Author Archives: mandacollinsauthor

Are You Ready to Go Rogue?

readysetrogue-by-manda-collins-300Happy 2017, KaTs! Manda, here.

It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone, but its even harder (for me) to believe that today marks the release of my 12th book with St. Martin’s Press! Time flies when you’re writing kisses and thrills, I guess 😉

READY SET ROGUE is also the start of a new series for me, and it’s been a joy to write because it combines three of my favorite things in a historical romance: bluestockings, kissing and fantastic libraries. See for yourself…

When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…

Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings—no matter how lovely they are to look at—is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match—but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?

This book has also been exciting for me because it’s garnered my first starred review from Booklist! Reviewer John Charles says:

“Displaying a deft hand at characterization, a superb ability to craft an engaging plot spiced with intrigue and danger, and a remarkable flair for graceful writing richly imbued with a deliciously crisp wit, Collins launches the Studies in Scandal series on a high note.”

Happy dancing!

If you’d like to read an excerpt and see for yourself, check out my website.

And here are the obligatory buy links…

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2diZiep
iBooks: http://apple.co/2cGFleR
B&N: http://bit.ly/2dj1rqc
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2d1cnXN

To celebrate release day, I’m giving away a copy of READY SET ROGUE to a random commenter! 

So, readers, I’ve told you I love bluestockings. What’s your favorite heroine type in romantic suspense (historical or contemporary)?

The Story Behind the Story: How to Woo a Widow, Vauxhall, and Odds and Ends

Greetings K&T-ers! (Kissers? Thrillers? How to decide?)

Today I’m here with a little peek behind the scenes of my latest novella, How to Woo a Widow. A few years ago I was reading a book about the English Regency–technically the period from 1811 to 1820 when the Prince Regent (nicknamed Prinny) was made Regent of England because of George III’s (his father’s) madness. This is the era of history I set my books in, and it also coincides with the Napoleonic Wars in which the English military played a significant role.vauxhall

Anyway, there I was, reading, and I came across a passage about the 1813 fete to celebrate the Allied win at the Battle of Vitoria that was held at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. This was a subscription fete, which meant you had to have a ticket to enter, and unfortunately the promoters oversold the tickets, so the place was teeming with more people than the gardens could hold. There was lots of traffic surrounding the event, and in general, it was chaotic. Knowing a bit about PTSD from the current era, where we have so many returning veterans, I immediately thought of how difficult it would be for a newly returned soldier to be comfortable at such an event. Not only the crowds, but also Vauxhall’s famous fireworks would make it hellish for someone suffering from PTSD.HowToWooAWidow

Thus, my hero Anthony, Lord Leighton, late of his majesty’s army, was born. The rest of the story followed from there, including, of course, his heroine Portia, who is recently widowed and already knows Tony quite well. There is also, as in all my stories, a bit of a mystery. And some very racy goings-on in Hyde Park. And of course, lots of kissing. (Because, romance!)

So, if you’d like a little taste of my writing, you might want to try this one! How to Woo a Widow is available for Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Kobo.

A GOOD RAKE IS HARD TO FINDOr, if you’d prefer something a bit more substantial, the first book in my Lords of Anarchy trilogy, A Good Rake is Hard to Find, is discounted right now from $7.99 to only $2.99! It’s a great deal, and even if I do say so myself, the hero, Lord Frederick Lisle, is pretty darn dishy. It is available for Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Kobo.

DutchGirl_1In other news, I’ve also been reading. And one of the best things has been marvelous historical fiction (that’s really historical romance with a lot more historical detail) from Donna Thorland called The Dutch Girl. Thorland writes books set during the American Revolution and The Dutch Girl is set on an estate owned by a Dutch poltroon in upstate New York. (A Poltroon was similar, as I understand it, to a plantation owner, only the land was worked not by slaves, but by tenant farmers who paid their rent in crops. And they weren’t treated very well most of the time.) This is one element of our national history that I knew next to nothing about before I read this book and it’s fascinating. And of course there’s a spying and sexytimes and just…you need to read this one, yall! It’s historical romantic suspense at it’s best!

Now, you! What have you been reading that has knocked your socks off? I’m always looking for great books! Tell me all about it in the comments and one commenter will win a copy of BOTH How to Woo a Widow AND A Good Rake is Hard to Find!

An Excerpt from GOOD EARL GONE BAD!

Good Earl Gone Bad (1)While the rest of the KaT gang is off living it up in NYC at the RWA Conference,  I thought I’d share some deets about my next book with you guys.

Good Earl Gone Bad is the second book in my Lords of Anarchy series,  only this time around the Lord of Anarchy is actually…wait for it…a lady! Lady Hermione Upperton to be exact!

But things aren’t so easy for the first female member of The Lords of Anarchy,  and soon she’s teaming up with the haughty gambler, Lord Mainwaring to clear her name when she’s accused of murder.
Coming October 6, 2015
ISBN-13: 9781250061072
ISBN-10: 1250061075

Audacious, extravagant, indulgent-the Lords of Anarchy live at top speed, with nothing to chase but pleasure…at every imaginable cost.…

TEMPTING FATE

Marriage? To a gambler? You must be joking! Yet Lady Hermione Upperton has never backed down from a challenge. When her spendthrift father offers her at the gaming tables, she is given a difficult choice—wed the Earl of Mainwaring, an infamous gamester with no respect for her skills with the reins, or face charges for the murder of a member of the infamous Lords of Anarchy. Either way she’ll have to clear her name. Can she count on her husband’s help the way she has begun to count on his kisses?

RISKING ROMANCE

All Jasper Fawley, the Earl of Mainwaring, wanted was a night of cards. But by the end of the evening he’s walked away with a fortune—and a bride who’s suspected of murder. Jasper knows Hermione is passionate about her unorthodox membership in the Lords of Anarchy, but he’s certain she would never kill to keep it. Can he protect his headstrong wife from prosecution and a ruthless killer without endangering both their hearts in the process?

EXCERPT

“For a club called The Lords of Anarchy,” said Miss Ophelia Dauntry wryly as she scanned the crowded ballroom of Lord and Lady Payne, “they seem remarkably well behaved.”

As the current president of the once notorious driving club, Lord Payne had done much to repair the club’s image in the eyes of the haute ton. And part of that campaign had been the invitation they club had extended to Lady Hermione Upperton, whose membership was the reason for tonight’s celebration. They had even gone so far as to celebrate her induction with a rout instead of what they might otherwise have done—taken the excuse to drink to excess in their favorite tavern on the Brighton Road.

“I think we all know why they are behaving so prettily,” Lady Hermione said with a speaking look. She was under no illusions about the reasons for her warm welcome into the brotherhood. But as a driving enthusiast with a desire to take her place among the sporting elite, she was happy to take whatever chance she could get.

Especially since her father had done his level best to keep her from fulfilling her dream by threatening every other club with a lawsuit if they allowed his daughter to become a member. Only the Lords of Anarchy had ignored the Earl of Upperton’s threats and extended the invitation.

“I believe you should be chatting with your new compatriots,” said Mrs. Frederick Lisle—more commonly known as the celebrated poet Leonora Craven. “Especially since you are looking so lovely.”

Hermione smiled at her friend’s compliment. It was true that she felt far more fashionable than she was normally accustomed to in her deep blue silk gown. The color contrasted with her creamy complexion as well as bringing out the blue in her eyes. And she’d chosen to have her maid dress her dark hair in a newer, softer style which was more becoming than her usual utilitarian chignon. Though she was now a member of a club that was known for its masculine pursuits, she hadn’t wished them to forget that she was still a lady. And as such she would bring a new sensibility to the membership.

“Thank you, Leonora,” she said, suppressing the urge to twirl about. “I was sure Ophelia would faint dead away on seeing me rigged out in such finery.”

“I always knew you had it in you,” Ophelia said primly. Then in a lower voice said, “I’m just happy you chose to put away your dowdy gowns on an evening when there are so many handsome, eligible gentlemen around.”

“Are we interrupting?”

Ophelia’s consternation was almost comical as she realized that Leonora’s husband, Freddy, was behind her.

“Of course not darling,” said Leonora with a twinkle in her eye as she made room in their little circle for both Freddy and the two men flanking him: the Earl of Mainwaring and the Duke of Trent. Friends from school, the three had once been four—with Leonora’s brother Jonathan rounding out the group.

“I am surprised to see you here, Mainwaring,” Hermione said with a raised brow. “I thought you were firmly against the notion of ladies participating in such rough pursuits.”

As if he knew how much it would irritate her, Mainwaring raised his quizzing glass and surveyed her with it. When he lingered in his perusal, she found herself blushing.

Finally, dropping the eye-piece, he mimicked her quizzical expression. “I do not believe you are showing any signs of masculinity, Lady Hermione,” he drawled. “So I suppose I must withdraw my objections.”

His sigh, which was heartfelt, only served to further annoy her.

That he was as handsome as he was provoking vexed Hermione even further. With dark unruly curls that cried out to be tousled and the fine boned features of a Renaissance angel, he would have been called pretty if he were a woman. But he was most certainly not—as his wide shoulders and trim waist attested. Yet, Hermione could focus only on his maddening personality.

“You are the most infuriating man,” she said with a scowl. “Do you really have to enjoy setting my back up so much? It’s most unbecoming.”

Mainwaring gave a shrug. “Perhaps not, but it’s far too amusing for me to give up.”

She wondered idly if it would spoil the party in her honor if she were to start a brawl. Likely not, but knowing that the Lords of Anarchy wanted to rejuvenate their image, she could jeopardize her membership. And though it would feel wonderful to snatch away Mainwaring’s quizzing glass and smash it into tiny pieces, she would not risk her new place, even for him.

“There is more to life than amusement,” Hermione retorted. “In fact, I would find it most amusing to…”

“Children,” interrupted the Duke of Trent “I believe our host is approaching his guest of honor.”

Hermione, without the height of the duke to let her see above the crush, stared in the direction Trent had indicated, and soon saw that he was correct. Lord Payne, accompanied by his lady wife, was headed their way.

“My dear, Lady Hermione,” said the viscount, “I hope you are enjoying yourself. I see that you have found your friends.”

He smiled politely at the circle around her, but without warmth. He and Freddy had crossed paths during the tenure of the previous club President, who was also Freddy’s cousin. And it was obvious there was no love lost between the men.

“I am pleased to see so many of the membership came out to support you, Lady Hermione,” said Lady Payne, her hand lying possessively on her husband’s arm. Hermione wondered if that was for her benefit. It cannot have been easy for her to stand by his side through the wilder exploits of the club. “I do wish you will consider me a friend during your membership. As the only lady, I know it will be difficult for you to find your footing.”

Definitely for her benefit, then Hermione thought ruefully.

Aloud, she said, “Thank you, Lady Payne. That is most kind of you to think of me.”

“Nonsense,” her host contradicted his wife. “I foresee no issues for Lady Hermione with the other chaps. We are not the first driving club to admit ladies, after all. So long as she knows her way around a coaching pair, she’ll be fine.”

Lady Payne flushed in embarrassment. Hermione exchanged a speaking glance with Leonora—there was something very unhappy about that match.

Before Hermione could break the awkward silence, Payne gave a brisk nod. “We’ll leave you to it then. I shall see you later this week at the first club muster of the season in Hyde Park. We meet by the Queen’s Gate.”

And just as quickly as the couple had appeared, they disappeared back into the crush of guests.

“Well, that was awkward,” Mainwaring said once their hosts were out of earshot. “I wonder if he is that charming with all ladies or reserves such bombast for his wife.”

For once, Hermione couldn’t argue with him. But if she were going to succeed in the club, she’d need to accept the bad with the good. Even if it meant suppressing her dislike for the way the club’s President treated his wife.

“Once a bully, always a bully,” said Freddy grimly. “I had hoped he’d become a bit less difficult with my cousin Gerard gone, but it would seem that the leopard does not change his spots.”

“Don’t let’s spoil Hermione’s night with all this dark talk,” Leonora said, linking her arm through Hermione’s. “I see champagne over there. Why don’t you gentlemen go fetch some for us.”

“Ahh, I see how it is,” Freddy said with a much put-upon sigh. “Now that we’re wed, you think you can just order me about.”

“Trent and I aren’t wed to her, but she’s ordering us about as well,” Mainwaring pointed out with a shrug. “I think she just wants us gone so that they can talk about lady things.”

And since none of the three ladies denied the accusation, the three men soon took themselves off to find the champagne tray.

“Are you sure you wish to be part of this club, dearest?” Leonora asked Hermione once the men had gone. “I know you are desperate for some place to show your skill with the reins. And I do most certainly think that you are any of these men’s equal, if not superior. But I cannot like it that you will be associating with Lord Payne. He was not particularly blameless in all that went on with the club when Freddy and I were involved.”

But Hermione had already made up her mind about the group. And though she too found Lord Payne troublesome, she had decided that until she saw evidence that the club was sliding back into its former bad habits, she would give them the benefit of the doubt.

“I know it’s difficult for you to understand,” she said aloud. “But I am doing this wish my eyes open. At the first sign of trouble, I will sever my ties, I promise. But until then, I would like the chance to determine whether a club like the Lords of Anarchy can give me what it is I’m looking for.”

“But what is it that you’re looking for?” Ophelia, who had remained silent until now, asked. “What do you want from them?”

“What every woman wants.” Hermione smiled sweetly. “To win.”

Thanks for keeping me company while I’m holding down the fort! Just for fun, tell me about your favorite romantic suspense series. It can be contemporary or historical or paranormal.  One commenter will win a digital ARC of Good Earl Gone Bad! 

A Good Rake Is Hard to Find? Not Today!

Here at Kiss and Thrill,  we love nothing better than a celebration,  and today we’re celebrating the release of the first book in my new Lords of Anarchy series: A GOOD RAKE IS HARD TO FIND.

Good Rake is Hard To Find

 

A DANGEROUS GAME

Heartbroken by the loss of her brother, Miss Leonora Craven vows to uncover the truth about his “accident,” which seems to have been anything but. Jonathan Craven was involved with the Lords of Anarchy, a notorious driving club, and Leonora can’t help but suspect foul play. But the only way she can infiltrate their reckless inner circle is to enlist the help of Jonny’s closest ally, Lord Frederick Lisle. If only he didn’t also happen to be the man who broke Leonora’s heart…

AN UNDENIABLE DESIRE
Frederick isn’t surprised to find gorgeous, headstrong Leonora playing detective, but he knows that the Lords of Anarchy mean business–and he has no choice but to protect her. A sham engagement to Leonora will allow Frederick to bring her into the club and along for the ride. But it isn’t long before pretending to be lovers leads to very real passion. With everything to lose, is their tempestuous affair worth the risk?

Kindle – amzn.to/1CUiE0n
Nook – bit.ly/1KeGgNm
iBooks – bit.ly/1CIfts1
Kobo – bit.ly/1CUjcmU

A GOOD RAKE IS HARD TO FIND is a story about reunited lovers, one of the most popular tropes in Romancelandia. Do you think they have a place in Romantic Suspense as well as other sub-genres of romance? What are some of your favorite romance tropes?  I’ll give one commenter a copy of A GOOD RAKE IS HARD TO FIND! 

Winners…We have Winners!

Thank you so much for coming out to celebrate the release of WHY LORDS LOSE THEIR HEARTS with me on Tuesday, you guys! This week our winner is: MAUREEN

Just click on the Contact Us link at the top of the page, and send me your snail mail addy, Maureen and I’ll send your book out first thing next week.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! And in the meantime, get yourselves ready because next week, we’re going to be spotlighting our very own Lena Diaz’s latest book TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP! Yay! Can’t wait for this one, folks. Can. Not. Wait!
takethekey

Why Do Lords Lose Their Hearts? Find out today!

GkUw090gCtcqEfaycQ02GU7T2n1MPsu6V7UNdKad_04Good morning all you happy people! Manda here, with the very exciting news that the third book in my Wicked Widows trilogy, WHY LORDS LOSE THEIR HEARTS, is released into the wild today! Squee, y’all!

This book features the final showdown between Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormond, and the mysterious assailant who has threatened over the course of the trilogy to tell the world just how the brutish Duke of Ormond met his end. In the process, Perdita will 1) Fight Evil, 2) Get Kidnapped, and 3) Fall in Love with Lord Archer Lisle. But not necessarily in that order! I’m thrilled that readers are finally getting the chance to read this story of love between friends, and I can’t wait to hear what you think about the conclusion to the mystery that’s beset our favorite widows over the course of the trilogy!

Here’s the rundown:

THE TRUTH COULD RUIN HER

Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormonde, keeps a dangerous secret—the truth of how her brutish husband died. But a mysterious avenger seems to know it, too, and when anonymous threats turn into public attacks, there’s only one friend she can turn to for help—her husband’s former secretary, Lord Archer Lisle. The man who witnessed her every heartache. The kind of man whose love she can only dream of …

WILL HIS LOVE SAVE HER

The youngest of the Duke of Pemberton’s five sons, Lord Archer Lisle is used to waiting his turn. For years, he could only stand by, seething, as Perdita suffered at the hands of her husband, but now she’s under threat from another source—one who will stop at nothing to make her pay for the late duke’s death. But the good-natured Archer can be dangerous when crossed—and he’ll do anything to keep the woman he’s adored for so long safe in his arms…

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY said “This sweet and sensuous novel has an undercurrent of mystery that will keep readers riveted.” And RT BOOK REVIEWS called it “sweet and chilling”–just what this author of romance mixed with thriller could wish!

My toughest critic, though, is Toast the cat, who (thankfully) gave it four paws up! Here she is after staying up all night. She couldn’t put it down! 20140728_175600

How do you like your romance? I’m guessing since you’re here at K&T, you like it with a side of mystery, but the perfect portion of each can be different for each person. What’s your perfect mix of romance and mystery? What makes you, the reader, lose your heart to a book? I’ll give a copy of WLLTH to one chatty commenter!

Winner! We Have a Winner Here!

Thanks so much for sharing your favorite reads with me on Tuesday’s Appreciation Post! Hope you try one of the great suggestions–maybe even Karin Slaughter’s amazing  COP TOWN!

Now, without further ado, the winner of an ARC of my upcoming book WHY LORDS LOSE THEIR HEARTS is Patti Straight!!! Congratulations, Patti! Email me using the CONTACT US link above with your snail mail address and ill get it out to you ASAP!

GkUw090gCtcqEfaycQ02GU7T2n1MPsu6V7UNdKad_04

 

 

Come back next Tuesday when the always excellent RACHEL GRANT shares some REALLY EXCITING NEWS!!! What can it be??? Like the Go Gos, my lips are sealed!!

 

 

 

Karin Slaughter’s COP TOWN–An Appreciation

Cover, Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

COP TOWN–A fantastic read!

Here at Kiss and Thrill, we don’t do reviews per se. What we do are better called, to my mind, appreciations.

These are the books that strike a chord, that make us wish we’d written them ourselves, that leave us turning the last page with a happy sigh. Karin Slaughter’s latest, COP TOWN, is certainly worthy of all the appreciation I can muster.

Better known for her Grant County and Will Trent series, COP TOWN is a bit of a departure for Slaughter, in that it’s a stand alone novel set in 1975 Atlanta.

When I read her 2012 book, CRIMINAL, which jumped back and forth between the early 1970s and the present, I was sad to see her close that 70s storyline, not because I didn’t want more Will Trent, but because I was equally as drawn to the women breaking barriers as cops in the Atlanta PD forty years ago.

Cover, Criminal by Karin Slaughter

CRIMINAL–70s + Will Trent=Awesome!

Fortunately for me, Karin Slaughter was also eager to revisit the turbulent70s and thank goodness she was. Because COP TOWN is easily the best mystery/thriller I’ve read this year. Following two female patrol cops–one a rookie and the other the sister and niece of cops–COP TOWN explores not only crime and punishment in the era, but also gives a very authentic portrait of life in post-war, post integration, post women’s movement Atlanta. And it’s not a pretty picture.

Kate Murphy, the rookie, is the widow of a Vietnam soldier, who, tired of spending her days weeping, decides to make a change, and that means joining the Atlanta PD. And, as luck would have it, she ends up partnered with Maggie Lawson, whose Uncle Terry and brother Jimmy are both cops too, making Maggie less than thrilled to show newbie Kate the ropes.

What follows is a fast paced, exhilarating, and–yes–sexy tale that kept me turning the pages well into the night. But what will stick with me is the characterization.

I especially appreciated the nuanced portrait of Kate, which was careful not to portray her as a saintly widow, and didn’t hold back when describing the ups and downs of her marriage. One of the things I appreciate most about Slaughter is that she shows love in all it’s messy, complicated, sometimes cruel facets. I also loved watching Kate develop from a scared baby cop into a seasoned veteran in the space of a week. Because her trial was by fire, and darned if she didn’t come through it alive and kicking.

Whether you’re looking for a police procedural with a complex and edge of your seat mystery, or a character driven story about two very strong female characters coming into their own, you can’t go wrong with COP TOWN. The PR materials say it’s a stand alone, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that Karin Slaughter will make this one an ongoing series. There’s a bit of a romance thread in this one and it’s one of the things that didn’t get tied up. But I’ve got my fingers crossed so here’s hoping!

Why not? She granted my wish the last time, right?

What have you read lately that knocked your socks off? I’ll give one lucky commenter an ARC (electronic or print, your choice) of my upcoming WHY LORDS LOSE THEIR HEARTS which Romantic Times just called, “chilling and sweet”!

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