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What Draws Carla Neggers Back to Swift River Valley?

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Some of Carla Neggers’s books, including the Sharpe & Donovan series, feature heart-pounding romantic suspense, with intricate plots that span the Atlantic. The Swift River Valley series, on the other hand, including That Night on Thistle Lane, Secrets of the Lost Summer, Cider Brook and now Echo Lake, takes place primarily in the charming and picturesque small-town setting of Swift River Valley, New England. As an author, what draws her back into the Swift River Valley novels time and again? Carla Neggers visits the Harlequin Blog to tell us!

by Carla Neggers, author of Echo Lake

The short answer is the characters, who one way or the other are changed by this beautiful part of New England. We have the Frosts, the Sloans and the O’Dunns, families with deep roots in little Knights Bridge, and we have newcomers like sexy ex-hockey player Dylan McCaffrey, enigmatic billionaire Noah Kendrick and irrepressible adventurer Samantha Bennett. In Echo Lake, Brody Hancock, a Diplomatic Security Service agent, returns to Knights Bridge, the hometown he hoped never to see again.

Knights Bridge feels like a real place to me, but it’s a fictional town located in the rolling hills and valleys of Western Massachusetts—where I grew up and still have family, in fact. Pretty Knights Bridge sits on the edge of the Quabbin Reservoir, created when four Swift River Valley towns were cleared out, dammed and flooded in the 1930s to provide drinking water for metropolitan Boston. It was one of the largest water projects in the world at the time. Long before we moved in, our family homestead was nearly razed for the reservoir, a history that fired my imagination even as a kid. I would climb a tree with pad and pen and look out at the Quabbin wilderness as I spun stories.

Setting a series in small-town New England is a natural for me, but there are always surprises from the families, friends and newcomers in Knights Bridge. As a writer, I love that. No one in this little town is unaffected by the ripple effects of the romances and adventures in the Swift River Valley stories! I look forward to writing the next one…whoever the characters are, and wherever they take us.

Want to know more about what you can expect from Echo Lake and the Swift River Valley series? We spoke to Carla Neggers’s editor Nicole Brebner to tell us more!

About Echo Lake:

In snowy Swift River Valley, unexpected romance is just around the corner…

Heather Sloan has landed her dream job—the renovation of Vic Scarlatti’s stately 1912 country home overlooking the icy waters of Echo Lake in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. It’s the perfect project for the family business, but for once, Heather is in charge.

Diplomatic Security Service agent Brody Hancock left Knights Bridge at eighteen, a few steps ahead of arrest and the wrath of Heather’s older brothers. Though Brody had never planned to return, Vic, a retired diplomat and friend, needs his help.

Staying at Vic’s guest house makes it impossible to avoid running into a Sloan at every turn—especially Heather. Seeing her again has affected Brody more than he wants to admit. But Heather is wary of Brody’s sudden interest in her, and she suspects there’s more to his homecoming than he’s letting on….

Set against the scenic backdrop of a New England winter, Echo Lake is a captivating tale of family, friends and the possibility of new love.

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February New Releases

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February is just around the corner, and you know what that means… Valentine’s Day is almost here. Whether you’re looking for something sweet or sizzling–or maybe even a little bit of both–we have a romance perfect for you. Keep reading to discover new releases from Julia London, Susan Mallery, Abby Green and more!

The Marriage Charm by Linda Lael Miller


Melody Nolan has recently found success as a jewelry designer, and her work is the focus of her life. She’s not exactly unhappy, but she wants more. She’s always been attracted to Spence Hogan, the local chief of police, and there’s something about Melody his heart can’t ignore.

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The Devil Takes a Bride by Julia London


Grace Cabot and her sisters await the shame of losing high status and fine luxuries upon the death of the Earl of Beckington. Unless Grace’s wicked plot to seduce a wealthy viscount into marriage goes off without a single hitch. But once a stolen embrace with the wrong man leads her to be discovered in the arms of Jeffrey, the Earl of Merryton, her plan takes a most unexpected—and scorching—twist.

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The Originals: The Rise by Julie Plec


Arriving in New Orleans in 1722, Original vampire siblings Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson believe they’ve escaped their dangerous past. But the city is lawless, a haven for witches and werewolves unwilling to share territory. The siblings are at their mercy…especially after Klaus meets the beautiful and mysterious Vivianne.

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New Free Online Read: “Secret Designs on the Billionaire” by Charlene Sands

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Coming face-to-face with an old enemy turned Hollywood superstar could cost Lisa Mills everything, including her heart, in a new free online read by Charlene Sands! “Secret Designs on the Billionaire” starts today on, and is connected to Charlene’s new Moonlight Beach Bachelors series about three men living in paradise…and longing for more.

1501_hp_OR3About the Story:

Working with an old-enemy-turned-billionaire heartthrob could cost this former plain Jane everything, including her heart…

For Lisa Mills, getting a design commission at one of the swanky Moonlight Beach mansions could make her career. It’s too bad that when she shows up, Matt Sullivan—Hollywood heartthrob and her old high school enemy—opens the door. Luckily, he doesn’t even recognize her—since graduating, Lisa’s gone from plain Jane to perfect ten. Soon Matt’s even asking her out on a date—ironic, given the way he used to torment her. Can Lisa keep her cool on the job—and keep her identity a secret—as temperatures rise and passion takes over?


What were the odds that Matthew “Maverick” Sullivan would come back from the dead to haunt her again? But here he was, standing in the foyer of superstar Dylan McKay’s Moonlight Beach mansion, and Lisa Mills couldn’t believe her eyes.

Okay, so Matthew hadn’t really been dead, but dead as far as she was concerned. For a corpse, he was awfully good-looking, better looking than she remembered from high school. His shoulders were rock-solid, his heart-melting eyes were an even deeper blue, as if that was possible, and he might’ve even grown an inch or two past six feet since twelfth grade.

“Thanks, Joanna,” he said to the housekeeper who’d let Lisa in. “So you’re the artist?”

He didn’t recognize her. Not too many people from her high school days did anymore. Back then, she’d been known as “Cookie” McDonald. That kid who’d been bullied and badgered was also a corpse and she wasn’t going to dig her up, not even for the former college-All-American-turned-movie-star, Matt Sullivan. “I’m Lisa Mills from Beanstalk Designs. I’ve been commissioned by Mr. McKay.”

“Right,” he said, rubbing his chin. His gaze lazily rolled over her body in one fluid sweep, taking in her wavy blonde hair and the snug fit of her size six denim dress and then sliding down her legs to her smooth leather boots. Beanstalk was her baby and she had to portray herself as fashionable and hip, yet businesslike and smart. This commission from Dylan McKay could skyrocket her career. “I didn’t realize you were starting so soon.”

“Mr. McKay wanted me to start on the first of the month,” she informed him.

He was the houseguest who’d be overseeing the project? When Dylan McKay had offered her the job, he’d told her he’d be filming overseas so his good friend would supervise the work. Dylan hadn’t told her who that friend was. At the time, it didn’t seem important. But wow. Was fate really that cruel?

* * *

Click to continue reading “Secret Designs on the Billionaire“, and look for book one of Moonlight Beach Bachelors, Her Forbidden Cowboy, from Harlequin Desire.

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Love Shared: Never All or Nothing

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by Karina Cooper, author of Transmuted (Carina Press)

Attention: There are mild series spoilers in this post, though no spoilers for Transmuted. If you have not read the series, be warned!

9781426899485-COVOne day not so long ago, I was grazing at the informational feast that is my Twitter stream when a comment about love triangles caught my eye. I can’t recall the exact words, but it went something along the lines of, “Why can’t a love triangle ever end with all three participants working it out?” It got me thinking.

Why can’t a love triangle end up with all three settling in? Not just romantically, that doesn’t always work, but do all love triangles have to end with one person getting the boot—or, worse, killed? (Lesson for you: when torn between two partners, encourage Thunderdome. Two lovers enter, one lover leaves.)

In Transmuted, the final book in the St. Croix Chronicles, we check in with misbehaving adventuress Cherry St. Croix. She is no stranger to love triangles. Although if you were to ask her, she’d declare that this time, there is no triangle. There is her, there are the two men she loves, and so, what? She’s never been the sort to play the game expected of her, has she?

Cue Oliver Ashmore, her guardian turned tutor in all things alchemical, and Micajah Hawke. Once a ringmaster of a bloody menagerie, now he is a stray with nothing to offer—not that this should stop him. Both are men of inhuman power, both learned, and both are intimately familiar with our heroine.

Why pick just one when both are important to her?

Cherry St. Croix has never been the type to fall for zero-sum fallacies. Just as she could walk between two worlds, she’s exactly the type to demand exactly what she wants. And what she wants, dear reader, is to keep and protect all that she loves. Society may not approve of her unwillingness to turn her back on one man for the sake of the other, but that’s never stopped her.

Can she keep everyone that she loves safe? Will she manage to have her cake and eat it, too?

Well, let me spoil this much for you: the way this particular love triangle is resolved may not be as drastic or as bloody—wait, no, I take that back. It’s bloody. But it may not be as terminal as commonly expected.

I like to think that killing off one corner of a triangle is way too easy.

So with this final book, Cherry’s grand adventures in the fog-ridden streets of Queen Victoria’s London comes to a close. Everything that she does now is the result of her past choices, and the choices that she must make now won’t be easy. Even so, sometimes the easiest option isn’t at all fulfilling.

I hope that you find contentment at the end. I’d be very happy if so.

About Transmuted:

Book six of the St. Croix Chronicles

In this final installment of Cherry St. Croix’s adventures, only one thing could compel the disgraced countess to return to Society—the threat of immortality.

All is not peaceful in the wake of the Midnight Menagerie’s ruin. Although the Karakash Veil has been forced to flee its stronghold, the mysterious head of the criminal organization is not content to fade away.

Above the foggy drift, a priceless diamond vanishes. In the dangerous Underground, a murderous rampage demands retribution. The hunt for the mastermind behind these misdeeds sends me back to Society—and into the unforgiving embrace of the world I’d left behind.

Nothing is what it seems. Enemies, allies—and a man who struggles with a nature even devotion cannot tame. Torn between the scars of the past and fragile new beginnings, I must create balance in the world I have chosen—and with the people I have come to love. The game has changed; should the Veil achieve the immortality it craves, I will have nowhere left to run.

Where to Find Karina





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Author Debuts & Milestones for January 2015

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These authors had something extra to celebrate this new year’s — the publication of their debut and milestone books with Harlequin! Congratulations to the milestone author for January 2015:

Debut Books:

The Last Heir Of Monterrato
by Andie Brock
A Plain and Simple Christmas by Amy Clipston
The Baby That Changed Her Life by Louisa Heaton
Calculated Risk by Heather Woodhaven
Cowgirls Don’t Cry by Silver James
The Other Child by Charlotte Link
Dead, Without a Stone to Tell It by Jen J. Danna and Ann Vanderlaan
Undercurrent by Sara K. Parker
Prohibited! by Delancey Stewart
A Meditation on Murder by Robert Thorogood
The Sacrifice by Mike Uden

5 Books:

The Gunslinger and the Heiress by Kathryn Albright
Transmuted by Karina Cooper
The Russian’s Ultimatum by Michelle Smart
Wound Up by Kelli Ireland

10 Books:

Snapped by Christine d’Abo
Fatal Scandal by Marie Force
Buried by Elizabeth Goddard

30 Books:

A Child To Bind Them by Lucy Clark

35 Books:

A Cowboy of Her Own by Marin Thomas
Bride for a Knight by Margaret Moore

40 Books:

Never Trust a Cowboy by Kathleen Eagle
One Hot Desert Night by Kristi Gold

90 Books:

Inherited by Her Enemy by Sara Craven
In My Dreams by Muriel Jensen

115 Books:

Dogwood Hill by Sherryl Woods

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Saturday Excerpt: Fonseca’s Fury by Abby Green

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The jungle is about to get even hotter when Abby Green brings Harlequin Presents heat to the wilds of Brazil in her latest romance! Keep reading for an excerpt from Fonseca’s Fury, on sale now…

About the Book:

It’s hot in the jungle… 

The last time Luca Fonseca saw Serena DePiero, he ended up in a jail cell. The Brazilian billionaire has since clawed back his reputation, but he’s never forgotten her. So when Luca discovers Serena’s working for his charity, his anger reignites!

Serena has changed. Finally in control of her life, she refuses to let Luca intimidate her. She’ll deal with whatever her new boss throws at her—from a rain-forest trek to the social jungle of Rio! But she can’t handle the passion that flares hotter than Luca’s fury.

Especially when it threatens to consume them both!


Serena DePiero sat in the plush ante-room and looked at the name on the opposite wall, spelled out in matt chrome lettering, and reeled.

Roseca Industries and Philanthropic Foundation.

Renewed horror spread through her. It had only been on the plane to Rio de Janeiro, when she’d been reading the extra information on the charity given to her by her boss, that she’d become aware that it was part of a much bigger organisation. An organisation run and set up by Luca Fonseca. The name Roseca was apparently an amalgamation of his father and mother’s surnames. And Serena wasn’t operating on a pay grade level high enough to require her to be aware of this knowledge before now.

Except here she was, outside the CEO’s office, waiting to be called in to see the one man on the planet who had every reason to hate her guts. Why hadn’t he sacked her months ago, as soon as she’d started working for him? Surely he must have known? An insidious suspicion took root: perhaps he’d orchestrated this all along, to lull her into a false sense of security before letting her crash spectacularly to the ground.

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Why We Love Dogwood Hill by Sherryl Woods

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Sherryl Woods’s latest Chesapeake Shores novel Dogwood Hill is a New York Times bestseller going on three weeks now — and that shouldn’t be surprising to the thousands of fans of this beloved, heartwarming series. It’s not only readers who have a special place int their hearts for Chesapeake Shores, either. We spoke to Sherryl’s editor Margaret Marbury, Vice President of Women’s Fiction Editorial at Harlequin about what Dogwood Hill means to her:

Have you discovered Dogwood Hill and Chesapeake Shores? What do you love about these books?

About Dogwood Hill:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sherryl Woods tests the strength of the beloved O’Briens and proves that love and family can always triumph!

When former pro football quarterback Aidan Mitchell comes to Chesapeake Shores to take a high school coaching job, he’s embraced by the town—especially the O’Briens. But Aidan has a secret that could alter all their lives.

For wounded Liz March, who’s trying for a fresh start after a devastating betrayal, taking a chance on Aidan may be more than she can handle. Her heart, however, refuses to listen to her head. But just when forever seems within reach, Aidan’s secret threatens to change everything.

Does this tempting stranger who’s made her feel alive have the power to convince her to look beyond the past and reach for the future?

Order your copy of Dogwood Hill wherever books are sold: Amazon | Barnes and NobleBooks-A-Million | Goodreads | Google Play | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo |

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Giveaway: Win the Ultimate Night Out!

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Looking for a night out? Now is your chance to win! Enter our poll below and tell us all about your ultimate night out. You can win the grand prize of a $250 Open Table giftcard or one of ten copies of Victoria Dahl’s exciting new release, Flirting with DisasterDon’t pass up a chance for a night out with the girls…enter now!

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Make This Your Best Year

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by Gina Fotopoulos, Team

How are those New Year’s resolutions panning out? Hitting the gym? Quit smoking? Drinking less? Dating more?

We all know how it goes… the ball drops, we cheer and drink champagne and tell our loved ones that this year is going to be “the” year – the year we turn a new leaf, start over, become the dazzling star we are destined to be. New Year, new you…right? So why is it that we quickly fall back into our same old patterns and abandon those resolutions before they even get started? We’re here to help.

1501_cycle4_fe_communityFor starters, being realistic about our goals is half the battle – and making them fun and achievable makes them feel like less of a chore. So we’re here to present you with a fun and exciting challenge that’s right up your alley: The 2015 Reading Challenges! We know you love to read, so why not take it to the next level? You’ll be doing the thing you love to do and get to share your love of reading with fellow readers in the Harlequin Community.

Each of these Challenges runs the entire year. You can read any type of book you like. If a book fits into more than one Challenge you may use it as many times as it fits, and you may participate in one, some, or all of the Challenges. Also, you get to comment on the books you are reading in our discussion forums and find out what other members are reading.

Reading and making new friends? Now that’s a resolution we are certain you’ll keep.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? How are they coming along? Which Reading Challenge will you be participating in?


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Celebrate Romance at the “What Is Love?” Romance Conference

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by Amy Loosemore, Team

Are you fascinated by the romance genre and in the Washington, DC, area next month? We have news about an exciting event for you. Harlequin is sponsoring “What Is Love? Romance Fiction in the Digital Age,” an international, multimedia conference at the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress February 10 and 11 — and it’s open to the public!

Events include a screening of the documentary film Love Between the Covers directed by Laurie Kahn of the The Popular Romance Project; panels of authors, scholars, bloggers and publishing professionals (including Carina Press Editorial Director Angela James); and special author appearances including New York Times best-selling authors Robyn Carr and Brenda Jackson. You can also attend sessions featuring writing, cover design, online stations and book giveaways.

And did we mention the conference and film screening are free?! All you have to do is register at Registration is now open, so don’t miss your opportunity to attend this fascinating event since space is limited.

To learn more about the conference and events, read the press release and check out the list of panels.

So, anyone out there attending? What are you most looking forward to?

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