Feature: Best Friends

Contributed by Ashia (Romancing the Books and More)

I’ve always loved the best friend trope in my romances in whatever form–sister/brother’s best friend, best friend’s brother/sister, or the main characters themselves being best friends. There’s something magical in the process of best friends becoming lovers. How did they transition into the new state? What about the angst/conflict they feel?

I’ve read a lot of this trope, and I have to say that not all authors can do it successfully. Or give me so much feelings–good ones.

Here are some romances in 2018 utilizing the “best friend” trope that I’m gonna be checking out:

Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite (Amazon)

Greta loves her job as assistant librarian. She loves her best friend, Will, the high school civics teacher and debate coach. She even loves her mother despite her obvious disappointment that Greta is still single.

Then she meets Mac in the poetry section of the library, and she is smitten. Mac is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and showers her with affection, poetic text messages, and free hot chocolate at the local cafe where he works. The only problem is that he seems to be a different person in his texts that in his face-to-face conversation.

When the Franklin Library is threatened with closure, Greta leaps into action. She arranges for a “battle of the bands” book jam, hosts a book signing by a famous author, and finally, stages a protest that raises more than a few eyebrows.

Through it all, she slowly realizes that it is Will, not Mac, who she turns to for support and encouragement. Mac has the looks; Will has the heart. How can she choose between them?

Check Me Out is a contemporary romance—with just a hint of Cyrano de Bergerac—that reminds us to never judge a book by its cover. Continue reading

Feature: Office Romance

Contributed by Jackie

What could be more exciting than finding a lover in the office? There are pro’s and con’s, as we shall see:

Pro:

  1. Makes you look forward to going to the office
  2. Being with your lover the entire day (you can then make sure he/she is not having any on the side)

Con:

  1. Being with your lover the entire day (doesn’t it get tiring after awhile?)
  2. Destroys your concentration

Okay, the above is just for fun, because honestly, I really love office romances. You’re with this person day in and day out, getting closer everyday, so of course it’s no wonder you’d fall in love.

Here are some romances that I’ve been eyeing:

Beta Test by Annabeth Albert (Amazon).

Player vs. Player. Fight!

Brilliant graphic designer Ravi Tandel is ahead of the game—he’s just been asked to present a top secret project at a huge conference in Seattle. All systems are go…until he learns his buttoned-up office nemesis is coming along for the ride.

Tristan Jones isn’t really the gamer type, but he knows the back end of the video game business inside out. Together, he and Ravi will give an awesome presentation. If they survive the cross-country trip first.

Tossed together in close quarters, Ravi’s shocked to see Tristan’s sexy, softer side emerge from such a conservative shell. He’s less shocked to learn his handsome colleague’s prominent family would never support an out-and-proud son. But Ravi didn’t struggle through his own coming out to hide who he is now. To be together, Tristan will have to push past his fear and ultimately decide: Does he want a future with Ravi? Or is it game over before they’ve even begun? Continue reading

Pre-order now: It’s All About the Duke by Amelia Grey

It's All About the Duke Tour Graphic
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DUKE
New York Times Bestselling Author
Amelia Grey
It's All About the Duke
Series: The Rakes of St. James Book 3
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
He could be a rake if he means only to steal a kiss but steals your heart as well.
Nearing thirty, the Duke of Rathburne is finally ready to make amends for the wager that caused him and his best friends such scandal, but taking on a ward who needs a husband is a feat he’s not sure he can manage. The last he saw of Miss Marlena Fast, she was a spirited little ruffian, not the sort of bride most bachelors on the marriage mart sought. But one glance at the lovely lady she has become is enough to convince him otherwise…
Orphaned young and shuffled from family to family, Marlena counts on her fierce independence and quick wits to keep herself content. Being the responsibility of a notoriously wicked duke who upended so many lives is an unexpected challenge when she realizes he arouses her decidedly feminine desire. Marlena must be careful. She has her own scandalous secret to protect. If he finds out, will it shatter her chances of a happily-ever-after with the notorious rake?

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Featured: The Siege by Marilyn Baron

The Siege: A Novel
THE SIEGE: A NOVEL
Award Winning Author Marilyn Baron
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Mystery, Historical
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: January 8, 2018
A journey of self-discovery leads to love and passion in the search for a family’s hidden past…
Artist Theia Constas receives a tour of Italy from her grandmother as a college graduation present. Before she departs, her ya-ya’s deathbed revelation of a cache of WW II photographs and love letters extends Theia’s itinerary to Crete in search of her unknown grandfather, a promising artist who studied under Chagall but didn’t survive the war.
Wade Bingham, an actuary who always follows the rules and calculates the odds, finds himself alone on his honeymoon trip, wondering why his fiancée jilted him at the last minute.
In the wrong place at the wrong time when their hotel in Florence, Italy, is besieged by terrorists, the two strangers find themselves thrust together in Wade’s honeymoon suite. Immediately attracted to each other, Wade conducts a siege of his own to win Theia’s heart.

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Pre-order Now! Her Two Men in London by Dana Delamar and Kristine Cayne

Her Two Men in London Tour Graphic
HER TWO MEN IN LONDON
Dana Delamar and Kristine Cayne
Series: Total Indulgence Book 1
Genre: Erotic Romance, Menage Romance (MMF)
Publisher: Three Orcas Press LLC
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
When three isn’t a crowd…
Her Two Men in London
I’m an uptight and responsible single mom who’s almost forgotten the last time I had sex. He’s famous for sticking his dick where it doesn’t belong. Not to mention that he’s eight years younger. And he’s got a boyfriend.
It was only supposed to be a vacation fling during a writers’ retreat to England and Scotland. So why does being with him—with them—feel so right?
PAIGE
My work and my daughter are my life. I agreed to a vacation fling with one man—and now there are two! Things are getting far too complicated…
RILEY
I lost hard at the game of love, and now I don’t even want to play. I just want to have fun, but there’s something about him—and her—that’s calling to me…
CARTER
My relationship with my ex-wife gave me PTSD. I’ve found the man I want—but he wants us to have a girlfriend too. I’m not sure I can do that, even for him…

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First Kiss: Escape by Belle Ami

This is a featured article column called FIRST KISS. We ask authors to share a first kiss scene from one of their books published in 2017. And each author graciously sent in an excerpt. Enjoy!

 
 
 
Title: Escape (Tip of the Spear 1)
Author: Belle Ami
Genre: Romance, Thriller
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Buy Link: Amazon

Escape, a sexy romantic thriller with a focus on the dangers of a nuclearized Middle East.

When Harvard student, Layla Rose Wallace and her Saudi boyfriend are kidnapped in Dubai and taken to Iran, a deep-cover Mossad agent is activated and given a mission. He is ordered to either get Layla out of Iran, or if failing that—kill her.

FIRST KISS EXCERPT:

She leaned into him, pressing her body against his back. He pursed his lips, sucking in his breath. Standing on her tiptoes, she whispered in his ear, “I’m a virgin.”

His brows knit together. “You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s impossible. What about the Saudi boyfriend?” He turned around abruptly, grabbing her elbows so she didn’t fall.

She pulled away, breathing unevenly, and dropped her eyes with embarrassment. “We never actually made love.” She backed herself against the tile wall, trying to put some distance between them.

He smiled, challenging her. “Well, maybe I’d be doing you a favor,” he joked. He watched her perfect brows furrow in defiance.

“Why do I think you’re enjoying this game more than you should? Maybe you’re more attracted to me than you’re willing to admit.”

You’re good, he thought, you’ve got that right. Masking his amusement, he ignored her baiting. “Far be it for me to deflower a child. I think faking it is in your best interest.”

She drew herself to her full height and bravely leaned provocatively toward him. “Do I look like a child? I’m not kidding. If you think it will save my life, I’m willing to give myself to you.”

“Ah, I see. The proverbial sacrifice of the lamb.”

“I’m not a lamb, I’m a full-grown woman.” Continue reading

First Kiss: Legacy of Evil by Sharon Buchbinder

This is a featured article column called FIRST KISS. We ask authors to share a first kiss scene from one of their books published in 2017. And each author graciously sent in an excerpt. Enjoy!

 
 
 
Title: Legacy of Evil
Author: Sharon Buchbinder
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: October 13, 2017
Buy Link: Amazon

When a wild mustang is shot in Montana, renowned horse whisperer and telepath, Emma Horserider, is called in to calm the herd and find out what happened. Once on scene she is almost killed by a bullet-spewing drone, and calls her black ops brother for back-up.

Emma’s help roars into her life covered in tattoos and riding a Harley. Remote viewer Bronco Winchester takes the assignment because he is ordered to, but he wonders what type of assistance, his boss’s sister needs. That is until he sees Emma, a valiant Warrior Woman proud of her Crow heritage.

Posing as a married couple, Emma and Bronco go undercover to infiltrate and stop a hate group. Both are anxious enough without the now growing attachment they feel for one another. When the lives of many are on the line, they are not sure if they will live or die—let alone have a chance at love.

FIRST KISS EXCERPT:

They walked in silence to the river’s edge where the sun lapped at the water and trout teased Gaucho and Franny. Off his leash, the cat pounced at fish while the pug ran back and forth along the sand barking and yipping. Emma looked off into the distance, her gaze fixed on the other side of the river.
Bronco put his hands in his pockets and leaned back on his heels. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to talk down to you. I really need your help.”

She gave him the side eye, as if waiting for the other boot to drop.

“This assignment worries me. Bert will hand me my ass if you get hurt. Tallulah is too far along and way too hormonally challenged to be of assistance. I still haven’t heard what special ability Lucius has, but with that baby due in less than a month, it doesn’t seem fair to drag him into this investigation.”

“So what do you suggest?”

“We need to get eyes on this drone and find out where it came from. If we can figure that out, we can jam the radio signals between the person controlling it and the bird. My remote viewing can help us lay eyes on the source, but I’d feel better if we had hard data to back us up. I’m going to call your brother and tell him we need satellite images of the state, with a focus on the area around the Mustang Ranch.”

“Okay.” She quirked a brow at him. “What’s this have to do with me?”

Struggling to come up with the right words, he dragged the toe of his boot in the sand. “We need to find out if the Neo-Nazis are behind this. I want to get into Billings and scope out the gay scene.”

Emma began to laugh, and he put his hand up like a traffic cop. “I was hoping you and Steph would go with me, be my guides. I’d be a new guy in town, looking for a good time. If I can lure one of those cretins, get him to take the bait, we’d have a way in.”

“And then what? They beat the shit out of you? Maybe kill you?” Fists on her hips, Emma glared at him. “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Besides, what makes you think you could play a gay guy well enough to pick someone up?”

“Hey, give me some credit,” he spat back. “I’ve got years of undercover work under my belt that I’m damn good at. Not once did the motorcycle clubs I infiltrated even suspect I was an ATFE agent. Besides, your cousin thought I was cute—”

Before he could finish his sentence, her hands were on his shoulders and Emma yanked him in for a kiss. Bronco’s brain turned to mush, and all the blood in his body raced to his groin. His hands moved of their own volition, running through her hair, pulling those lush lips into his, his tongue seeking entrance, his hips crushing against hers. She grabbed his butt and pushed his erection against the vee of her crotch, his desire and hardness growing with each thrust of his hips. He moaned, reached for her breast—and she shoved him away.

Like two gunmen in an old Western town, they stood with their hands at their sides, breathing hard and staring each other down. Confused, he looked around wildly to see if someone or something had interrupted her display of passion. “What just happened?”

“A test. There are some things our body can’t pretend.” Hair wild around her flushed face, lips swollen, she rasped, “Do you really think you can pass yourself off as gay?”

Stunned, he stared at her, his mind racing, grasping for thoughts, but all he could think of, all he could see was her in his arms, up against a wall with her legs around his waist, their moans of passion filling the darkness. A shout cut through his miasma of pheromones and lust.

“Get in here,” Lucius called from the back door. “It’s Bert. Says it’s urgent.”

Whistling for the pug, Emma stomped back to the hotel with Bronco and Gaucho pulling up the rear. Her fine ass addled his mind even as he tried to clear it of the sex-drenched fog.

What the hell was that about? A test? He hadn’t planned to do the bump and grind with every guy in the club, just hang out at the bar and get the lay of the land—so to speak.

Truthfully, he’d never even considered the possibility that he’d have to prove he was gay to play the role. Dammit. She’s right. Well, that plan was out. He shook his head and stomped up the back steps, angry at himself for being so stupid.

First Kiss: His American Detective by Summer Devon

This is a featured article column called FIRST KISS. We ask authors to share a first kiss scene from one of their books published in 2017. And each author graciously sent in an excerpt. Enjoy!

 
 
 
Title: His American Detective
Author: Summer Devon
Genre: Historical Romance, LGBTQ
Publication Date: September 1, 2017
Buy Link: Amazon

The sole survivor of his family’s gruesome murder years earlier, “Poor Little Ned Lawton” has struggled to put the dark events behind him. So when a brash New York detective darkens his doorway demanding an interview, the wealthy young gentleman immediately shuts him out. But a rash of murders in America are mirroring of the London killings, and Patrick Kelly knows Ned might be the key to stopping the bloodshed.

Lawton, now called Edmund Sloan, is a wealthy young gentleman and philanthropist. He’s spent most of his life pushing all memories of his old family and that horrific day from his thoughts. Now a brash, provocative American detective insists he dredge up the past.

Together, Patrick and the unwilling Edmund must uncover the truth of the murders before the killer strikes again, whether it is in New York or London. As they hunt down secrets from his past, Edmund can’t hide his other secret from the sharp-eyed detective: the attraction he feels for men and the enticing Patrick in particular.

FIRST KISS EXCERPT:

Patrick usually had some sympathy for a man who didn’t want to crave other men and who longed to banish that lust as quickly as possible. He’d had moments like that in his own life. Heck, less than hour ago he’d considered seeking out an anonymous encounter. But for some reason, Ned’s intention to use him to reach orgasm—and nothing else—annoyed him. It would be a challenge, he decided.

“Ah-ah.” He bent forward and pressed his mouth to Ned’s jaw. He inhaled the scent of the flowers around them, of the male nearly in his arms, all expensive linen and wool and lust. “If you want this, I’m more than happy to oblige, but only if we go at a slower speed. We talk when I want to talk.” He punctuated each word with a tiny kiss or nip. “Or perhaps if and when you want to talk.”

“Oh no. No,” Ned groaned the words, and he raised his chin like a dog offering its throat. Giving up control. Oh no, no was right. Ned obviously didn’t want to blame himself for whatever happened.

Patrick cupped Ned’s warm face in his palms and leaned forward. A gentle touch, nearly a kiss, their breath mingling until Patrick needed more. He slid into kisses, deeper and deeper, and then he grew as urgent and feverish as Ned.

For a time, he allowed himself to taste, and feel—and he groaned and moved closer, thinking only that he needed a shave and perhaps his beard burned Ned’s lips and softer skin. Such soft skin and lips and delicious kisses. He’d pressed Ned to the door, and his hands moved from his cheeks down, down, over his shoulders and then around Ned’s body clinching him tight so they again pressed together, hard, moving, panting.

First Kiss: Pleasure Me by Monica Burns

This is a featured article column called FIRST KISS. We ask authors to share a first kiss scene from one of their books published in 2017. And each author graciously sent in an excerpt. Enjoy!

 
 
 
Title: Pleasure Me
Author: Monica Burns
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication Date: September 17, 2017
Buy Link: Amazon

A virgin alpha hero risks everything for the courtesan who steals his heart.

Youth and beauty are a courtesan’s greatest assets. At forty-one, Lady Ruth Attwood appears to have lost both, as her latest lover just abandoned her for a younger mistress. Struggling with the knowledge that she’s no longer considered desirable, she’s uncertain whether to be offended or flattered when a younger man makes her an unusual offer. In need of funds, she agrees. But then she does the unthinkable. She falls in love.

Despite his reputation as a man’s man, Baron Garrick Stratfield has never been with a woman. His physical impairment is such that he knows not even a whore will touch him, and he needs a mistress who’s willing to be kept without sharing his bed. But passion is just a delicious kiss away because his new mistress is wreaking havoc with his senses. Worse yet, someone is not only out to ruin his reputation, but frame him for murder.

FIRST KISS EXCERPT:

“Do you believe him?” he growled.

“Of course not,” she exclaimed and pulled back in surprise.

“Why?” He bit out the question in a fierce tone. He narrowed his gaze at her and saw a blush rise to her cheeks as she looked away from him. “Tell me why you don’t believe him.”

The moment he leaned toward her, she jerked her head back to look at him. The color in her cheeks darkened even more in the shadows of the carriage as she met his gaze. He reached out to touch the pulse beating wildly on the side of her neck without looking away from her.

“Tell me.”

“Because I know when a man desires me,” she whispered. “And you want me.”
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First Kiss: Virtue: Sons of Scotland by Victoria Vane

This is a featured article column called FIRST KISS. We ask authors to share a first kiss scene from one of their books published in 2017. And each author graciously sent in an excerpt. Enjoy!

 
 
 
Title: Virtue: Sons of Scotland
Author: Victoria Vane
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication Date: September 15, 2017
Buy Link: Amazon

A man without a past…

Abandoned at a monastery as a young child, Alexander serves two masters—God and the fading memories of his past life—the one he never got to live. As he nears the day to take his vows, he’s sent on a last sojourn into the real world, but what begins as a test of faith becomes a journey to manhood.

And a woman who doesn’t know her own heart…

Born from the line of two kings, Lady Sibylla Mac William is abandoned by her sire as a child and then ruled illegitimate. Though she lives a happy life under her uncle’s protection, Sibylla craves something more, but never could she imagine losing her heart to the would-be monk who unexpectedly arrives to tutor her brother.

Together, they will forge the future of a kingdom…

When dark secrets from the past come to light, Alex and Sibylla’s fates become inextricably entwined. Will Alex choose the safe and secure path he knows, or will he reject holy orders to embrace his true destiny… and the woman he loves?

FIRST KISS EXCERPT:

“I willna humor ye, Sibylla.”

“Why nae? Canna ye climb?” she taunted. “Or perhaps yer robes get in the way? Ye could always do what I do and tie them up.”

His gaze tracked slowly upward from her delicate bared toes, to a set of trim white ankles, and then to a pair of smooth, shapely calves. Alexander shut his eyes before he could give in to the temptation of looking higher. He really should leave. He’d come to this place seeking peace for his soul, but all he could think about now were the strange stirrings in his body.

“Enough of the games. If ye want to speak ye’ll come down!”

“Verra well,” she replied with a huff. “Hold out yer arms.”

“What? Ye canna mean to jump!”
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