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Excerpt Saturday: The Wedding Ring Quest by Carla Kelly

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How far would you go to retrieve a lost wedding ring? Carla Kelly’s The Wedding Ring Quest shows just how a search can turn into a fantastic adventure.

weddingringquestSearching for a ring…finding a family!

Penniless Mary Rennie knows she’s lucky to have a home with relatives in Edinburgh, but she does crave more excitement in her life. So when her cousin’s ring is lost in one of several fruitcakes heading around the country as gifts, Mary seizes the chance for adventure.

When widowed captain Ross Rennie and his son meet Mary in a coaching inn, they take her under their wing. After years of battling Napoleon, Ross’s soul is war weary, but Mary’s warmth and humor touch him deep inside. Soon, he’s in the most heart-stopping situation of his life—considering a wedding-ring quest of his own!


This was no ordinary return to Plymouth; Captain Ross Rennie felt it in his bones. A frigate captain much wiser than he —dead now, like so many friends —had described it best during one of those chats on the far side of the world when another frigate pulled alongside to visit and hand off mail.

In the course of their conversation over beef too long in brine and green water, they described recent fights with the French or Spanish, depending on where national allegiance had swung in an endless war. The long-defunct captain had looked Ross square in the eye and said, ‘Sometimes a victory is only a hair’s breadth better than a defeat.’

A young captain at the time, Ross had nodded, wondering later what the devil the man meant. As his thirty-six-gun frigate Abukir sailed into Plymouth on a rainy day, Ross felt that hollow, sinking feeling of defeat, when he should have been over the moon with joy. The emotion had been growing since his ship had been ordered to join the convoy escorting Napoleon and his entourage to Elba after his banishment there in 1814 by the Allies. A time or two during the short voyage from France, he had stood on his own quarterdeck and observed Bonaparte on HMS Undaunted, Captain Tom Ussher’s frigate.

Ross almost hated himself for finding the man so fascinating, but the exiled emperor seemed to demand attention. Ross noticed other telescopes trained on Napoleon.

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What Are Your Favorite Gothic Stories?

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This month sees the release of our second Harlequin E Shivers Box Set!  We checked in with all four authors to ask if they’d seen a resurgence of gothic stories lately, and to share any of their favorite gothic tales in movies or television.

Jane Godman, author of Echoes in the Darkness

Since Harlequin E Shivers launched with the first box set in January 2014, I am noticing gothic trends everywhere! All of a sudden, it seems everyone wants to explore the attics and cellars of our imagination. Films, television programs, books, computer games, websites—even clothing—are determined to take us to where the wild, shadowy things lurk.

This gothic related phenomenon could be easily explained, of course. It might be the same as when you think of buying a certain make of car. Suddenly, you see nothing but that particular type of car. I may be so tuned in to gothic-ness through my own writing that I’m noticing it everywhere. Or Harlequin E Shivers may be the trailblazers for a gothic resurgence. I like to think it’s the latter.

I have noticed a definite recurring gothic theme, although it is not labelled explicitly as such, in many of the Scandinavian programs on British TV. Dramas like Wallander, The Bridge and The Killing all rely heavily on atmosphere, cliff-hangers and secrets—the lynchpins of a good gothic. The BBC’s adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley has been one of my favorite dramas recently. It was a masterpiece of gothic shivery-ness, making the viewer suspect everyone, even (whisper it quietly) Mr. Darcy.

Looking ahead, I’m excited to learn that, when it comes to the big screen, Tom Hiddleston will be starring in Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror film Crimson Peak next year. I have no idea if the delicious Mr. Hiddleston was influenced in his choice of role by the fact that Harlequin E Shivers are leading a gothic revival. But who knows?


Barbara J. Hancock, author of Silent Is the House

shiversboxset2Last year one of my favorite gothic authors won double RITA® Awards from Romance Writers of America!

I’m especially excited about the current popularity of gothic themes. For instance, does this sound familiar? “Vulnerable but brave woman travels to a mysterious new home in order to take on a challenging job under the supervision of a man who is as dangerous as he is intriguing.”  Did you guess Jane Eyre? I was actually describing the dystopian YA, Divergent!

Gothic is timeless, but there seems to be a reawakening of the genre. And who isn’t drawn to stories about empowerment, bravery and the exultation of facing our deepest fears at our most vulnerable moment?

Favorite gothic movies? This will be where I resist talking too much about Michael Fassbender as Rochester in the remake of Jane Eyre. Is there anyone better at the sexy slow burn than Fassbender? *fans self*

I’m always drawn to gothic. Whether it’s a sensual ghost story like The Awakening starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West or something a little more frightening like Jekyll, a BBC America series by Steven Moffat of Sherlock fame…if a show has dark secrets, atmosphere, suspense and forbidden attractions, I’m there! Michelle Ryan plays Dr. Jekyll’s assistant in Moffat’s show and her performance creates the sexiest and most poignantly endangered strong gothic heroine that I’ve seen.


Dawn Brown, author of The Witch of Stonecliff

I’m a big fan of the gothic genre. Whether it’s in books, television or movies, I love it all, and I believe there’s been definite a resurgence of gothic in movies and television lately. It’s evident in movies like The Woman in Black and The Raven. The popularity of television shows like Sleepy Hollow and American Horror Story show that gothic is making a comeback.  However, looking back there’s been a number of television shows and movies that feature elements unique to gothic stories.  Twin Peaks, which aired back in 1990, used atmosphere, mystery and a host of quirky characters with secrets to create a wonderfully eerie tale.  Movies like The Gift (2000) and The Others (2001) with their dark oppressive moods, plotlines filled with twists and turns and horror elements are excellent examples of gothic. So perhaps gothic never really disappeared, after all. Instead, we’re just reminded of how much we love the genre.

As for my favorite gothic movies, I would have to pick The Changeling (1980), Half Light (2006) and The Orphanage (2007.) To me, these movies really epitomize the genre while just being delightfully creepy to watch. I highly recommend all three.


Jen Christie, author of House of Glass

Not only are we seeing a resurgence of gothic, we are also witnessing the gothic genre transforming into a more modern, relevant book for today’s woman. It’s really an exciting time to be a gothic romance writer, because the genre is reinventing itself and all bets are off! I think the image of a scared woman entering a crumbling mansion will evolve into different and exciting scenarios. I’m also happy that Amazon has a dedicated “gothic” bookshelf. Certainly the genre has staying power and it’s time for the next generation of gothics, and I personally vote for more sexy ones!

My favorite gothic movies are Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre (Michael Fassbender—yum!) and of course the always terrific Phantom of the Opera! Sometimes I like a 1960s damsel in distress gothic. Those are fun, too! In 2015, Guillermo del Toro is coming out with a gothic movie called Crimson Peak. I have heard a lot of exciting things about the film, and the genre should get a lot more interest from the movie. Gothic is just starting to take off again!

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Harlequin News Round Up: April 17, 2014

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This week is filled with celebrations at Harlequin! Romantic Times award winners, Carina Press sports romances, and spotlights on Harlequin Presents and Harlequin Medical Romance are just some of the news we have to share with you, dear readers. Keep reading to learn more!

Congratulations to RT Award Winners!

Romantic Times magazine has announced the winners of their 2013 Reviwers’s Choice Best Book Awards and Career Achievement Awards! Congratulations to the many Harlequin authors who won awards, and to all the well deserved nominees!

30% off Harlequin Presents

Do you love the glitz, glamour and luxurious settings? Or passionate, steamy romance? How about the devastatingly sexy and ruthless alpha heroes? If you said YES to any of these, now is the time to stock up on Harlequin Presents books at! ALL Presents books (ebooks and print) are 30% off list price this month. Get the coupon code in the image below and click here to get shopping.


We <3 Librarians!

It’s National Library Week! We love libraries…and librarian characters, too! The Harlequin Community has rounded up romances featuring librarian heroines, including What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss, The Librarian’s Secret Scandal by Jennifer Morey and Taken with You by Shannon Stacey. Which books would add to the list? Join the discussion in Community here!

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Bronwyn Scott’s Discreet Gentlemen

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by Bronwyn Scott, author of London’s Most Wanted Rake (book 4 of Rakes Who Make Husbands Jealous quartet, Harlequin Historical)

I’ve been thinking about a Regency male escort series for quite a while. With hot movies like Magic Mike and last year’s breaking news (which came halfway through the writing of the series—the first book was already “in the can”) from The Hollywood Reporter that escorts at the Cannes Film Festival were making $4,000 a night, the timing for the series couldn’t be better.

The series centers around Channing Deveril, who runs a discreet escort service for the ladies of the haute ton. The aim of Channing’s League of Discreet Gentlemen is to provide companionship whether it be the pleasure of having a handsome man on the arm for an evening at the opera or something a little more daring. Channing’s men come from a variety of backgrounds ranging from Nicholas D’Arcy, who is landowning gentry down on his luck, to retired cavalry officer Captain Grahame Westmore, to Jocelyn Eisley, an earl’s heir who loves the thrill of the secrecy. And, of course, the series features heroines who are more than enough for each of these gentlemen.

I tried to give every tale a unique setting so that each tale had something that stands out. For instance, Grahame Westmore’s story takes place in the form of a road trip to Vienna, no fancy London balls for him. He sleeps in barns, rides through the rain and cooks over an open fire—a rugged man indeed! Nick D’Arcy’s story takes place in the countryside, and there’s a chance to explore a certain aspect on the city-mouse, country-mouse angle. What will a man used to the city’s entertainment and glamour do in the quiet of the countryside? The closest he gets to a fancy ball is a rather vicious house party.

The series was great to write. Each gentleman is outspoken in his own way, which made their dialogue fun to come up with. I spent a lot of time thinking about how each hero would articulate his thoughts. Even more than that, I enjoyed evolving each character, hero and heroine alike, from how they understood themselves on the first page to their new understanding of themselves on the last. For instance, Nicholas has come to define himself based on his ability to give pleasure in bed; this has become the sole avenue for judging his “success” in life, although this vision of himself has led him to discard other dreams he once had. Through meeting Annorah, he is able to reconcile who he has become and who he’s always been. Ultimately, that’s the beauty of relationships—learning about who we are and what we can be with the help of those we love.

How about you? Who has influenced your life for the better? Leave a comment here and give them a shout-out.

I hope you love reading about my discreet gentlemen as much as I loved writing about them!

About the Book

“Channing Deveril—a new woman every night. You’re worried about scandals? You are a scandal!”

Rumor has it that Channing Deveril, founder of The League of Discreet Gentlemen, is tired of warming women’s beds. But when he encounters the alluring Alina Marliss, the stage is set for his most ambitious assignment yet….

Alina is accustomed to teetering on the edge of scandal, so Channing’s skillful seduction is a complication she definitely doesn’t need! She might crave his expert touch, but she has no intention of losing her head—much less her heart—over London’s most notorious rake!

Rakes Who Make Husbands Jealous — Only London’s best lovers need apply!

Rakes Who Make Husbands Jealous quartet:

SECRETS OF A GENTLEMAN ESCORT – Harlequin Historical, January 2014

AN OFFICER BUT NO GENTLEMAN  – Harlequin Historical Undone, February 2014

A MOST INDECENT GENTLEMAN -  Harlequin Historical Undone, March 2014

LONDON’S MOST WANTED RAKE – Harlequin Historical, April 2014

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“The thrill of swinging the hammer”: Christine d’Abo on Nailed

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by Christine d’Abo, author of Nailed (Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin)

Hello. My name is Christine and I have an addiction to home improvement shows. Hey now, I’m being serious! They say that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, so I’m here today to start the healing process.

nailedI first realized I might have an issue when I started watching HGTV when I was on the treadmill at the gym. The show on was one I’d seen before (more than once) and it was a favorite. I was chuckling at the jokes I couldn’t hear as I tried not to collapse against the monitor. That’s when I realized my husband was shaking his head on the machine beside me.

“You need help, sweetie.”


“Mike Holmes isn’t that funny.”

How can I not love these shows?! Men and women doing hard work with their hands. Sweat and dirt, giving way to smiles and tears when the job is over. Just because I now understand things like abatement and self-leveling concrete, this isn’t a bad thing.

I’m watching for the educational aspects of the programming. Honest!

If I happen to tune into shows hosted by some attractive contractors, well that wasn’t my fault.  I was after the knowledge! The thrill of swinging the hammer! The way sweat would gleam off their bodies as they lugged drywall into the house wasn’t something I could stop myself from seeing.

Am I right? My husband didn’t believe me either.

I recognized quickly that I needed to channel my growing obsession with home improvements shows the only way I knew how—to put on front and center in an erotic romance novel. That’s just how I roll.

It was easy to come up with Fynn’s character. There were so many construction workers/contractors out there for me to model Fynn after that I had a lot of fun with my research. One of the awesome things about watching home improvement shows is being able to see the rise of women in the industry. Sophia is a mash up of many female construction workers, mixed with the talented designers.

I threw them together, shook things up, and let the fireworks explode. Fynn and Sophia get into all sorts of sexy fun on the set, and along the way learn more than a few things about themselves and each other. As for me, I’m beginning to realize that my addiction to home improvement shows isn’t so bad after all.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a bathtub to caulk.

About Nailed:

Warning: This show contains scenes of sexual tension.

Hosting a new TV show is a fantasy-turned-reality for diva decorator Sophia Holbrook. But concentrating on color swatches is hard when all she can think of is her studly cohost, contractor Fynn Babineau. These two may clash over blueprints and budgets on-screen, but with the lust palpable between them, rumor has it they have been putting more than just their heads together behind the scenes…. What secrets will the cameras expose? Tune in tonight to find out.

Viewer discretion advised. Mature audiences only.

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Still Waters Run Deep

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by Allison Parr, author of Imaginary Lines (Carina Press)

I didn’t mean to write a book about Abraham Krasner.

When he showed up in my first book, Rush Me, he was a side character – a sweet, earnest guy who had just started his first year of professional football. He immediately bonded with the heroine because of a shared culture – and, okay, mostly because of food. (Food is very important to twenty-somethings). But as his character developed, I realized how much I liked him. He’s that carefree guy every friend group has: enthusiastic, welcoming, and entirely lovable.

So no wonder I wanted him as the hero for my third book. He was the character that my readers requested the most, and I was more than happy to oblige. Yet it turns out there’s always something going on beneath those blithely relaxed exteriors, and Abraham was no different. Though his friends may have assumed his personality was always go-with-the flow, it turns out flowing water has the power to carve its own path.


And who better a match for this surprisingly passionate man than the woman who grew up with him? Tamar Rosenfeld moved down the street from Abe when she was twelve years old. It’s very easy to fall in love with the local football hero when your mothers are best friends – and difficult to realize the feelings are unrequited. Of course, when the two end up in the same city many years later, all that changes. Though when one’s a professional football player and the other’s a professional sports journalist, conflict is bound to arise…

I had such fun with these two characters. I already knew Abraham, and writing his story just deepened how much I liked him: he’s giving, strong, and utterly loyal. Tamar is sweet, caring, and stubborn. Writing the two as they rediscovered each other and realized how little – and how much – they knew about the other was a pleasure.

Have you ever met or read about a person who surprised you with the depth of their personality? Someone who you wanted to know more about, and couldn’t get out of your head? Abraham Krasner was like that for me, and I hope you’re as delighted reading about him as I was writing about him!

You can pick up Imaginary Lines today at Carina Press and learn more about the rest of the New York Leopards at Also, don’t be shy – come on over to Twitter on Thursday, April 17 from 4–5pm ET. I’ll be hosting an awesome Twitter party along with several other incredible authors with sports romances releasing today. No matter your sport of choice, we’ve got you covered. Bring your drinks and dancing shoes!



About Imaginary Lines:

Tamar Rosenfeld has been in love with New York Leopards linebacker Abraham Krasner since they were twelve years old. She’d always considered it destiny that they’d end up together…until Abe was drafted and she professed her feelings in a moment of blind excitement. The sting of his rejection was like nothing she’d ever felt before, and it’s nothing she’ll ever forget.

Older and wiser, Tamar has landed a dream job as a reporter for one of New York’s premier athletic websites. Determined to stop being the safe, boring girl she’s felt like for most of her life, Tamar makes a list of all the things she wants to do and see in her new city, and Getting Over Abraham is priority number one.

But destiny has finally chosen to interfere. Just as Tamar’s decided to move on, Abe’s realized she’s the only woman for him. When he confides the truth, Tamar has to decide if she can put her crush behind her, or take a chance on the very man who’s been holding her back all these years.

Read more about the New York Leopards in Rush Me andRunning Back, available now!

Discuss your favorite sexy sports heroes with us! Use the #CarinaSports hashtag on Twitter and join the party this Thursday, April 17 from 4–5pm ET.

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Harlequin Author Milestones: March and April 2014

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Congratulations to authors celebrating debuts and milestones with Harlequin in March and April 2014!

Debut Authors:

Her Wild Protector by Naomi Bellina
Night Games by Lisa Marie Perry
Beebo Brinker by Ann Bannon
Table for Two by Brandy Bruce
The Trouble with Honor by Julia London
Artifacts by Mary Anna Evans
Lesbian Pulp Fiction by Katherine V. Forrest
How Not to Be Starstruck by Portia MacIntosh
The Last Straw by Paul Gitsham
Ozark Sweetheart by Helen Gray
$10,000 in Small, Unmarked Puzzles by Parnell Hall
Three Women by March Hastings
A Lady’s Undoing by Lorelai Ryan
Liar, Liar by K.J. Larsen
Lord Dragon’s Conquest by Sharon Ashwood
The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow
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Saturday Excerpt: The Black Sheep’s Inheritance by Maureen Child

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Harlequin Desire’s famous family sagas are back with a brand-new miniseries, Dynasties: The Lassisters! When a Wyoming tycoon dies suddenly, the family business empire is thrown into turmoil. As they settle their late father’s affairs, the Lassiters fight for a place at the table—and find true love along the way… Dynasties: The Lassiters begins this month with book 1 The Black Sheep’s Inheritance by Maureen Child, plus a FREE ebook prequel Beauty and the Best Man.

Keep reading for an excerpt from The Black Sheep’s Inheritance and visit the Family Sagas page on to download a complete list of the rest of the Lassiters series and a family tree!

About the Book

Follow the money…into bed!

Estranged from his adoptive father, Sage Lassiter earned his own billions. But when J.D. Lassiter leaves a fortune to his private nurse in his will and cheats his own daughter of her rightful inheritance…Sage is enraged, to say the least. He’s sure nurse Colleen Falkner isn’t the innocent she appears. And he’s willing to go to any lengths to expose her…even seduction.

But using sex—crazed, incredible sex—to find out what she knows could backfire. Because Colleen is not what Sage expected. And like it or not, she’s about to demolish all the barriers he’s carefully constructed around his heart.


The lawyer’s office at the firm of Drake, Alcott and Whittaker was too crowded for Sage Lassiter’s tastes. He much preferred being out on his ranch, in the cold, crisp air of a Wyoming spring. Still, he had no choice but to attend the reading of his adoptive father’s will.

J.D. Lassiter had been dead only a couple of weeks and Sage was having a hard time coming to grips with it. Hell, he would have bet money that J.D. was far too stubborn to actually die. And now that he had, Sage was forced to live with the knowledge that now he would never have the chance to straighten things out between himself and the man who had raised him. Just like J.D. to go ahead and do something whether anyone else was ready for it or not. The old man had, once again, gotten the last word.

Sage couldn’t have said when the tension between him and J.D. had taken root, but he remembered it as an always-there kind of feeling. Nothing tangible. Nothing that he could point to and say: There. That was it. The beginning of the end. Instead, it was a slow disintegration of whatever might have been between them and it was beyond too late to think about it now. Old hurts, old resentments had no place in this room and nowhere to go even if he had let them take the forefront in his mind.
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Do You Believe in Love — or Lust — At First Sight?

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by Sarah Mayberry, author of Her Kind of Trouble (Harlequin Superromance)

Do you believe in love at first sight? It’s never happened to me, but I have a good friend who knew on the first date with her now-husband that she would marry him. She even went home that night and told her housemates as much. Sure enough, he asked her to marry him two weeks later. They have now been together for fifteen years, and have three children.

Vivian and Seth, the heroine and hero in my April Harlequin Superromance, Her Kind of Trouble, don’t experience love at first sight so much as lust at first sight. Deep down inside—maybe—they recognize that the attraction might be something more, but they’re both young and a bit reckless and the depth of their connection is, frankly, terrifying. So they do what comes naturally—ahem—then go their separate ways. The only snag in all of this is that Seth’s brother has just married Vivian’s sister, so they’re kind of destined to be a part of each other’s lives… Fortunately, Vivian soon leaves Australia for the US, in order to pursue a career in fashion. Phew. Potential family crisis averted!

Fast forward ten years, and they are both older, wiser and more seasoned in the ways of the world. But that buzz of attraction is still between them, and now that Vivian is home for good, there’s nothing to stop them from exploring it. Right? Wrong! Because Seth has an ex-girlfriend who is about to give birth to his child, and Vivian is well aware that even if she has changed, he is still the ne’er do well playboy he always was.

So maybe all that lust at first sight doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it should be left to die a slow, quiet death. Or maybe there’s a lot more beneath the surface than either Vivian or Seth is prepared to admit….

I had such a good time writing these two characters. Vivian is sassy and full of attitude, but also incredibly honest, and Seth is well aware that he’s no saint. They like each other a lot, and they’ve got this wild sexual chemistry going on… Suffice to say, it was a lot of fun for this writer to play with them!

I hope you get a chance to read Her Kind of Trouble, but in the meantime, I’d love to know if you believe in love at first sight. Do you think souls call out to each other, that sometimes it’s a matter of locking eyes across a crowded room, and that’s it, you’re gone? Or are you a bit more practical and cynical? Do tell!!

About the Book

It takes one to know one 

The moment Vivian Walker spies Seth Anderson she knows they’re a match made in hedonistic pleasure. And they both agree their one night together is all about fun, not forever.

Now, years later, Seth remains a favorite memory. Surely the sizzling chemistry has faded, though, right? Apparently not. Because he’s still sinfully attractive, and she likes the man he is. When he suddenly becomes a full-time dad to his newborn daughter, Vivian falls hard. Yet despite the responsibilities, he’s not a good bet for commitment. And she needs to guard her heart before she gets into trouble!

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Harlequin News Round Up: April 10, 2014

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This week on the blog, we’re sharing an exclusive interview with Brenda Novak, a Harlequin Medical Romance sale, the scoop on Harlequin Presents’ newest continuity series and more! Keep reading to find out all the Harlequin news….

Interview with Brenda Novak

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak recently visited Harlequin HQ and we took the opportunity to interview her about her career, her books, Whiskey Creek and her auction for Diabetes research. Watch our video interview with Brenda below, and don’t miss her latest Whiskey Creek novel Come Home to Me.

Step Into The Chatsfield…

The Chatsfield is the newest scandalous continuity series from Harlequin Presents! Click here to discover The Chatsfield and learn more about book one in the series, Sheikh’s Scandal by Lucy Monroe, including an interview with the author AND her characters!

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