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Girl with the Make-Believe Husband

When the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.

 

THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND
Rokesbys #2
Julia Quinn
Releasing May 30, 2017
Avon Books

 

While you were sleeping…
With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He’s unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier’s life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie…
 
I told everyone I was your wife
When Edward comes to, he’s more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out six months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is—even if he does not recall her face—and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he’d always assumed he’d marry his neighbor back in England.
 
If only it were true…
Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself—completely—to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.
 
Julia Quinn is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five novels for Avon Books, and one of only sixteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.


 

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Excerpt

Manhattan Island

July 1779

 

His head hurt.

Correction, his head really hurt.

It was hard to tell, though, just what sort of pain it was. He might have been shot through the head with a musket ball. That seemed plausible, given his current location in New York (or was it Connecticut?) and his current occupation as a captain in His Majesty’s army.

There was a war going on, in case one hadn’t noticed.

But this particular pounding—the one that felt more like someone was bashing his skull with a cannon (not a cannonball, mind you, but an actual cannon) seemed to indicate that he had been attacked with a blunter instrument than a bullet.

An anvil, perhaps. Dropped from a second-story window.

But if one cared to look on the bright side, a pain such as this did seem to indicate that he wasn’t dead, which was also a plausible fate, given all the same facts that had led him to believe he might have been shot.

That war he’d mentioned… people did die.

With alarming regularity.

So he wasn’t dead. That was good. But he also wasn’t sure where he was, precisely. The obvious next step would be to open his eyes, but his eyelids were translucent enough for him to realize that it was the middle of the day, and while he did like to look on the metaphorical bright side, he was fairly certain that the literal one would prove blinding.

So he kept his eyes closed.

But he listened.

He wasn’t alone. He couldn’t make out any actual conversation, but a low buzz of words and activity filtered through the air. People were moving about, setting objects on tables, maybe pulling a chair across the floor.

Someone was moaning in pain.

Most of the voices were male, but there was at least one lady nearby. She was close enough that he could hear her breathing. She made little noises as she went about her business, which he soon realized included tucking blankets around him and touching his forehead with the back of her hand.

He liked these little noises, the tiny little mmms and sighs she probably had no idea she was making. And she smelled nice, a bit like lemons, a bit like soap.

And a bit like hard work.

He knew that smell. He’d worn it himself, albeit usually only briefly until it turned into a full-fledged stink.

On her, though, it was more than pleasant. Perhaps a little earthy. And he wondered who she was, to be tending to him so diligently.

“How is he today?”

Edward held himself still. This male voice was new, and he wasn’t sure he wanted anyone to know he was awake yet.

Although he wasn’t sure why he felt this hesitancy.

“The same,” came the woman’s reply.

“I am concerned. If he doesn’t wake up soon…”

“I know,” the woman said. There was a touch of irritation in her voice, which Edward found curious.

“Have you been able to get him to take broth?”

“Just a few spoonfuls. I was afraid he would choke if I attempted any more than that.”

The man made a vague noise of approval. “Remind me how long he has been like this?”

“A week, sir. Four days before I arrived, and three since.”

A week. Edward thought about this. A week meant it must be… March? April?

No, maybe it was only February. And this was probably New York, not Connecticut.

But that still didn’t explain why his head hurt so bloody much. Clearly he’d been in some sort of an accident. Or had he been attacked?

“There has been no change at all?” the man asked, even though the lady had just said as much.

But she must have had far more patience than Edward, because she replied in a quiet, clear voice, “No, sir. None.”

The man made a noise that wasn’t quite a grunt. Edward found it impossible to interpret.

“Er…” The woman cleared her throat. “Have you any news of my brother?”

Her brother? Who was her brother?

“I am afraid not, Mrs. Rokesby.”

Mrs. Rokesby?

            “It has been nearly two months,” she said quietly.

Mrs. Rokesby? Edward really wanted them to get back to that point. There was only one Rokesby in North America as far as he knew, and that was him. So if she was Mrs. Rokesby…

“I think,” the male voice said, “that your energies would be better spent tending to your husband.”

Husband?

“I assure you,” she said, and there was that touch of irritation again, “that I have been caring for him most faithfully.”

Husband? They were calling him her husband? Was he married? He couldn’t be married. How could he be married and not remember it?

            Who was this woman?

Edward’s heart began to pound. What the devil was happening to him?

“Did he just make a noise?” the man asked.

“I… I don’t think so.”

She moved then, quickly. Hands touched him, his cheek, then his chest, and even through her obvious concern, there was something soothing in her motions, something undeniably right.

“Edward?” she asked, taking his hand. She stroked it several times, her fingers brushing lightly over his skin. “Can you hear me?”

He ought to respond. She was worried. What kind of gentleman did not act to relieve a lady’s distress?

“I fear he may be lost to us,” the man said, with far less gentleness than Edward thought appropriate.

“He still breathes,” the woman said in a steely voice.

The man said nothing, but his expression must have been one of pity, because she said it again, more loudly this time.

He still breathes.”

“Mrs. Rokesby…”

Edward felt her hand tighten around his. Then she placed her other on top, her fingers resting lightly on his knuckles. It was the smallest sort of embrace, but Edward felt it down to his soul.

“He still breathes, Colonel,” she said with quiet resolve. “And while he does, I will be here. I may not be able to help Thomas, but—”

Thomas. Thomas Harcourt. That was the connection. This must be his sister. Cecilia. He knew her well.

Or not. He’d never actually met the lady, he felt like he knew her. She wrote to her brother with a diligence that was unmatched in the regiment. Thomas received twice as much mail as Edward, and Edward had four siblings to Thomas’s one.

Cecilia Harcourt. What on earth was she doing in North America? She was supposed to be in Derbyshire, in that little town Thomas had been so eager to leave. The one with the hot springs. Matlock. No, Matlock Bath.

Edward had never been, but he thought it sounded charming. Not the way Thomas described it, of course; he liked the bustle of city life and couldn’t wait to take a commission and depart his village. But Cecilia was different. In her letters, the small Derbyshire town came alive, and Edward almost felt that he would recognize her neighbors if he ever went to visit.

She was witty. Lord, she was witty. Thomas used to laugh so much at her missives that Edward finally made him read them out loud.

Then one day, when Thomas was penning his response, Edward interrupted so many times that Thomas finally shoved out his chair and held forth his quill.

“You write to her,” he’d said.

So he did.

Not on his own, of course. Edward could never have written to her directly. It would have been the worst sort of impropriety, and he would not have insulted her in such a manner. But he took to scribbling a few lines at the end of Thomas’s letters, and whenever she replied, she had a few lines for him.

Thomas carried a miniature of her, and even though he said it was several years old, Edward had found himself staring at it, studying the small portrait of the young woman, wondering if her hair really was that remarkable golden color, or if she really did smile that way, lips closed and mysterious.

Somehow he thought not. She did not strike him as a woman with secrets. Her smile would be sunny and free. Edward had even thought he’d like to meet her once this godforsaken war was over. He’d never said anything to Thomas, though.

That would have been strange.

Now Cecilia was here. In the colonies. Which made absolutely no sense, but then again, what did? Edward’s head was injured, and Thomas seemed to be missing, and…

Edward thought hard.

…and he seemed to have married Cecilia Harcourt.

He opened his eyes and tried to focus on the green-eyed woman peering down at him.

“Cecilia?”

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Review: 

In her first story outside of England, Julia Quinn takes the reader to Revolutionary New York. Without getting too bogged down in the conflict, she presents her hero, Edward as a British officer who lost his memory. Upon awakening from an injury, he discovers his best friend’s sister by his bedside. Cecilia had claimed to be his wife and Edward believes her. Their relationship had previously been built on notes through letters between Cecilia and her brother. In addition to that past, the best part of their relationship was the support between Cecilia and Edward. While he is injured, she cares for him and when Cecilia is given bad news, he supports her tenderly. This was a heartwarming book to read and Julia Quinn has excelled at creating likable and relatable characters. In the story she’s created, it actually makes sense for Cecilia to claim to be Edward’s wife. Quinn does an excellent job of pulling off one of the most unbelievable tropes- the amnesic hero.

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My Fair Duchess

 
An unexpected duchess proves that behaving  badly isn’t exclusive to the Dukedom.

 

MY FAIR DUCHESS
Dukes Behaving Badly #5
Megan Frampton
Releasing Feb 28, 2017
Avon Books
In Megan Frampton’s most recent installment of The Dukes Behaving Badly series, an
unexpected duchess proves that behaving badly isn’t exclusive to the Dukedom.
 
The Unexpected Duchess
 
Archibald Salisbury, son of a viscount, war hero, and proficient in the proper ways of aristocratic society, has received orders for his most challenging mission: Genevieve, Duchess of Blakesley. How she inherited a duchy isn’t his problem. Turning her into a perfect duchess is. But how can he keep his mind on business when her beauty entices him toward pleasure?
It was impossible, unprecedented…and undeniably true. Genevieve is now a “duke”, or, rather, a duchess. So what is she to do when the ton eyes her every move, hoping she’ll make a mistake? Genevieve knows she has brains and has sometimes been told she has beauty, but, out of her depth, she calls on an expert. And what an expert, with shoulders broad enough to lean on, and a wit that matches her own. Archie is supposed to teach her to be a lady and run her estate, but what she really wants to do is unladylike—run into his arms.
 
Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son. You can visit her on her website@meganf, and at Facebook.
 

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1845, Lady Sophia’s Drawing Room

 

“There’s only one solution,” Lady Sophia said, passing the letter to Archie as he felt his stomach drop. And his carefully ordered life teeter on the verge of change. “You’ll have to go to London to sort my goddaughter out.” She embellished her point by squeezing her tiny dog Truffles, who emitted a squeak and glared at Archie. As if it was his fault.

He resisted the urge to crumple the paper in his hand. “But the festival is in a few weeks,” Archie said, hearing the desperate tone in his voice. He did not want to ever return to London. That was the purpose of taking a position out here in the country after leaving the Queen’s Own Hussars a year prior. His family was there, and his father, at least, had made it clear he never wanted to see him again. What’s more, he did not want to assist a helpless aristocrat in some sort of desperate attempt to bring order to their lives. Even though that was what he was doing in Lady Sophia’s employ. But working for her had come to have its own kind of satisfactory order, one he did not want to disrupt.

“There is work to be done,” Archie continued, hoping to appeal to his employer’s sensible side.

Although in the course of working for her he had come to realize his employer didn’t really have a sensible side, so what was he hoping to accomplish?

“Didn’t you tell me Mr. McCready could do everything you could?” Lady Sophia asked. “You pointed out that if you were to get ill, or busy with other matters, your assistant steward could handle things just as well as you.”

That was when I was trying to get one of my men work, Archie thought in frustration. To help him get back on his feet after the rigors of war. And Bob had proven himself to be a remarkably able assistant, allowing Archie to dive into Lady Sophia’s woefully neglected accounts and see into her investments, neither of which she paid any attention to.

Lady Sophia placed Truffles on the rug before lifting her head to look at Archie. Who knew, in that moment, that he was doomed. Doomed to return to London to help out a likely far-too- indulged female in the very difficult position of being a powerful and wealthy aristocrat.

Perhaps it would have been easier to just get shot on the battlefield. It certainly would have been quicker.

“It’s settled.” She punctuated her words with a nod of her head, sending a few gray curls flying in the air. “You will go see to the new duchess and take care of her as ably as you do me. Mr. Mc-Cready will assist me while you are away.”

Archie looked at the letter again. “This duchess is your relative?” he asked. That would explain the new duchess’s equally silly mode of communication. An “unexpected duchess,” indeed. What kind of idiot wouldn’t have foreseen this circumstance? And done something to prepare for it?

“She calls me aunt, but she is not my actual niece, you understand,” Lady Sophia explained. “She is my goddaughter; her mother married the duke, the duchess’s father. It is quite unusual for a woman to inherit the duchy.”

“Quite,” Archie echoed.

“But it happened, somehow, and since I don’t know anything about being a duchess . . .” Because I do? Archie wondered. But there wasn’t anybody else. She wouldn’t have asked Lady Sophia, of all people, unless there was nobody else.

Or if she was as flighty and confident as her faux-aunt. A scenario that seemed more and more likely.

“The only thing Mr. McCready can’t do is attract as much feminine interest as you do, Mr. Salisbury.” She sat back up and regarded him. “Which might make him more productive,” she added. She leaned over to offer Truffles the end of her biscuit.

Archie opened his mouth to object, but closed it when he realized she was right. He wasn’t vain, but he did recognize that ladies tended to find his appearance attractive. Lady Sophia received many more visitors, she’d told him in an irritated tone, now that he’d been hired.

Bob, damn his eyes, smirked knowingly every time Archie was summoned to Lady Sophia’s drawing room to answer yet another question about estate management posed by a lady who’d likely never had such a question in her life.

Archie responded by making Bob personally in charge of the fertilizer. It didn’t stop Bob’s smirking, but it did make Archie feel better.

“And you will return in a month’s time so you can be here for the festival.”

“Sooner if I can, my lady.” If this duchess needed more time than a month, there would be no hope for her anyway. Country life suited him; he liked its quiet and regularity. It was a vast change from life in battle, or even being just on duty, but it was far more interesting than being the third son from a viscount’s family. A viscount who disowned his third boy when said boy was determined to join the army.

Meanwhile, however, he had to pack to head off to a new kind of battle—that of preparing a completely unprepared woman, likely a woman as flighty and often confused as Lady Sophia, to hold a position that she was entirely unsuited for.

Very much like working with raw recruits, in fact.

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I really enjoyed this book and Megan Frampton’s take on My Fair Lady. The relationship between Archie and Genevieve was enduring and it was great to watch them fall in love as they navigate the responsibilities of the duchy. Overall, a terrific read!

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Havoc

Falling in love with her cousin’s rock star ex-boyfriend was definitely not part of the plan.

HAVOC
Mayhem #4
Jamie Shaw
Releasing February 21st, 2017
Avon Impulse
When Hailey Harper left her family farm to enroll in veterinary school, she had a plan: keep her head down, ace her classes, and most importantly… don’t upset the uncle paying her tuition. Translation? Don’t piss off his dramatic, self-absorbed daughter, Danica, even if she’s a nightmare to live with.Falling in love with her cousin’s rock star ex-boyfriend was definitely not part of the plan.

As the drummer of a now-famous rock band, Mike Madden could have any girl he wants. He’s sweet, funny, romantic, talented–and the only guy that’s ever made Hailey’s heart do cartwheels in her chest. The more she gets to know him, the harder she falls, but Hailey knows they can never be more than friends… because Danica wants him back, and she’ll fight dirty to win.

Mike is falling for Hailey too, but Danica’s threats and his rock star life-music video shoots, international tours, obsessed fans-could tear them apart before they’ve even begun. Hailey isn’t sure she’s the one for him, but Mike’s waited years for a girl like her… and he’ll do anything to prove it.

 
HAVE YOU FALLEN FOR ALL 
THE MEN OF MAYHEM?
A resident of South Central Pennsylvania, JAMIE SHAW‘s two biggest dreams in life were to be a published author and to be a mom. Now, she’s living both of those dreams and loving every minute of it. When she’s not spending time with her husband and their young son, she’s writing novels with relatable heroines and swoon-worthy leading men. With her MS in Professional Writing and a passion for all things romance, her goal is always to make readers laugh, cry, squirm, curse, and swoon their pants off, all within the span of a single story. She loves interacting with readers, and she always aims to add new names to their book boyfriend lists.
 

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tastytoursreview

I got about 4 pages into this book before I realized I needed to go back and read the first three books. And boy was I glad I did because Mike’s character is cemented in the earlier books. In Havoc, we finally get to see him as the loving hero who escapes the ties of his past heartbreak. It was also nice to read about a rockstar who wasn’t a man-whore. Mike knew the perfect girl was out there for him and didn’t need to sleep with a bunch of groupies to try to find her.  Hailey was an excellent heroine for him. What I liked most about this book was watching Hailey true begin to step outside her comfort zone and take risks. While that was hard for her, with the threat of losing college hanging over her head, she truly grows as a character. Her cousin, Mike’s first love, is a perfect villain for the story with her selfishness portrayed in a believable manner. I was sad to realize this was the last book in the series. I really loved all the band members and don’t want their stories to end!

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Love Story

Over the course of one wild road trip, 

feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love.

LOVE STORY

a Love Unexpectedly novel

Lauren Layne

Releasing February 14th, 2017

Loveswept

 

Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.

When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.

After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.

Although listed as a title in the Love Unexpectedly Series, all books in the series stand alone.

 

 

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

 

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

 

 

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The Scottish Duke

a new series about dashing, charismatic dukes—

and the women who tame them…

THE SCOTTISH DUKE
The Duke Trilogy #1
Karen Ranney
Releasing Nov 29th, 2016
Avon Books

 

New York Times bestselling
author Karen Ranney returns with the first novel in a new series about dashing,
charismatic dukes—and the women who tame them…
Though raised as a gentleman’s daughter, Lorna Gordon is obliged to take a position as an upstairs maid at Blackhall Castle when her father dies. Alex Russell, the Duke of Kinross, is the most tempting man she’s ever seen—and completely unattainable—until, at a fancy dress ball, Lorna disguises herself as Marie Antoinette and pursues an illicit tryst…with scandalous consequences. Months after his mysterious seductress disappears, Alex encounters her again. Far from the schemer the distrustful duke assumed her to be, Lorna is fiercely independent and resourceful. She’s the one woman capable of piercing his defenses. But when danger threatens Lorna, Alex must prove himself not just the lover of her fantasies, but the man who will fight to protect her.
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The last thing Alexander Russell, the 9th Duke of Kinross, wanted to do was mingle with his guests. He could put the time to better use. Nor did he have friends among the throng. Acquaintances, perhaps, but few could be called more than that, especially after this afternoon when he’d been subjected to a humiliating rout.

Nevertheless, Alex forced himself to enter the ballroom, pasting a smile on his face that hid his true feelings.

The ballroom had been polished like a seldom worn crown. The three rows of four brass and crystal chandeliers illuminated every inch of the massive room, reflecting light off the windows and making the floor shine.

The jewels in the crown were the women, most of whom had taken to the idea of a fancy dress ball with enthusiasm, choosing costumes ranging from stunning to amusing with a few ridiculous examples in between. A half dozen hapless husbands were dressed to compliment their wives’ choices, but most men were attired in black evening dress.

At least twenty-five of them had witnessed his drubbing this afternoon.

Tonight’s entertainment was the last time he’d have to stand here and smile fatuously. He couldn’t wait for them all to be driven back to the train station tomorrow morning, en route to their various homes. The Scottish Society for Scientific Achievement could go to hell and with it their annual medal.

Someone in this room was a traitor. Not to country, even though they might well stoop to that. Someone here, being feted and entertained, had betrayed him. That was the only reason Simons had won the damn medal. Alex’s research was nearly word for word with the other man’s. His subjects were more numerous, however, numbering in the thousands to Simons’ hundreds. Even Simons’ conclusions, enumerated on the last page of his paper, had sounded too close to his own words. But his findings had been submitted to the Society a good three months before Simon’s. Three months, yet Simons had been the one critically acclaimed.

Someone had leaked the results of his research. Either a member of the Society attending this ball, the last event of a torturous week of hosting at Blackhall Castle, or someone to whom he’d confided about his work.

“You must learn to trust people, Alex,” his mother had once said to him.

He couldn’t remember why she’d offered up the sentiment, but he could remember the occasion. They’d been standing in Blackhall’s chapel and watching as the bronze plaque had been affixed to his wife’s last resting place.

He could also recall his response. He’d turned to her and said, “Why?”

She hadn’t an answer, which was a pity. Perhaps her words could have softened his emotion. Ruth, the late Duchess of Kinross, hadn’t been faithful, a fact that had been tearfully admitted by her sister.

“You mustn’t hate her, Alex. Ruth always wanted admiration. When you were too busy to give it to her, she sought it elsewhere.”

His wife would have enjoyed this ball. She would have purchased something ruinously expensive to wear, and no doubt a little shocking. She would have flitted among the guests, charming everyone. He could almost see her golden hair bobbing as she turned to greet one person then another. The noise level was intense in the ballroom and his memory furnished her laughter. Those who’d never come to Blackhall would leave with praises for her on their lips.

            She made us feel so welcome.

            What a gracious person the duchess is.

            How beautiful she is and that gown!

Ruth had a bright and receptive approach to life. If it was interesting or exciting, Ruth wanted to experience it. Her blond beauty was only enhanced by her trilling laugh, a smile that she used to great advantage and a skilled, almost manipulative way, she had of making any man feel as if he were the most important person in a room.

Ruth collected people the way other women collected gloves. She had dozens of friends, each one of whom thought she was the most important person in Ruth’s life. They never figured out that Ruth didn’t care about them individually. She only wanted the adulation such friends brought to her. The more important, titled, or wealthy the better. He had come to believe it was the same reason she’d married him.

By the second month of his marriage he realized she didn’t give a flying farthing for him. He was just a mark on a mental scorecard, an item no more important than a scarf from her dresser or a gown from her armoire.

After her death he’d been approached by one poor sod who’d openly wept about her passing. He’d wanted to ask the man if he genuinely believed Ruth had loved him, then realized that the truth wouldn’t serve any purpose.

As far as he was concerned, Ruth wasn’t capable of loving anyone other than herself.

He had no doubt that, given the passage of years, she would have still charmed people. They would have said things like: she hasn’t changed, has she? She’s still one of the most beautiful women in Scotland, isn’t she?

Ruth would have gloried in their comments. She would have draped herself in diamonds whose sparkle matched that in her eyes. Did you hear that, Alex? They did enjoy themselves, didn’t they? We should entertain again soon, I think.

Even perched in the middle of the Highlands, Blackhall Castle had once been known for its hospitality, its entertainments, and its beauty.

The beauty had never faded even though it took a fortune to maintain. The entertainments were fewer lately; he hadn’t the inclination to invite hoards of people to his home. And the hospitality? At the moment, he wished them all to perdition, including the men from the Society in their evening attire, clustered in small groups around the ballroom.

Who would Ruth have dressed as tonight? He suspected she would prefer to come as herself, the Duchess of Kinross. Or perhaps she would have stolen her sister’s costume. Mary was Cleopatra, her long, white tunnel like dress adorned with an intricate gold necklace. His mother was Queen Elizabeth, if he didn’t miss his guess, complete with a bright curly red wig.

Why was Ruth at the forefront of his mind tonight? Because he felt betrayed again? Because this was the first ball they’d held since her death three years ago? Because he’d been made raw with this feeling that he’d been a fool?

The orchestra his mother had hired was excellent. They were playing a waltz and a great many people were dancing. He should be a good host and greet his guests, but he had neither the will nor the ability to mask his emotions that well. He was furious, the rage building with each moment he stood there.

He waited until a footman was near, then gave him an order in a low voice. In moments the young man returned with a tumbler filled with whiskey.

“Watch me,” he said. “When it’s empty, I want you to bring me another one.”

“Yes, Your Grace.”

He didn’t drink often, but tonight he was going to with the single minded pursuit of drunkenness. He could only remember two times he’d done something similar in recent memory: the day he’d learned his wife had been unfaithful and the day she’d died in childbirth, taking his heir with her. Or perhaps the child hadn’t been his after all, a question he’d never have answered.

Tonight seemed an excellent occasion as well. He was facing the destruction of a dream, one brought about by someone he’d trusted.

“You must learn to trust people, Alex.”

The echo of his mother’s voice intruded into his thoughts.

            Why seemed as good a word as any in response. Or perhaps a resounding no would suffice.



Karen Ranney wanted to be a writer from the time she was five years old and filled her Big Chief tablet with stories. People in stories did amazing things and she was too shy to do anything amazing. Years spent in Japan, Paris, and Italy, however, not only fueled her imagination but proved she wasn’t that shy after all.
 

Now a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, she prefers to keep her adventures between the covers of her books. Karen lives in San Antonio, Texas.

 

 

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Baron

One pragmatic industrialist is about to learn 
that a man may make his own destiny, 
but love is a matter of fortune . . .

 

BARON
The Knickerbocker Club #2
Joanna Shupe
Releasing Oct 25th, 2016
Kensington Zebra
New York City’s Gilded Age shines as bright as the power-wielding men of the Knickerbocker Club. And one pragmatic industrialist is about to learn that a man may make his own destiny, but love is a matter of fortune . . .
 
Born into one of New York’s most respected families, William Sloane is a railroad baron who has all the right friends in all the right places. But no matter how much success he achieves, he always wants more. Having secured his place atop the city’s highest echelons of society, he’s now setting his sights on a political run. Nothing can distract him from his next pursuit—except, perhaps, the enchanting con artist he never saw coming . . .
Ava Jones has eked out a living the only way she knows how. As “Madame Zolikoff,” she hoodwinks gullible audiences into believing she can communicate with the spirit world. But her carefully crafted persona is nearly destroyed when Will Sloane walks into her life—and lays bare her latest scheme. The charlatan is certain she can seduce the handsome millionaire into keeping her secret and using her skills for his campaign—unless he’s the one who’s already put a spell on her . . .
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Award-winning author JOANNA SHUPE has always loved history, ever since she saw her first Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. While in college, Joanna read every romance she could get her hands on and soon started crafting her own racy historical novels. She now lives in New Jersey with her two spirited daughters and dashing husband.

 

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Joanna Shupe does it again. She creates a vivid world of the New York Gilded Age and draws the reader in. Baron portrays the social differences between Will and Ava in a believable and surmountable way. Both the characters have deep goals about bettering their lives, Ava through moving her siblings out of New York City and Will by entering politics. However, as their relationship grows, they are faced with the realities that perhaps their goals aren’t the best things for them. The chemistry between Will and Ava is steamy but even more satisfying was how their relationship overcome social status. Another excellent book by Joanna Shupe that I can’t recommend enough!

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Bedded Bliss

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Bedded Bliss
Found in Oblivion #1

By: Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott

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Releasing Aug 22, 2016
Rainbow Rage Publishing

Blurb

A hot night in Vegas is just what the rockstar ordered… until someone ends up married.

Michael Shawcross is living the dream, opening up for his idols, Oblivion, on his band Warning Sign’s first tour. Until an overzealous fan goes too far and his hard-partying ways catch up to him in the form of an ultimatum from his manager, Lila Crandall.

Clean up your image—or else.

Single mom Chloe Adams is in Vegas for a rare girls’ night out. She wasn’t ever supposed to be attracted to another rockstar. In fact, she’s in rockstar rehab, and the cure for her addiction definitely isn’t a sexy, smart-assed guitarist with wicked fingers.

She never expects to accidentally end up his wife. Or to have her new husband suddenly decide that she’s the solution to all his problems. And surprise…he’s happy to show his appreciation in a number of interesting, inventive ways.

Pretending their marriage is real might just be the hottest proposition she’s ever been given.

But what happens when a lie becomes the truth?

BEYOND OBLIVION – A Rockstar Romance full of sexy fun set within the world of our Lost in Oblivion series! You never know who you’ll see show up in the books.

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Link to Follow Tour:   http://www.tastybooktours.com/2016/07/bedded-bliss-found-in-oblivion-1-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30292310-bedded-bliss?from_search=true

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7B1K5N7vMs&feature=youtu.be

*Universal Link, will take each person to their preferred retailer in their preferred country!

Buy Now: https://books2read.com/u/31QNn3

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Author Info
USA Today bestselling author Cari Quinn likes music and men, so she figured why not write about both? When she’s not writing, she’s screaming at men’s college basketball games on TV, playing her music too loud or causing trouble. Sometimes simultaneously.

USA Today bestselling author Taryn Elliott is obsessed with rock stars, men, and her unending playlists–maximizing these things seemed like a very good idea. When she’s not writing, she’s losing hours to hot men on TV, and/or a graphic design project. Multitasking is her middle name.

They decided to combine forces and found that hey…this writing deal is even more awesome when you collaborate with your best friend.

And so Lost in Oblivion was born.

 

Author Links:

Website | Facebook | Taryn’s Twitter | Cari’s Twitter | Taryn GR | Cari GR

Website:  http://www.rockerreads.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TarynCariBooks/

Taryn’s Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/tarynelliottfic

Cari’s Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/cariquinn

Taryn’s GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5456168.Taryn_Elliott

Cari’s  GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3372702.Cari_Quinn

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Rafflecopter Giveaway (a Tote Bag Prize Pack, includes a $25 Gift Card to Amazon or B&N, a Print Copy of SEDUCED, a print copy of MANACONDA and Swag)

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Excerpt:

Chloe moaned. Why couldn’t she move?

Had she ended up with another Johnson sleeping with her again? Jinx wasn’t usually the cuddling type, but Ivy liked to spoon sometimes. She grunted and tried to wiggle free.

Was Ivy groping her boob? Okay, that might require a conversation about personal space. And seriously when had Ivy become close to two tons? She opened her eyes and immediately slammed them shut. Too bright.

Not good.

So not good.

Just how much had she guzzled last night? And her mouth tasted like death. Thank God it was Sunday. Obviously, she didn’t know how to handle Vegas.

A groan dented her personal flogging. Not a girl groan.

“Oh, fuck.”

No. No. No.

She squeezed her eyes shut so tightly that sparklers started going off behind her eyelids. She didn’t. She wouldn’t.

Flashes of bodies grinding in a dark room tightened her throat.

You can do it. Open your eyes. Big girl panties, goddammit.

Was she wearing panties? She wiggled her legs.

Sweet peaches, she so wasn’t.

Chloe forced herself to open her eyes and look down. Definitely not the shirt she’d been wearing last night. Was that Dave Grohl? Why had her boobs had grown at least two sizes?

Because a male hand was cupping each of them like she was his own personal rock wall.

She suppressed another moan when the man’s hands tightened. His thumb flicked over her nipple and it responded instantly.

“Oh God.”

He groaned and pushed up her shirt. “Round two?” he asked in a fuzzy mumble.

“Round none!” She kicked out and connected with something before she scrambled up against the headboard.

“Fuck me.” The man curled into a fetal position.

Dark hair and naked shoulders. Was that a tattoo? Was he naked under the sheet?

She didn’t wait to find out. She leaped off the bed. Not her hotel room. This one was bigger with only one bed. A lake-sized mattress with tangled white sheets.

She was going to be sick. She lunged for the bathroom, slamming the door and locking it before she skidded in front of the toilet. Her stomach revolted until there was nothing but dry heaves shuddering through her.

“Are you all right?”

No, she wasn’t all right. She’d awakened in a strange hotel room with a strange man. She gripped the edge of the bowl, frowning as something clicked against the porcelain.

She pulled shaking fingers away and flushed, then stumbled to the sink.

Her eyes were bloodshot, her pupils absolutely huge. Blindly, she fumbled with the faucet, causing another clink of metal against metal. She stuck her head under the spray to rinse away the sick.

She needed eight toothbrushes and a magic eraser for her brain.

Actually, not so much on the erasing because she couldn’t remember a damn thing.

How had she ended up here?

Why couldn’t she remember?

Where the hell was her phone?

Auto-pilot kicked in as she pumped soap on her hands. Metal clicked against metal. She still had on Snake’s ring. She couldn’t seem to take it off, but she’d moved it to her right hand.

That was only one hand.

Something flashed on her left hand.

On her ring finger.

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My Fair Princess

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My Fair Princess
The Improper Princesses #1

By: Vanessa Kelly

Releasing August 30, 2016.
Zebra

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Blurb

First, Vanessa Kelly brought readers The Renegade Royals. Now, in a delightfully witty new series, she introduces The Improper Princesses—three young women descended from royalty, each bound for her own thrilling adventure . . .

Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.

 

Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The ton is aghast . . . but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairytale ending?

 

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Link to Follow Tour:  http://www.tastybooktours.com/2016/05/my-fair-princess-improper-princesses-1.html

Goodreads Link:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28109694-my-fair-princess

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/172996-the-improper-princesses

 

Buy Links:    Amazon | B & N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/My-Fair-Princess-Improper-Princesses/dp/1420141090/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457039941&sr=8-1&keywords=9781420141092

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-fair-princess-vanessa-kelly/1123105721?ean=9781420141092

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Vanessa_Kelly
_My_Fair_Princess?id=cHgkCwAAQBAJ

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/my-fair-princess/id1086437948?mt=11

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/my-fair-princess-1

 

Author Info


Vanessa
Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.

 

Author Links:  Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter Goodreads

Website:  http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vanessakellyauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VanessaKellyAut

GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2728107.Vanessa_Kelly

Rafflecopter Giveaway (a Grand Prize winner to get a $25 Amazon gift card;  and four runners up to receive a copy of CONFESSIONS OF A ROYAL BRIDEGROOM and HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER.

Link to Rafflecopter Page, http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c81109/?

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Her grandmother let out a heavy sigh, and even Griffin shook his head. The duke, however, simply regarded her with a perfectly unruffled manner, as if she were some recently discovered species, only vaguely interesting. Gillian began to get quite a bad feeling that she’d finally met her match.

She’d been hearing for weeks how Leverton was the key to solving Gillian’s little problem, as her family called it. According to them, he was perfectly suited to guide her into society’s good graces, and perfectly capable of managing away even the most troublesome elements of her background.

He must be a bloody perfect miracle worker, if that was the case.

As she cautiously eyed him, she couldn’t help concluding that he did seem rather perfect in some respects. He was certainly prettier than she was, with thick, tawny-colored hair, striking blue eyes, and a face straight off a Greek statue. And he was certainly a good deal more stylish than she was, although that was true of almost anyone. But even she could appreciate the way his beautifully tailored coat showcased his broad shoulders, and how his breeches clung to his muscled legs with nary a wrinkle. As for his cravat, it was practically a work of art.

In fact, he was so damn perfect it made her stomach hurt. She’d been drawn in by perfection before, and it had almost ruined her.

“Stop trying to shock us, Gillian,” her grandmother said. “You know quite well it won’t work.”

Au contraire, Lady Marbury,” Griffin said. “I find myself quite riven with horror.”

He flashed Gillian the conspiratorial smile that always made her feel someone truly did understand her. And, more important, Griffin didn’t find her wanting, unlike apparently everyone else in London. She couldn’t wait to shake the dirt of England from her boots and return to Sicily—the sooner, the better.

“Miss Dryden is quite right,” Leverton said.

Gillian frowned. “I am? About what, exactly?”

He slowly crossed the room to her. He didn’t prowl, precisely, but something in the way he moved made her think of . . . a wolf, perhaps. Slipping silently through the night as he hunted in silence.

An exceedingly clever wolf, she guessed. One with very sharp teeth well suited for ripping apart a person’s carefully ordered life.

Leverton’s height forced her to tilt back her head to meet his gaze, and she found herself staring into eyes a beautiful shade of cobalt. She had to admit they were really quite amazing.

“Please believe me, Miss Dryden, when I say I meant no insult. I was merely surprised by a few details regarding your situation. It caused me to forget my manners.” A glint of amusement lurked in his gaze.

Her stomach twisted at the notion that he might be laughing at her. But when he smiled, her stomach seemed to untwist and start dancing with butterflies.

“Come, my dear girl,” he said in his beautifully cultured voice. “I beg you to forgive me before I’m compelled to do something drastic—like throw myself at your feet. That would be embarrassing for both of us.”

“Bloody coxcomb,” Griffin muttered.

Leverton ignored the aside, keeping his attention on Gillian. Her heart began to thump and heat crawled up her neck. “Oh, very well,” she grumbled. “I forgive you.”

“You are most gracious,” Leverton said. “Now, perhaps we can start over and leave all this awkwardness behind.”

“What a splendid idea,” Grandmamma said. “Your Grace, my granddaughter, Miss Gillian Dryden.”

The duke bowed as if she hadn’t just tumbled through the door, and as if they hadn’t just spent the last few minutes insulting each other.

“Gillian, I have the pleasure of introducing you to the Duke of Leverton,” Grandmamma added.

“Good Lord. I know who he is,” Gillian replied, not hiding her exasperation.

“Then make him a curtsey, my dear. A proper one.”

Repressing the urge to roll her eyes—one curtsey was as good as another, as far as she was concerned—Gillian dipped down and quickly came up.

Leverton’s eyebrows ticked up. On him, she rather expected it was the equivalent of a horrified gasp.

Well, nobody ever said she was graceful, at least when it came to that sort of silliness.

“Hmm,” he said. “We’ll have to work on that.”

“It’s all nonsense, if you ask me,” Gillian said. “All this bowing and scraping like a peasant before his master. Perhaps you’d like me to polish your boots while I’m at it.”

His disapproving gaze made her blink, and she almost took a step back. This was a man who did not like being crossed.

“Gillian Dryden, you will cease acting like heathen,” her grandmother rapped out.

“I had no idea you had revolutionary tendencies, Miss Dryden,” the duke said. “How very interesting. And no, I would not like you to polish my boots.  My valet would not approve.”

Now he sounded bored. And if he was bored, he would be more likely to go away and leave her alone. Splendid.

Still, she couldn’t help feeling irked by his dismissive tone and demeanor. The Duke of Leverton was certainly a snob and probably a fop. She didn’t know which was worse.

“Why would you think I have revolutionary tendencies, sir?” she added in a sugary-sweet voice. “Is it because I think I’m as good as anyone else, despite my unfortunate social status?”

Gillian braced herself for the expected put-down. She’d grown used to being labeled a prince’s by-blow, or worse. It was best to simply accept it and then do her best to avoid anyone who looked down on her because of her parentage. She’d learned that hard lesson a long time ago.

The duke studied her for a few moments before replying. “Of course you are.”

“Of course I am what?” she asked.

“As good as anyone else. Any sensible person must think so,” he said.

“That eliminates most of the ton,” Griffin said.

Leverton seemed to weigh her brother’s droll comment. “I believe your assessment is too pessimistic, Steele. Shall we say, perhaps fifty percent?”

The exchange was so silly that Gillian had to laugh. Leverton’s eyebrows ticked up again, but not, she thought, with disapproval. Then he flashed her another dazzling smile that made her feel like the floor had just tipped sideways.

“That’s much better,” he said.

She shook her head, exasperated. “I don’t understand any of this.”

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Love Between The Covers

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Love Between the Covers
A Documentary Film

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Written, Produced & Directed by: Laurie Kahn

Releasing July 12th, 2016
Distributed by: The Orchard

Blurb

Love stories are universal. Love stories are powerful.  And so are the women who write them.

Love Between the Covers is the fascinating story of the vast, funny, and savvy female community that has built a powerhouse industry sharing love stories.  Romance fiction is sold in 34 languages on six continents, and the genre grosses more than a billion dollars a year — outselling mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy combined.  Yet the millions of voracious women (and sometimes men) who read, write, and love romance novels have remained oddly invisible. Until now.

For three years, we follow the lives of five very diverse published romance authors and one unpublished newbie as they build their businesses, find and lose loved ones, cope with a tsunami of change in publishing, and earn a living doing what they love—while empowering others to do the same. Romance authors have built a fandom unlike all others, a global sisterhood where authors know their readers personally and help them become writers themselves. During the three years we’ve been shooting Love Between the Covers, we have witnessed the biggest power shift that has taken place in the publishing industry over the last 200 years. And it’s the romance authors who are on the front lines, pioneering new ways to survive and build communities in this rapidly changing environment.

Link to Follow Blast: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2016/06/love-between-covers-documentary-film-by_9.html

Buy Links:   iTunes Movies | Amazon

iTunes Movies: http://radi.al/LBTCiTunes

Amazon: http://radi.al/LBTCAmazon

Movie Trailer: https://youtu.be/Nm6ZTHRys30

LaurieAbout Laurie


Director/Producer LAURIE KAHN’s films have won major awards, been shown on PBS primetime, broadcast around the world, and used widely in university classrooms and community groups. Her first film, A Midwife’s Tale, was based on the 18th century diary of midwife Martha Ballard and Laurel Ulrich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Midwife’s Tale. It won film festival awards and a national Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction. Her film TUPPERWARE! was broadcast in more than 20 countries, won the George Foster Peabody Award and was nominated for a national Best Nonfiction Director Emmy. Kahn previously worked on Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, The American Experience, FRONTLINE’S Crisis in Central America, All Things Considered, and Time Out. She’s a resident scholar at Brandeis’s Women’s Studies Research Center.

 

Website:  http://www.lovebetweenthecovers.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LoveBTCFilm

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LoveBTCFilm

Link to Rafflecopter Page, http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c81090/?

 

Exclusive Movie Snippets

Kristan Higgins – The romance community is breathtakingly welcoming
https://vimeo.com/173087323

 

Q&A with Laurie Kahn, writer, producer and director

Please give us your description of the film playing.

While romance novels and their signature covers are ubiquitous around the world, the global community of millions of women who read, write, and love them remains oddly invisible. Love Between the Covers is the fascinating story of five very different authors who invite us into a vast female community that’s running a billion dollar industry on the cusp of an irreversible power shift. In Love Between the Covers, we enter one of the few places where female characters are always center stage, where justice prevails in every book, where women win what they want, and the broad spectrum of desires of women from all backgrounds are not feared, but explored unapologetically.

What drew you to this story?

I want to bring the lives and work of compelling women to the screen, because any industry dominated by women is typically dismissed as trivial and “merely domestic.”  My previous films — A Midwife’s Tale and Tupperware! – are very different from one another, but they were both shaped by my desire to look honestly at communities of women who haven’t been taken seriously (but should be), who deserve to be heard without being mocked.

 What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

Two things really.  Raising the money (isn’t that always the case?).  And figuring out how to structure the film.  Love Between the Covers is more than the story of five characters; it is the story of an unrecognized global community. Structuring this film was even harder than structuring a film with five characters (which is a difficult task in and of itself!).  We finally found a solution in the editing room.

What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theatre?

I want people to realize how deeply ingrained we all are in dismissing anything that is by women, for women and about women. Many romance readers told me stories of complete strangers looking over their shoulders on a train, or at the beach, leaning over and asking them, “Why do you read that trash?” I really don’t think that would happen to someone reading a mystery or a thriller! Romance novels are dismissed as simplistic. People who’ve never read a romance novel tell me, “They are formulaic. They all end happily.” But all genre fiction ends with a happy ending. Mysteries all begin with a crime and end with the case solved — a guaranteed happy ending. Arnold Schwarzenegger is never killed in his movies. The good guys always win. So why are romances singled out? I think it has to do with a devaluation of women’s work and a deep-seated fear of women’s desires.

What’s the biggest misconception about you and your work?

People tend to dismiss my ideas as fluffy.  When they see the finished films, they realize the topics are not fluffy

How did you get your film funded? (Is it a studio film, a crowdsourced film, somewhere in between?) Share some insights into how you got the film made.

I started out with development funding from Mass Humanities, the Romance Writers of America, and the Nora Roberts Foundation.  I then raised more than my $50K goal in a Kickstarter campaign (I raised $58K).  That allowed me to start shooting.  Most of my production funding came from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  And several foundations and dozens of individuals came through for me at the end when I needed to pay for music rights, do our sound mix and color correction.

Believe it or not, Love Between the Covers and the larger Popular Romance Project it’s part of have been attacked in the US Congress. Senator Coburn railed about the project in the US Senate, insisting it was silly and trivial.  And Rep. Salmon introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives (H.R. 5155 – see attached), to kill this project!  Fortunately, the bill didn’t pass!

**Originally from: Indiewire – Women & Hollywood – Interview by Laura Berger http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood/hot-docs-2015-women-directors-meet-laurie-kahn-love-between-the-covers-20150424

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10 Surprising Facts about Romance Novels by Laurie Kahn

Four years ago, when I began making my documentary film Love Between the Covers, I stepped into a community I knew nothing about: the global network of women who write, read, and love romance novels. What I found surprised me. Here are ten things I learned:

  1. Romance fiction is a billion-dollar industry

Romance novel sales total more than a billion dollars a year. They sell as much as sci-fi, mystery, and fantasy combined.

  1. The romance readership is HUGE and global

More than 70 million people in the USA alone read at least one romance novel per year, and most of them read many more. The work of popular American romance writer Nora Roberts is translated into 33 languages and distributed on 6 continents.

  1. There is a surprisingly wide range of romance novels 

Like romance blogger Sarah Wendell says, “Whatever your cup of tea is, someone’s pouring it.”

Romance novels are often equated with “bodice-rippers,” but the steamy historicals with Fabio on the cover were published back in the 1970s and 1980s. Since that time, the spectrum of romance novels has exploded. On one end of that spectrum, there are chaste evangelical romances. On the other end, there are BDSM romances (yes, likethat one).

In between, you’ll find paranormal romance with vampires and shapeshifters, time-travel romance, historical romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. There are growing romance subgenres for LGBT love stories, a large community of writers who specialize in African-American romance, and there’s even a popular Amish romance subgenre.

  1. Everybody’s writing romance

Women of every description (and a small number of men) are the engine of this industry.

Contrary to expectations, romance authors come from every economic class, every racial group, every sexual preference, and every level of education.

When I asked the pioneering African-American romance author Beverly Jenkinsabout her peers, she told me, “Women from all walks of life do this. We’re not sitting in the proverbial trailer park in ratty nightgowns, eating jelly beans and watching soap operas. There are some pretty powerful women doing this! Geneticists, astrophysicists, lawyers, doctors…” The list goes on.

Len Barot (pen name Radclyffe), one of the main characters in Love Between the Covers, began writing lesbian romances during her surgical residency. Mary Bly (pen name Eloisa James), another main character in the film, is a Shakespeare scholar by day and an author of historical romances by night.

I interviewed PhDs, lawyers, and insurance executives. I also interviewed romance authors who worked in factories. There’s an open door for anyone who wants to give it a try. Nora Roberts, the rock star of the romance industry, never went to college.

  1. Women in the romance community are more likely than the general population to be currently married or living with a partner.

We’ve all seen depictions of the lonely, lovesick romance writer, who pens titillating novels while eating bonbons and sobbing over her keyboard.

Don’t believe the stereotype. While romance does offer women a place to escape daily life and live out their fantasies, this community of readers and writers are statistically more likely than most to be in happy relationships.

  1. Romance authors become personal friends with their readers, and readers find one another.

In the romance community friendships that begin online – based on a shared love of books– often become real and enduring friendships.

Beverly Jenkins and her readers are in constant contact at Beverly’s Facebook page, talking about books, football, music, and the ups and downs of their everyday lives. Every other year, Beverly takes a trip with her readers to places where her novels are set.

Radclyffe invites beginning authors to her farm in upstate New York, where she leads workshops on romance writing, and several of Eloisa James’s loyal readers told us they found their closest friends, with whom they communicate every day, through Eloisa’s blog.

  1. Romance writers get tremendous support from one another

    Why are these women so happy to pull a less experienced writer up the ranks? I asked many authors this question, and almost all of them told me stories of their early romance mentors–and their desire to pay it forward.

At a Romance Writers of America (RWA) national conference, unpublished writers are always welcome (something that does not happen at other writer conferences), and there are dozens of workshops taught by established writers about everything from plot structure and writing knife-fights, to social networking and negotiating contracts. You will see bestselling novelists sitting down for coffee with unpublished newbies, critiquing their work and giving them business advice.

  1. Romance authors are on the cutting edge, pioneering new technologies

    Romance writers and readers were the first to enthusiastically adopt e-books, a service which works well for anyone who buys hundreds of books, and romance writers have always been mavericks of social media, using it effectively to build fan communities.

Romance has been at the forefront of the biggest change to take place in publishing in the last 200 years: self publishing. Together, romance authors have figured out how to succeed in self-publishing. Instead of being secretive, these one-person indie publishing houses share their knowhow and numbers (not a common practice in publishing).

  1. You can take courses about romance fiction at Princeton, Harvard, DePaul and dozens of other universities

    Literature scholars, cultural historians, and popular culture studies professors founded the International Association for the Study of Popular Romancefive years ago. They hold annual conferences, and they’ve also started the peer-reviewed onlineJournal for Popular Culture Studies. It’s a growing interdisciplinary field.
  1. Romance writing isn’t an easy gig

    You might think writing romance novels is more of a breezy pastime than a professional venture, but the deadlines that romance novelists face are incredibly rigorous. Susan Donovandescribed the feeling of being on-deadline saying, “There’s always a flame behind your ass.” Some women publish three or four books a year. On top of this, most novelists handle their own promotion, and self-published authors also handle their novels’ distribution. When you’re a romance novelist, you are a one-woman business.

 

I had a blast exploring the romance community over the last four years. In creatingLove Between the Covers, I discovered one of the few places where women are always center stage, where female characters always win, where justice prevails in every book, and where the broad spectrum of desires of women from all backgrounds are not feared, but explored unapologetically.

*Originally featured in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/laurie-kahn/romance-novels_b_7109458.html

 

Project History – Love Between the Covers

By Laurie Kahn, Director

Romance is the behemoth of the publishing industry; it outsells mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy combined. Yet no filmmaker has ever taken an honest look at the amazing global community that romance writers and readers have built.

As a documentary filmmaker, I want to bring the lives and work of compelling women to the screen, because any industry dominated by women is typically dismissed as trivial and “merely domestic.”  My previous films — A Midwife’s Tale and Tupperware! – are very different from one another, but they were both shaped by my desire to look honestly at communities of women who haven’t been taken seriously (but should be), who deserve to be heard without being mocked.

I knew very little about the romance community when I decided to make this film.  But the further I got into this subject, the more convinced I became that the romance community is not only an interesting sisterhood including more than 100 million women around the globe, but also a phenomenon to learn from.

No filmmaker has ever had the access we’ve had. We have been allowed to film behind-the-scenes strategy and editorial meetings at publishing houses; we’ve been included in the private lives of our main characters; we’ve captured public and private moments at conferences where thousands of romance readers and romance writers are gathered; we’ve been invited to shoot on trips with authors and their fans in South Carolina, Alaska, and Texas; we’ve been allowed to film both high-end and low-budget romance cover shoots; and we’ve been granted an unusually intimate interview with superstar Nora Roberts.

Love Between the Covers is one part of a larger effort called the Popular Romance Project that I dreamt up five years ago.  To pull off this huge project, I found fabulous partners: The Library of Congress Center for the Book, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, and the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR).  They’ve all been a pleasure to work with!

The Popular Romance Project explores the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction, taking a global perspective—while looking back across time as far as the ancient Greeks.

In addition to the film the Popular Romance Project includes:

  • org – the interactive, content-rich website launched in 2011 by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. The site allows its users to see romance novels in a broad context across time and place—with a huge archive of Love Between the Covers interview excerpts, teaching resources, and blogs by romance authors, scholars and industry insiders.
  • What Is Love? Romance Fiction in the Digital Age – an international, multimedia conference of scholars, writers, and readers, hosted by The Library of Congress Center for the Book, funded by Harlequin and the Nora Roberts Foundation. The conference took place on February 11, 2015 at the Library of Congress — open to the public and free. It was an exciting, stimulating day for all who were there, and videos of the panels will be available at the Library of Congress website.

Our advisory board and colleagues at IASPR have been there to help us every step of the way. IASPR’s current president, Pamela Regis, was the co-chair of the conference at the Library of Congress.

Many institutions and individuals have supported this project: the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mass Humanities, the Nora Roberts Foundation, Romance Writers of America, Amazon.com, Harlequin Enterprises, the Tavris Fund at Brandeis University, our amazing supporters at Kickstarter, and those who’ve donated through our website, lovebetweenthecovers.com.

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Chasing Lady Amelia

VT-ChasingLadyAmelia-MRodale_FINALChasing Lady Amelia


Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #2

By: Maya Rodale

Releasing June 28, 2016
Avon

chasing lady amelia cover

Blurb
In the second novel of Maya Rodale’s enchanting Keeping Up with the Cavendishes series, an American heiress finds her reputation—and heart—in danger when she travels to London and meets a wickedly tempting rake

Terribly Improper

Lady Amelia is fed up with being a proper lady and wishes to explore London, so one night she escapes . . . and finds herself in the company of one Alistair Finlay-Jones. He’s been ordered by his uncle to wed one of the American girls. How lucky, then, that one of them stumbles right into his arms!

Totally Scandalous

Alistair and Amelia have one perfect day to explore London, from Astley’s Amphitheater to Vauxhall Gardens. Inevitably they end up falling in love and making love. If anyone finds out, she will be ruined, but he will win everything he’s ever wanted.

Very Romantic

When Amelia finds out Alistair has been ordered to marry her, he must woo her and win back the angry American girl. But with the threat of scandals, plural, looming . . . will he ever catch up to the woman he loves?

 

Link to Follow Tour:  http://www.tastybooktours.com/2016/05/chasing-lady-amelia-keeping-up-with.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27161188-chasing-lady-amelia

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/153521-keeping-up-with-the-cavendishes

 

Buy Links:      Amazon | B & N | Google | iTunes | Kobo

 

Author Info


Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

 

Author Links:   Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

 

Link to Rafflecopter Page, http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c81072/?

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Excerpt

 

“Ah, Lady Nansen. Lord Nansen!” The duchess and her charges paused before a couple that looked just like all the others Amelia had been introduced to: they were of an indeterminate middle age, decked in an array of brightly colored silks and satins, and honestly, a bit jowly and gray.

“I haven’t yet introduced you to my nephew and nieces.”

“And we have been dying to make their acquaintance,” Lady Nansen said, fanning herself furiously. “The ton has spoken of nothing else.”

The duchess performed the introductions. Upon meeting James, the new duke, fawning ensued.

Everyone fawned over James these days—but then when his back was turned they whispered about how his father was a horse thief and that James had been raised in the stables and how tragic it was that Durham was now in his hands.

“And Lady Claire.”

Amelia watched as they took in Claire’s spectacles and her distracted, impatient demeanor. She had not mastered the slightly vacant look of a simpering miss and with a brain as sharp as hers, never would. Amelia watched as Lady Nansen decided that Claire would never be an “incomparable,” or whatever they called the popular girls of the ton, and flitted her attention to the next sister.

“Lady Bridget.”

Amelia watched as her middle sister glided into an elegant curtsy. The duchess beamed. Lady Nansen judged.

“Your practicing is paying off,” Amelia murmured. She’d caught Bridget curtsying in front of the mirror in the ballroom for an hour last Thursday.

“Do shut up, Amelia,” Bridget said through gritted teeth. Unlike the other Cavendish siblings,

Bridget actually cared about fitting in here. She was obsessed with learning and following the rules.

“And Lady Amelia.” She gave a smile somewhere between gargoyle and simpering miss, but perhaps more on the gargoyle side of the spectrum.

“You must have your hands full, Duchess, trying to make so many matches.”

“It does give one something to do all day,” the duchess replied, with a tight-lipped smile that

Amelia dubbed the One Where I Am Smiling Even Though I Hate What You Just Said. “But I do have every confidence that they will make splendid matches. In fact, I have someone special in mind for Lady Amelia this evening.”

The duchess beamed at her charges, as if they hadn’t been foiling her every effort to marry them off. Amelia began to dread meeting “someone special.”

“I say, Duke,” Lord Nonesuch or whatever began, “do you have an opinion on any of the horses running Ascot?”

The lords always asked James for his opinion on which horse would win a race, so they might win a wager. And then they turned around and made snide remarks about his experience raising and training horses—as if he were beneath them because of this knowledge. Even though he now outranked them.

“I do,” James said, smiling easily.

“Don’t suppose you’d tell a friend who you think will be the winner?” Lord Nansen or Nancy said jovially, with a wink and a nudge.

“I might,” James replied.

This was a conversation he’d had before and Amelia had begged him to do something nefarious, like deliberately suggest a losing horse. But James refused and just smiled like he knew the winner and never said a word.

“I suppose you’re going to build up Durham’s stables,” his lordship said.

“Nansen, he doesn’t have time for horses,” his wife said in that exasperated way of wives. “He must find a bride first.”

The duchess beamed, an I-told-you-so smile.

Then Lady Nansen turned and fixed her attentions on Amelia. Her fan was beating at a furious pace.

“And Lady Amelia, have you found any suitors you care for?”

“After having met nearly all of England’s finest young gentlemen, I can honestly say that no, I have not found any suitors that I could care for,” Amelia said. “But I do have a new appreciation for spinsterhood. In fact, I think it sounds like just the thing.”

Just the thing was a bit of slang she had picked up. Sticking forks in her eye was just the thing (but only with the good silver!). Flustering old matrons with an honest and direct statement was just the thing.

Lady Nansen stared at her a moment, blinking rapidly as she tried to process what Amelia had just said.

“Well your sister seems to have snared the attentions of Darcy’s younger brother,” she said, evidently disregarding Amelia and focusing on Bridget, the one who cared about fitting in and finding suitors.

“Are Lord Darcy and Mr. Wright here tonight?” Bridge asked eagerly. Too eagerly. “I haven’t seen them.”

“It’s not a party without Darcy,” Amelia quipped.

Darcy spent the majority of every social engagement standing against the wall, glowering at the company, refusing to dance, and begging the question of why he even bothered to attend.

But that was neither here nor there and no one deigned to reply to Amelia, so she sighed and lamented her choice in footwear quietly to herself. When Lord and Lady Nansen took their leave and sauntered off, the duchess turned and fixed her cool, blue eyes on Amelia.

“You might endeavor to be a touch more gracious, Lady Amelia.”

The Duchess always said everything in perfectly worded, excruciatingly polite phrases. Translation: Lord above, Amelia, stop acting like a brat.

“I’m just . . . bored.”

And homesick. And unhappy. And dreading the future you have planned for me. And a dozen other feelings one does not mention when one is at a ball.

“Bored?” The duchess arched her brows. “How on earth can you be bored by all this?” She waved her hand elegantly, to indicate everything surrounding them. “Is all the splendor, music, and the company of the best families in the best country not enough for you? I cannot imagine that you had such elegance and luxuries in the provinces.”

Everyone here still referred to her home country as the provinces, or the colonies, or as the remote American backwater plagued by heathens, when Amelia knew that it was a beautiful country full of forthright, spirited people. It was her true home.

They operated under the impression that there was no greater fun to be had than getting overdressed and gossiping with the same old people each night, in crowded ballrooms in a crowded city.

She missed summer nights back home on their farm in Maryland, when she would slip outside at night with a blanket, to look up at the vast, endless expanse of stars.

This, no matter what the duchess said, just did not compare.

Amelia shrugged.

“We already met half these people at the six other balls we have attended this week,” she said. “The other half are crashing bores.”

Crashing bores was a phrase Amelia had read in the gossip columns. The violence of it appealed to her.

“I suppose it would be too much to ask you to pretend to act like an interested and engaging young lady.” Then, turning to Lady Bridget, the duchess said, “I daresay she couldn’t.”

With that, the duchess turned away.

She turned away, leaving the words hanging in the air, floating to the ground, just waiting for

Amelia to pounce on them.

“Well that was a challenge,” Claire said.

“I’m not certain she could manage it.” Bridget sniffed.

Really? Really?

“Is that a dare?” Amelia asked, straightening up. Oh, she would pretend all right. She would pretend so well they’d all be shocked. It would give her something to do at least. “Because I will take that dare.”

“I’d like to see you try,” Bridget replied. Then, muttering under her breath she added, “For once.”

Amelia reddened. Admittedly she hadn’t been taking this whole sister-of-the-duke business seriously. But she would show them. So instead of sticking her tongue out and scowling at Bridget, Amelia stuck her nose right up in the air and turned away.

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I’ve been hesitating in reading the first book in this series. I was afraid that I would end up comparing it too much to Pride and Prejudice. So I decided to skip the first book and read the second. Now that I’ve finished Chasing Lady Amelia, I want to go back and reread the first book! Inspired by Roman Holiday, this book was a delightful romp through Regency London. Lady Amelia, an American whose family newly inherited a dukedom, feels stifled by the constraints of society. An accidental dose of laudanum led Lady Amelia into the arms of Alistair Finlay-Jones. Finding Amelia wandering the streets of London and unable to tell him where she lives, he returns her to his apartments. A meeting with his uncle the morning informs him that the woman in his bed is the one his uncle wants him to marry. In order to court Amelia, he joins her the next day on an adventure through London. As the couple falls in love during their adventure, reality and society threaten to destroy their fragile bond.

This book was a light-hearted, fast read. While Alistair has demons from his past and a horrible relationship with his uncle, that did not cast shadows over the humor and adventure in this book. Both Amelia and Alistair are struggling to find their place in a society with constricting rules. They are both outsiders, but discover within one another, that they have met their other-half. The appearances by Lady Amelia’s family and Lord Darcy have made me intrigued enough to read the first book and to continue to follow the series!

 

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