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Saturday Excerpt: The Rebel Cowboy’s Quadruplets by Tina Leonard

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It takes a real hero to save a ranch–and handle four babies in the process! That’s the challenge former rodeo star Justin Morant faces in Tina Leonard’s newest Harlequin American Romance story, when he signs on as Mackenzie Hawthorne’s ranch foreman…and falls for the single mom of quadruplets! Keep reading for an excerpt from The Rebel Cowboy’s Quadruplets, on sale now.

Rebel with a cause

Beautiful Mackenzie Hawthorne is looking for a ranch foreman, not a husband. Good thing, because marriage isn’t in injured bull rider Justin Morant’s future. Justin is happy to take up the cause of saving the Hanging H ranch—and then there’s the bonus of playing stand-in father to the sexy single mom’s four angelic newborns.

Mackenzie doesn’t know what miracle brought Justin to Bridesmaids Creek, Texas, but she’d be a fool to fall for the hunky cowboy who wears his rebel status like a badge of honor. Justin’s a natural with her daughters and a whiz at ranching…yet one day she knows he’s going to gallop off into the sunset. Unless, of course, the marriage-minded townspeople get their hands on him!

Excerpt:

Justin Morant recognized trouble when his buddy Ty Spur-lock texted him a link to a dating website. This was what happened when you had to leave the rodeo circuit thanks to a career-ending injury: your friends decided you needed a woman with whom to share your retirement, and maybe a spread to call your own because you were going to need something to do with your new spare time. The woman would run your life and the spread would rule your life, and maybe it was one and the same. You’d work hard, be tied to the land and the woman, never have two nickels to call your own. You’d have children and, suddenly, you were up to your neck in obligations and debt.

He’d seen it happen too many times. At twenty-seven, Justin was in no hurry to be fobbed off on a woman who was so desperate for a man that she’d use an online service.

He packed up his duffel, tossed it in his seen-better-days white truck and headed away from Montana, destination unknown, knee killing him this fine summer day.

His phone rang and Justin pulled over. This was a conversation that was going to follow him every step of his self-imposed sabbatical if he didn’t stamp it out now.

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Get Your Geek On!

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by Julie Moffett, author of No Biz Like Showbiz (Carina Press)

Award-winning author Julie Moffett is releasing the fifth book, NO BIZ LIKE SHOWBIZ, in her popular Lexi Carmichael mystery series from Carina Press. Geek extraordinaire, Lexi Carmichael, is sent to Hollywood to track down a hacker who is altering the online voting for a popular reality television dating show featuring real-life geeks. Hilarity, nerdiness and lots of fun ensue. Hollywood may never be the same!

Hi, I’m author Julie Moffett and I’m a James Bond geek. As a teen I read most of Ian Fleming’s books and then saw the movies. I adored the danger, the thrill of a complicated plot, the international action, and even the over-the-top chase scenes. Once in college, I even decided to join the CIA, majoring in Political Science and Russian Language and going all the way through four years of the interview process including taking a tour of the site, meeting my prospective boss in the Psychological Profiling Unit, and taking a lengthy lie detector test. (By the way, did you know that the CIA cafeteria at Langley has two sides to it: one side for the ordinary agents and one side for the covert agents? I kid you not!) At the last moment, however, I changed my mind, opting instead for a less restrictive career in international journalism. But my love for all things spy and international remained.

So when I began to write a new series several years ago, I decided to do it by turning the James Bond image on its head. I wanted to create an action/adventure character that would be an antithesis to 007. She would be a loner, lacking in social skills and grace, and anti-fashion. Instead of using her debonair charm and good looks to save the day, she’d use her brain. A super-charged geek brain. To help her out I’d pair her with a set of super genius geek twins to help her through any crisis (think Q2). Her best friend would be more of a Bond girl who could help her navigate the tricky waters of dating, socializing, and finding a decent dress. Throw in a sexy secret agent and a hot Irish lawyer and things really heat up for our geeky heroine. To add more laughs, I gave my character an obsession with all things Bond, which leads to many humorous moments in the books. Voila! Lexi Carmichael was born.

The newest release in the series, No Biz Like Showbiz, has just released. Lexi goes to Hollywood!

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About No Biz Like Showbiz:

Lexi Carmichael: helping geeks everywhere get some.

Okay, so it’s not exactly as it seems, but that’s what’s happening on the dating reality show called Geeks Get Some that I, geek extraordinaire Lexi Carmichael, have been called to work on. Not that I’m a fan of reality shows (I can barely deal with my own reality). Still, I’ve been sent to Hollywood to find a hacker who’s screwing with the results of the show’s online voting system.

So what happens when I get there? Well, the producers convince me to continue my investigation from the inside. And what should be an easy hunt for the hacker turns ugly when he sets his sights on me. Add to that a studio obsessed with ratings, a bunch of nerdy contestants, and my own confusing love life, and unraveling this mystery might make me a star…or get me killed.

So, Readers, who is your favorite Bond? 

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When You See It

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by Emmie Mears, author of The Masked Songbird (Part of the Harlequin E Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Box Set Volume 2)

Because I write urban fantasy that often carries the qualifier of “gritty,” it might seem on the surface that “romantic” isn’t the next item on that descriptive list. Indeed, while I love to include a romantic thread in my novels, providing my characters with happily ever afters isn’t usually priority one. Love, in all its many forms, is difficult to define, but there is one thing that unites most humans: you know it when you see it.

Whether it’s a valued friend picking up the phone at 2:30 in the morning when you’ve just separated from your husband or a child’s portrait of you, scrawled in crayon and presented with pride, we instinctively experience those things and think, “This is love.”

We also, just as instinctively, know what love is not. Those moments where we get blown off, or when someone betrays us. We sense that the motivation behind those actions is not love. That’s what makes love such a coveted thing, as intangible and elusive of definition as it is.

Most of us walk through the world without an innate sense of when or how love will find us. Even though humans are social and communal creatures, loneliness is ubiquitous. Many of us thread through our everyday lives like a needle trailing a string of hurt that ends frayed by broken relationships and disappointment. Because of this, we sometimes seek out partners who aren’t right for us, if only to feel fleetingly like we are wanted and enjoyed. We sometimes follow that path so far that we forget what we’re really searching for.

It’s the eschewing of that dichotomy that can be the most poignant – not only the finding of love itself, but the rediscovery of what love really means. It’s the encounters that remind us that love is a transcendent thing that ignores ego and selfishness, that it looks beyond an expectation or entitlement, past the bare minimum of kindness and respect to real empathy and more.

The journey I wanted Gwen to have in The Masked Songbird was one such journey, in which she was given the chance to rediscover love – in others and in herself.

 About the Book:

Mildly hapless Edinburgh accountant Gwenllian Maule is surviving. She’s got a boyfriend, a rescued pet bird and a flatmate to share rent. Gwen’s biggest challenges: stretching her last twenty quid until payday and not antagonizing her terrifying boss.

Then Gwen mistakenly drinks a mysterious beverage that gives her heightened senses, accelerated healing powers and astonishing strength. All of which come in handy the night she rescues her activist neighbour from a beat-down by political thugs.

Now Gwen must figure out what else the serum has done to her body, who else is interested and how her boss is involved. Finally—and most mysteriously—she must uncover how this whole debacle is connected to the looming referendum on Scottish independence.

Gwen’s hunt for answers will test her superpowers and endanger her family, her friends—even her country.

The Masked Songbird is on sale now in the Harlequin E Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Box Set Volume 2, and will also be available individually Sept. 1.

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Harlequin Romance Can’t Get Enough Weddings!

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by Bryony Green, Senior Editor, Harlequin Romance

rebelandheiressDo you love a wedding? The Harlequin Romance team LOVE all things bridal—and we’re thrilled to present you with a month that’s all about weddings! It has everything from a royal wedding to Italian nuptials to convenient weddings—and, as always, offers a variety of powerfully emotional Romances!

First let’s whisk you away to the city of Sydney, Australia, where a young woman, Nell, has inherited a mansion—a crumbling Victorian villa that needs a lot of renovation and TLC to bring it back to its former glory. A letter from her grandmother’s gardener brings her back in touch with her childhood friend Rick Bradford, a man who helps her achieve her dream to bring the villa back to life as a venue for a wedding—her own! Michelle Douglas has a gift for storytelling and delving into those deep emotions, so don’t miss The Rebel and the Heiress.

crownprinceApart from your own wedding, or that of your nearest and dearests, the next-best kind is, of course, a Royal wedding! Look out for Crown Prince, Pregnant Bride, by Kate Hardy. Indigo Moran is an ordinary girl who meets a handsome and intriguing stranger while visiting her friend at an English country house. She has no idea that this is a European crown prince…and he enjoys these rare moments of being anonymous.

I have often told my husband that Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world. He hasn’t taken the hint yet—sadly—but my reason for wanting to go comes from reading Lucy Gordon’s books! Her own husband is Venetian and she writes about the city with such love and passion you can’t help but want to go there! And this beautiful cover with a Venetian canal in the background makes it even more enticing. In Gordon’s August romance, Not Just a Convenient convenientmarriageMarriage, we meet Sally Franklin in peril as her brother’s loan sharks are trying to track her down. Sexy single-dad Damiano rescues her and offers the deal of a lifetime—a convenient marriage that will solve her current problems but might just lead to a lot of new ones.

Once Thea and Zeke almost eloped. Now, years later, she’s about to marry Zeke’s brother Flynn (for business reasons) when Zeke returns! Thea faces a dilemma—the safe, stable, secure option of a marriage to Flynn…or taking a chance on Zeke. Can she trust him now after all they’ve been through? A Groom Worth Waiting For is a wonderfully emotional story from new British talent Sophie Pembroke. On the
cover you can see a glimpse of the beautiful Tuscan countryside where the wedding takes place!

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We’re sure you’ll enjoy this varied selection of wedding stories set all over the world!
If you could marry anywhere in the world, where would you have your wedding?

Be sure to check out the authors at these social media destinations:
https://www.facebook.com/michelle.douglas.3538
https://www.facebook.com/katehardyromanceauthor
Twitter: @katehardyauthor
https://www.facebook.com/sophie.pembroke
Twitter: @sophie_pembroke
https://www.facebook.com/authorLucyGordon

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Harlequin at RWA 2014

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by Amy Loosemore, Harlequin.com Team

Are you going to the RWA Annual Conference this week? So are we! Harlequin editors, staff and authors are flocking to San Antonio this week and we’d love to see there! Here are some events where you can find us, and check our RWA schedule for more.

Mills and Boon Open House

Thursday, July 26
Time:     11:00 am – 12:00 p.m.
Room: Conference Room 11, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Harlequin Book Signing

Friday, July 25
Time:     9:45 am – 11:15 a.m.
Room: Grand Ballroom C & D, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Series Spotlight

Date: Friday, July 25
Time:  2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Room: Conference Room 3-4, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Single Title Spotlight

Date: Friday, July 25
Time:  3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
Room: Conference Room 3-4, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Harlequin Presents Fifth Avenue Signing

Saturday, July 26
Time:     11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Room: Conference Room 11, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Carina Press Spotlight
Saturday, July 26
Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 p.m.
Room: Conference Room 13-14, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Harlequin Superromance Open House

Saturday, July 26
Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 p.m.
Room: Conference Room 11, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

Harlequin Heartwarming Open House

Saturday, July 26
Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 p.m.
Room: Conference Room 11, Marriott Rivercenter Hotel

You can also pick up signed books by tons of Harlequin authors during the Literacy Signing on Wednesday, July 23, 5:30-7:30pm at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel. And of course, we’ll be cheering for all the Harlequin and Carina Press RITA finalists during the RITA Awards on Saturday!

Even if you’re not attending RWA, you can follow @HarlequinBooks on Twitter for live tweets of the Harlequin spotlights, plus updates and photos from the conference. We’ll also post a recap of some highlights right here on July 28. Aspiring writers, check out Camp Gonnabe Two in Community for a whole week of online writing discussions, chats and workshops for those unable to attend the conference, too.

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“You Ate What?”

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by A.M. Arthur, author of Maybe This Time (Carina Press)

I’m not much of a scripted television show watcher anymore, and this is probably because I spend so much time with fictional characters while writing my books. I much prefer watching real TV. No, not “reality shows” or “competition reality shows.” My favorite channels are Food Network, Travel Channel, and History Channel. Not only do I learn new things, but it’s great accidental research. I pick up little tidbits for future stories and characters. Some of those tidbits were put to good use when creating the character of Donner Davis in Maybe This Time.

MTT_Cover

While watching an episode of “Bizarre Foods” set in San Francisco, I was introduced to Freegans. These are folks who root through dumpsters and trash cans for perfectly edible produce and other food that grocery stores have thrown away for being less than perfect. Go to YouTube and search for that episode. I’ll wait.

Done? I was astonished at how much food is trashed because Americans are so picky about bumps or bruises on their apples. The Freegans gather up the food, cook it into meals, and distribute it to the city’s homeless. I absolutely fell in love with this idea. People in this country are starving. Children go to bed hungry, and we’re throwing away perfectly good food. It made me look at my buying habits more closely, and it made me want to use that in my fiction. Maybe by writing about it, I can help other people see food differently.

Thus was born Donner Davis. Donner is a professional bartender with a passion for helping others, and he does this by spearheading an organization called Street Feed. He and a friend scavenge around the city looking for edible “garbage.” They collect it, cook it up into soup, and distribute it once a week. Donner’s generosity is the heart of his character, and it’s something that truly confuses Ezra Kelley when the pair first meet. Ezra isn’t used to someone simply being nice for the sake of it, without expecting something in return.

The first time Ezra helps Donner scavenge and his first “dumpster” meal are big moments for Ezra, and it changes the way he thinks about what’s truly disposable—both in terms of food and people.

What about you? Would you eat a bowl of soup if the cook told you that they took all of the ingredients out of the trash?

***

No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child, and scribbling them down nearly as long.  She credits an early fascination with male interpersonal relationships (and “The Young Riders”) with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories.  When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself with her cuisine experiments.

Contact her at am_arthur@yahoo.com with your cooking tips (or book comments). You can also find her online (http://amarthur.blogspot.com/), on Tumblr (http://www.tumblr.com/blog/am-arthur) and on Twitter (@AM_Arthur).

***

About Maybe This Time:

As a regular at gay hotspot Pot O Gold, Ezra Kelley avoids his tangled emotions with the simplicity of one-night stands and attachment-free hookups. Until the night bartender Donner Davis picks him up off the floor after a misunderstanding and too much tequila. Ezra can’t remember the last time someone was . . . nice. It’s more than he deserves.

Witnessing his lover’s death two years ago has Donner trapped in a holding pattern—living in his sister’s basement, working at the Pot and flirting with the customers. He’s not above spending a night with the gorgeous Ezra, but love is not in the cards. That’s more than he’s ready for.

A passionate night leads to a connection that neither man expects, and they take the first steps to something that looks like a real relationship. But Ezra’s been running from himself so long he doesn’t know how to live any other way. And Donner can’t risk his heart just to lose everything again. They’ll both need the strength to let go of the past if they want to get it right this time.

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New Free Online Read: Matched to His Crush by Kat Cantrell

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A geek-turned-billionaire is paired with a former mean girl who one broke his heart in high school in a new free online read by Harlequin Desire author Kat Cantrell. Now Marcus will woo her for revenge—if he doesn’t fall for her first! Find out what happens in “Matched to His Crush” on Harlequin.com with a new chapter posted each Monday. Click here to get started and read an excerpt below!

matched to his crush_OR

Marcus was a geek in high school. Now he owns a billion-dollar company. And the only thing he needs to make his life complete is the perfect wife. So he signs up with the matchmaker at EA International, because she has a reputation for finding soul mates…. But instead of providing the promised perfect match, he’s paired with the girl who once crushed his heart in high school—former head cheerleader Adriana! Now, though, the tables are turned. His beautiful nemesis may have fallen on hard times but that’s not enough atonement for her mean-girl past. Marcus will woo her—and exact his revenge. Yet Adriana isn’t the girl she once was, and soon Marcus is tempted to forgive her mistakes and appreciate the woman she’s become…

Excerpt:

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

And Marcus Braun did not enjoy being shamed. For a moment, he thought about tattooing the saying on his forearm—so it could remind him every day how Adriana McNamara had stood him up not once, but twice.

Both times, she’d somehow managed to convince him she intended to show for their date. His temper spiked as he glanced at his Patek Philippe watch. Yep. Adriana was still over thirty minutes late.

The real mystery was why he still sat here at this French bistro in Uptown, north of Dallas, where she’d agreed to meet him when they’d talked on the phone yesterday.

The café patrons glanced at him curiously, but gone were the days when attention caused him to sweat and stammer. Selling your cloud storage company for 3.2 billion dollars gave a man a serious confidence boost. Otherwise, he’d never have agreed to meet the girl who’d humiliated him at their senior prom by—you guessed it—not showing up.

Obviously, Marcus wasn’t as smart as all the magazine articles said. Adriana had played him for a fool ten years later as soundly as she had the first time. And here he’d thought it was time to let bygones be bygones, assuming they’d both grown a lot in the years since high school and could start over as adults.

Enough was enough. Marcus threw a fifty-dollar bill on the table and stalked to his car, already dialing EA International, the matchmaking company he’d recently hired. Elise Arundel, the matchmaker, had insisted her match software was top-notch and offered a refund if he didn’t find true love. When Adriana’s name came up as his match, Elise had implored him to give it a shot.

Read the rest of Chapter One of “Matched to His Crush” here.

Would you like to be reunited with your high school crush?

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Cover Spotlight: Behind the Scenes of Since You’ve Been Gone

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Today we have a behind-the-scenes look at how Art Director Kathleen Oudit shot and created the cover of Since You’ve Been Gone by Anouska Knight, a moving story about learning to embrace an unknown and unexpected tomorrow–and how to love again.

The photographer, Henrieta, and I met at the studio many hours before the model arrived. A wall of the photography studio had been already been painted and shelves mounted to create a “cake shop” set.

Thanks to Le Dolci, of Toronto, Ontario we had almost an entire bakery’s worth of cakes for our photo shoot!

This local pastry and cake boutique delivered a colourful selection of showstopping cakes, cake stands and platters for us to work with. We also had a selection of character appropriate clothes (including some sweet aprons) waiting to wardrobe our model.

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The cakes looked delicious, but don’t be fooled… they are all display models; just icing and fondant over styrofoam forms. Cake chefs create these samples to display thier creative designs in a showroom or store window–but unlike cake, Styrofoam will not go “off” after a few days.

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Harlequin Author Milestones: June and July 2014

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Congratulations to all our authors celebrating debuts and milestones in June and July 2014!

Debut Authors:

Black Diamond by Havana Adams
The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal by Adite Banerjie
No Apologies by Sybil Bartel
One Door Closes by G.B. Lindsey
Cooking Up Love by Amylynn Bright
365 Skinny Smoothies by Daniella Chace
Hustle by Claire Chilton
Legal Seduction by Sharon C. Cooper
Hate to Love You by Elise Alden
The Contract by Avril Tremayne
Bad Reputation by Melinda Di Lorenzo
The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst
A Perfect Homecoming by Lisa Dyson
Forgotten Past by Mary Alford
All I Have by Nicole Helm
Her Perfect Candidate by Candace Shaw
Bride by Mail by Katy Madison
Light My Fire by Kristina Knight
No Place to Run by Marion Faith Laird
Heartbreak in Rio by Delaney Diamond
Reasons Not to Fall in Love by Kirsty Moseley
How to Lose Weight and Alienate People by Ollie Quain
Beats of My Heart by Grace Octavia
Chasing the Rebel by Tyler Flynn
The Line Book One: Carrier by Anne Tibbets
Bollywood Fiancé for a Day by Ruchi Vasudeva
Drowned by Nichola Reilly
The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett
The Shepherd by Ethan Cross
Caught In the Crosshairs by Elisabeth Rees
Beyond the Velvet Rope by Tiffany Ashley
Only the Brave Try Ballet by Stefanie London
Boys and Toys by Cara Lockwood
Wicked Sexy by Anne Marsh
A Rose in Flanders Fields by Terri Nixon
Safe in the Earl’s Arms by Liz Tyner
Smoky Mountain Investigation by Annslee Urban
If Only… by Tanya Wright

Continue reading »

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Saturday Excerpt: When Opposites Attract… by Jules Bennett

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A feisty jockey meets a Hollywood heartthrob in Jules Bennett’s new book, When Opposites Attract…, book 1 of The Barrington Trilogy. Mix in secrets and sizzling passion and you get a perfect Harlequin Desire read. Check out an excerpt below to read about Tessa and Grant’s first encounter!

About the Book

“When I want something, I find a way to make it mine.”

After a near-fatal accident, Hollywood hotshot Grant Carter never imagined returning to the equestrian world. But producing a movie about a racing dynasty means he has no choice. Luckily Tessa Barrington, star jockey, provides the distraction he needs—feisty attitude, stunning looks…and a surprising innocence he can’t resist.

Tessa won’t give herself to just any man, especially a smooth-talking player like Grant. Once filming wraps, how can she trust he’ll stick around? He’s already keeping secrets. Besides, Tessa has her eye on bigger prizes…unless falling in love is the biggest prize of all, for both of them.

Excerpt:

With a nice, round backside greeting him as he stepped over the threshold of the fancy stables, Grant Carter was more certain than ever that accepting this film project was not only a chance of a lifetime, it was a gift from God.

He might be looking to settle down and calm his ways, but to ignore the perfection displayed before him would be a sin. Besides, Grant knew his place, and he hadn’t worked this hard in Hollywood to blow it just because temptation seemed to be glaring right in his face. Literally.

Temptation would have to wait, because producing a film revolving around horse-racing icon Damon Barrington was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up…no matter the nightmares that followed him here.

Continue reading »

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