real Ryan that he only showed to maybe a handful of people the world over. He hadn’t even meant to show that side of himself to her, but she’d stripped his defenses handily, effortlessly, by stripping off her own defenses and inviting him into her world, to bear witness to the glories of her spirit.

He felt like he could hang in that moment with her forever, hip to hip, nose to nose, getting high off the knowledge that they were going to put their mouths on each other and it was going to be fireworks.

With Avery, everything was fireworks.

*  *  *

My thanks to Kiss and Thrill Blog for hosting me today. I love hearing from readers and am really easy to find at www.melissacutler.net, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelissaCutlerBooks ), and Twitter (@m_cutler). And you can always email me at melissa@melissacutler.net or sign up for my newsletter (http://www.melissacutler.net/newsletter/ ) to find out about my latest books and upcoming events.

Bio: Melissa Cutler knows she has the best job in the world, dividing her time between her dual passions for writing sexy contemporary romances and edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense for Harlequin, Penguin, and Kensington Books. She was struck at an early age by an unrelenting travel bug and is probably planning her next vacation as you read this. When she’s not globetrotting, she’s enjoying Southern California’s flip-flop wearing weather and wrangling two rambunctious kids.

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