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Halloween Paranormal Book Giveaway!

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by Amy Loosemore, Harlequin.com Team

Happy Halloween! Since today is all about thrills and chills — and candy :) — we have a spooky treat up for our readers today: a chance to win this awesome set of spine-chilling, pulse-pounding paranormal books!

Prize pack includes:

halloween giveaway

Want to get your hands on these otherwordly reads? To enter to win, leave a comment below telling us YOUR favorite scary book or movie.

Contest closes November 3 at 11:59pm ET. One a winner by random draw will be selected and announced here on November 4. Value $39 USD. Open to residents of the US and Canada, excluding Quebec. For full official rules, click here.

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A Cynster Christmas in Snowy Scotland!

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by Stephanie Laurens, author of By Winter’s Light

In writing the new Cynster novel, BY WINTER’S LIGHT, I had fabulous fun researching the festive traditions the Scots followed in 1837, traditions many of you still follow today.

Before Christmas trees became widely accepted, the tradition of decorating with fir and holly–and mistletoe–was a well-established custom. The most common places to hang or place freshly-cut boughs were on mantelpieces, on tables and over open doorways.

Carolling, also known as wassailing, was very popular. Carollers were rewarded with a tot of wassail–spiced ale–at each house they entertained at, to help keep the icy cold at bay as they walked to the next house. Egg-nog was a common festive drink shared with others, like a winter punch.

You’ve almost certainly seen the modern version of sun cakes. Sun cakes were baked in a ring, with lines marked on the upper surface radiating outward from the hole in the center. The lines signified the sun’s rays, and eating the cake on or about the winter solstice was intended to call the sun back into people’s lives. But…the Scots didn’t do cakes all that well, so they converted the cake to shortbread. Most people today think the radial lines are simply for dividing the large circular shortbread into wedges–but no! By eating that shortbread in the dead of winter, you are calling the sun back into your life.

Those are just a few of the customs that appear in BY WINTER’S LIGHT. I hope you enjoy immersing yourself in the true delights of the holidays. Such a point in time seemed perfect to pivot from the tales of Cynsters past, to the upcoming tales of the next generation. Enjoy!

Readers, what are your favorite Christmas traditions?

About By Winter’s Light:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to romantic Scotland to usher in a new generation of Cynsters in an enchanting tale of mistletoe, magic and love.

It’s frosty December and six Cynster families come together at snowbound Casphairn Manor with members of their households to celebrate the season in true Cynster fashion—and where Cynsters gather, love is never far behind.

The festive occasion brings together Daniel Crosbie, tutor to Lucifer Cynster’s sons, and Claire Meadows, widow and governess to Gabriel Cynster’s daughter. Daniel and Claire have met before and the embers of an unexpected passion smolder between them.

However, Claire, once bitten, twice shy, believes a second marriage is not in her stars. Yet Daniel is determined. He’s seen the kind of love the Cynsters share, and Claire is the lady with whom he dreams of sharing his life. Assisted by a bevy of Cynsters—innate matchmakers every one—Daniel strives to persuade Claire that trusting him with her hand and her heart is her right path to happiness.

Claire is increasingly drawn to Daniel and despite her misgivings, their relationship deepens. But then catastrophe strikes, and by winter’s light, she learns that love—true love—is worth any risk, any price.

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November New Releases

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The spooky season of October is coming to an end, and now we’re gearing up for colder weather! Are you ready for ice skating, picturesque snowy scenery and of course the holiday season? Or maybe you’re just looking for something to read while staying toasty and warm indoors. Either way, we have November books to keep you company as the temperature drops, including Christmas books from Susan Wiggs and Brenda Novak!

Candlelight Christmas by Susan Wiggs

candlelightChristmasMIRA

Logan O’Donnell is determined to create the perfect Christmas for his son, Charlie. The entire clan arrives to spend the holidays in Willow Lake, and one of the guests is newcomer Darcy Fitzgerald. Between the snowy silence of the winter woods, and toasty moments by a crackling fire, their two lonely hearts collide.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/AKZ5xt

 

By Winter’s Light by Stephanie Laurens

ByWintersLightMIRA

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to romantic Scotland to usher in a new generation of Cynsters in an enchanting tale of mistletoe, magic, and love.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/QkP4Hs

 

A Seaside Christmas by Sherryl Woods

aseasidechristmasMIRA

As the only child of a single mom, Jenny Collins wanted nothing more than to be part of a large, rambunctious family like the O’Briens. Now, after years in Nashville as an established songwriter, Jenny’s drawn back to Chesapeake Shores and Caleb Green, the singer who broke her heart, has followed her to town, determined to win her back.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/kElEiB

 

Stonebrook Cottage by Carla Neggers

stonebrookcottageMIRA

Kara Galway thought moving home to Texas after years in New England would put her life back in perspective. Then, the children of the new governor, Kara’s best friend, Allyson Stockwell, show up unannounced at Kara’s home in Austin. It’s clear the children are scared out of their wits — and hiding something.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/sHaXcc

 

The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak

theheartofchristmasHQN

Eve Harmon has always enjoyed Christmas, but this year it reminds her of everything she doesn’t have. There’s no one in the area she could even imagine as a husband–until a handsome stranger comes to town. Eve’s definitely attracted to him, and he seems to have the same reaction to her. But his darkly mysterious past could ruin Eve’s happily ever after…

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/9uVHz6

 

Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery

christmason4thstreetHQN

Noelle Perkins just got a second chance at life, and she intends to make the most of it. That’s why she’s opening her own store in Fool’s Gold, California. The Christmas Attic celebrates everything that’s magical about her favorite season. Business is booming, and as a bonus, gorgeous army doctor Gabriel Boylan has offered to help out during the holiday rush.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/DBHDI3

 

Wyoming Strong by Diana Palmer

wyomingstrongHQN

Wolf Patterson and Sara Brandon are archenemies from ages ago, but mischievous fate has brought the tall rancher with the pale blue eyes together with the dark-haired beauty—on nearby Wyoming and Texas ranches. Will love be the spark they need to create what they both want the most…a family?

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/FhCHTC

 

Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne

snowangelcoveHQN

Nothing short of a miracle can restore Eliza Hayward’s Christmas cheer. The job Eliza pinned her dreams on has gone up in smoke and now she’s stuck in an unfamiliar, if breathtaking, small town. Rescuing Eliza is pure instinct for tech genius Aidan Caine. And while putting the renovation of his lakeside guest lodge in Eliza’s hands, he sees how quickly he could fall for her.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/TYn8yh

 

Christmas with a SEAL by Tawny Weber

christmaswiththesealHarlequin Blaze

Silversmith Frankie Silvera has lost her creative mojo. And she knows how to get it back—by getting her sexy on with a certain hot sailor. Navy SEAL Phillip Banks is the prince of protocol. But after his last mission went horribly off-course, all of that control has dissipated. Now he’s at the mercy of one very determined female who is pulling out all the stops on Operation Christmas.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/wSc2BH

 

A Beaumont Christmas Wedding by Sarah M. Anderson

abeaumontchristmasweddingHarlequin Desire

Public relations whiz Matthew Beaumont won’t let scandal ruin his brother’s Christmas wedding. Yet scandal is Whitney Maddox’s middle name. He grudgingly allows the outrageous child star turned horse trainer to stay in the wedding party…as long as she behaves herself. But soon he’s the one misbehaving with this irresistible maid of honor.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/z9rMwT

 

Jingle Spells by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Rhonda Nelson, Kira Sinclair, and Andrea Laurence

jinglespellsHarlequin Nocturne

When it comes to love, the magical Evergreens know that sometimes you have to play a little naughty to get exactly what—or who—you want from Santa. Celebrate the holidays with Evergreen siblings Cole, Ethan, Dash and Belle in this enchanting collection from New York Times bestselling authors Vicki Lewis Thompson and Rhonda Nelson, Kira Sinclair and Andrea Laurence.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/4s2DAx

 

Crossfire Christmas by Julie Miller

crossfirechristmasHarlequin Intrigue

With his life bleeding out from bullet wounds and a car crash, Charles Nash’s best option is to kidnap the innocent nurse who stops to help him. At gunpoint, the jaded DEA undercover agent offers Teresa Rodriguez a desperate deal: if she keeps him alive long enough to find out who’s blown his cover and set him up to die, she’ll be home for Christmas.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/LaOwRz

 

Wish Upon a Snowflake by Christine Merrill, Linda Skye, and Elizabeth Rolls

wishuponasnowflakeHarlequin Historical

Discover Christmas dreams coming true and three very different women discovering the true meaning of the holiday season in these three festive stories by Christine Merrill , Linda Skye and Elizabeth Rolls.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/8yKxJ1

 

 

Cowboy Under the Mistletoe by Linda Goodnight

cowboyunderthemistletoeLove Inspired

It’s been nine years since Jake Hamilton broke Allison Buchanon’s heart and left town. But she’s never been able to forget the high school boy she secretly loved. Now Jake’s come home to care for his ailing grandmother, and Allison’s family will do anything to prevent a rekindled romance.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/y0SIyf

 

 

Talon by Julie Kagawa

talonHarlequin TEEN

Ember may be a dragon, but she wants to live the teen experience. Destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. Meanwhile, Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey—and nothing is certain about Ember Hill.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/bLqovE

 

Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout

stonecoldtouchHarlequin TEEN

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is off-limits thanks to the powers of her soul-stealing kiss. But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/TrP3C4

 

Her Holiday Man by Shannon Stacey

herholidaymanCarina Press

After a financial scandal sent her ex-husband to prison, Christina Forrester is left raising her young son. Budgets, coupons, lawn care—you name it, she’s learning to do it all on her own. Well, almost on her own—she’d be lost without Gail Broughton, the kind widow across the street. But when Gail’s son comes home, Christina’s vow to never trust a man again is put to the test.

Coming Soon ► http://goo.gl/2XMxJA

 

Fair Play by Josh Lanyon

fairplayCarina Press

Setting up house with his new lover was tricky before arson landed his former radical father in the guest bedroom. Meanwhile, a serial killer insists he will only make his confession to Elliot, putting added strain on Elliot’s still fragile relationship with Tucker.

Coming Soon ► http://goo.gl/P3Z4Lz

 

 

Captivated by Megan Hart and Tiffany Reisz

captivatedCOSMOPOLITAN Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin

Double the passion—and seduction—as New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart and international bestselling author Tiffany Reisz weave two provocative tales about power, bad-boy lovers and secret desires!

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/IbCBOz

 

 

 

 

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More Than Just Good Friends + Giveaway!

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by Sarah Morgan, author of Maybe This Christmas

I love friends-to-lovers stories. I love the slow build of tension and that moment when the relationship shifts and changes into something different.

In MAYBE THIS CHRISTMAS, the third book in my O’Neil Brothers series, the hero and heroine have been friends their whole lives. When a sudden flurry of winter visitors descends on the beautiful winter wonderland of Snow Crystal Resort in Vermont, single dad Tyler and his best friend, Brenna, find the constraints of that friendship tested to the limits.

Brenna has loved Tyler for as long as she can remember, but she knows he doesn’t see her that way.

Brenna is too important to Tyler for him to want to risk their friendship. He’s afraid of crossing that line and threatening everything. It’s a gamble he’s not willing to take. Mess up a relationship with a lifelong friend and you’ve lost something important and irreplaceable, and heartthrob Tyler has never made a commitment to a woman.

I love the relationship these two have. Brenna is one of the few people who can keep up with him on the ski slopes and she shares his passion for the outdoors. She is an unofficial member of his family, her history closely entwined with his. And she is one of the few people he talks to. I love this scene, early in the story, where he’s asking her advice on how to talk to his teenage daughter, Jess.

“Do you fancy a quick drink? I need to talk about sex.”

“You—what?” She stumbled, and he shot out a hand and steadied her, his grip hard and strong.

“Careful. You’re clumsy when you’re not concentrating.” He let go of her arm. “I realized I have no idea how to talk to Jess about sex, and I want to work out what I’m going to say before I have to say it. I don’t want to fumble like I did tonight over the other stuff.”

He wanted to talk about Jess.

Her knees felt as if she’d downed a bottle of vodka. “What other stuff?”

“It doesn’t matter, but it got me thinking.”

She was thinking, too, and she wished she wasn’t because those thoughts revolved around him naked. “Thinking about what?”

“For a start, at what age are you supposed to talk to a kid about sex? What age were you when you talked to your mom?”

“We didn’t talk about stuff like that.”

“Never? So how did you—?”

“I can’t remember!” Feeling as if she was being strangled, she unzipped her jacket. She and Tyler had talked about everything over the years, but never this. As far as she was concerned, he couldn’t have picked a more uncomfortable subject.

As a medal-winning downhill skier, Tyler is used to risking his neck on icy, near-vertical slopes. But could this be the Christmas he finally takes the biggest risk of all? I hope you’ll pick up MAYBE THIS CHRISTMAS and find out!

In the meantime, tell me one thing you love most about the holiday season. For me it’s gathering with family and friends (and buying the tree!).

Sarah

xxxx

About Maybe This Christmas:

maybethischristmas“Uplifting, sexy and warm, Sarah Morgan’s O’Neil Brothers series is perfection.”—Jill Shalvis, New York Times bestselling author

This winter, ex-skiing champion, reformed heartbreaker and single dad Tyler O’Neil has only one mission—making sure his daughter, Jess, has the best Christmas ever. The fact that his best friend, Brenna, is also temporarily moving into his chalet at the overbooked Snow Crystal resort is a delicious distraction he’s simply going to have to ignore. Theirs is the one relationship he’s never ruined, and he’s not about to start now.

Ski pro Brenna Daniels knows all about the perils of unrequited love—she’s been in love with Tyler for years. But living with him is absolute torture… How can she concentrate on being his friend when he’s sleeping in the room next door? Then when Tyler kisses Brenna, suddenly the relationship she’s always dreamed of feels so close she could almost touch it. Could this be the Christmas her dreams of a happy-ever-after finally come true?

Giveaway! Do you want to win a copy of Maybe This Christmas? Head on over to the comments and let us know what you love about the holiday season to win. Contest closes November 9 and a winner by random draw will be selected November 10. Open to residents of the US and Canada, excluding Quebec. For full official rules, click here.

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Saturday Excerpt: Blamed: A Blood Money Novel by Edie Harris (Carina Press)

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Edie Harris’ Blamed: A Blood Money Novel is definitely an exciting must-read! This romantic suspense is full of spies, assassins…and revenge. Read on to get your sneak peek at this thrilling new book.

About Blamed: A Blood Money Novel:

blamedBorn into a long line of spies, sanctioned killers and covert weapons developers, Beth Faraday carried out her first hit-for-hire when she was still a teenager.

That part of her life—the American spy royalty part—ended one year ago, with a job gone wrong in Afghanistan. The collateral damage she caused with a single shot was unfathomable and, for Beth, unforgivable. She’s worked hard to build a new life for herself, far away from the family business.

But someone, somewhere, hasn’t forgotten what Beth did in Kabul. And they want revenge.

As the Faraday clan bands together to defend Beth and protect their legacy, Beth is forced to flee her new home with the unlikeliest of allies—MI6 agent Raleigh Vick, the only man she’s ever loved. And the one she thought she’d killed in the desert

Pre-order your copy today from Carina Press as well as major online retailers including:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google | iBooks

***

Beth had almost had herself convinced, before this very moment, that the man on whom she trained her gun wasn’t a spy. She’d almost believed that those little zings down her spine whenever they’d nodded a greeting to one another had been basic attraction, not like recognizing like. Perhaps the quirked half-smiles when they ran into one another at the Starbucks two blocks over weren’t because Beth had caught him following her, but merely because they were in the same place at the same time, again. Maybe when he had come into the Institute gift shop to buy the print of the painting that even now hung haphazardly in his living room…maybe it had been pure coincidence, when he’d seen her walk past the shop on the way to her office and waved to her through the glass.

And all the nights she had sat curled in the cozy armchair in front of her window, staring out across the street instead of focusing on curatorial paperwork, and seeing him quietly staring back at her? Maybe it had been a meet-cute waiting to happen, and her life was less Thriller Drama and more Romantic Comedy. Maybe her neighbor really was a normal, handsome, suit-wearing thirty-something: Preston Barnes, Commercial Real Estate Developer, just like the card she’d glimpsed when he’d dropped his wallet one Saturday morning at the nearby Whole Foods.

Commercial real estate developers, as far as she knew, didn’t make a habit of bleeding out in their bathtubs, or holding a gun on their neighbors. “Neighbor,” she intoned wryly. “How are you this fine evening?”

Continue reading »

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Our Top 5 Motorcycle Men

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by Amy Loosemore, Harlequin.com Team

Author Jill Sorensen introduces the Dirty Eleven MC in Riding Dirty, a new red-hot book from Harlequin HQN on sale now. In honor of its release, we’re taking a look at our Top 5 Motorcycle Men:

1) Cole “Shank” Shepherd in Riding Dirty. Here’s how Mia, the heroine of Riding Dirty, describes Cole the first time she sees him:

The stark prison photograph she’d pored over the night before hadn’t done him justice. With his chin up and his head tilted to the side, displaying the spider’s web tattoo on his neck, he’d resembled an ordinary white male thug. All hard edges and hooded eyes. He was better looking in person. Taller and more intimidating. She registered his towering height along with the span of his broad shoulders, his bulky biceps and ink-sleeved arms. He wore a plain T-shirt with no leather jacket for protection; maybe he’d left it with his bike. Faded Levi’s covered his long legs. His scuffed motorcycle boots were almost Frankensteinian.

She lifted her gaze to his face. His eyes were the color of amber ale, pale brown and a little bloodshot. He had dark hair, cut razor-short on the sides and longer on top. His jaw was angular, his nose had seen better days, and his mouth was a sardonic slash. There was a sharpness to him that extended beyond his features.

Mia felt a jolt of unease. She hadn’t expected him to be so attractive. He was the kind of man who would draw female attention wherever he went, based on his build alone. Some women were excited by danger. They probably went crazy for his tattoos and checkered past, too. Mia was disturbed by her own lack of repulsion. Executing her plan was going to be even more difficult than she’d imagined.

2) Charlie Hunnam in Sons of Anarchy. His character Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller is a true bad boy that we can’t help but root for. Continue reading »

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The Traveling Storyteller

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By Lois Richer, author of North Country Dad (Love Inspired)

I grew up in a small Canadian prairie town, the second of four daughters. My mother did it all in an age when it wasn’t fashionable to be a working mom. She sewed beautiful clothes for us, baked, did all manner of handwork, volunteered in the community, ran a business, maintained the accounts and purchased stock without missing a beat—the perfect heroine. My father, an electrician, worked long hours to electrify farms that were being settled in our area. He was a model of “doing the job perfectly.” My happy, carefree childhood allowed me to indulge in the fantasy world of fiction. Books took me from my home on journeys all over the world.

As I grew older, romance featured prominently in my reading. It seems natural now that my stories of women discovering faith and love would lead me to Love Inspired. Reading taught me that stories of faith and love could cheer, inspire, teach and bless. That’s been confirmed in the many letters, emails and comments I’ve received. It’s my joy to tell the never-ending story of God’s immeasurable love for His children in almost fifty books.

As a child, reading whetted my appetite for travel. That love persists, so my husband and I indulge it whenever possible. We’ve been around the horn of South America, to Iceland, Greenland, across the U.S. and through Europe and Asia. Last year we visited Croatia and Greece, fulfilling a long-held dream. We’ve seen some amazing things. But in all my travels I’ve discovered that people, wherever they live, are essentially the same. They want to love and be loved. They want to be free to live in peace. If we listen closely, everyone has a story. Yet each story is unique, just waiting to be told. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of telling stories. There’s so much to share.

Traveling is the reason I recently caught a bug—the quilting bug. The lower level in my home has been converted to a project room. Fabric in every shade and tone bulges from nooks and crannies, waiting to be cut, sewn and transformed into something that can bring joy and comfort. The more that I see possibilities and choices abound, the more I realize that quilting is a lot like traveling and writing. There’s always another fabric, another place, another story to be explored. The pleasures of quilting and the joy of discovering another special place add to the fun as I pen a new tale about a couple’s struggle to discover God’s love.

The last book in my Northern Lights miniseries resulted from a trip to northern Canada, on the edge of the Arctic. North Country Dad is a story of decisions and changes. It’s about a man’s journey to learn how to become a loving father to five-year-old twins and a woman’s road to reliance on God to provide her heart’s desire. Since this is the last book in the miniseries, I’m saying goodbye to the amazing beauty of our untouched North with all of its wildlife wonders, a place where you can truly feel at one with God’s creation.

But don’t worry, I’m going on a new trip. For my next miniseries I’m roaming through the foothills of the Rockies, to the tiny town of Buffalo Gap, where cowboys still ride the open range. It’s a place where love brings pain and joy, and where faith is tested. Rest assured, there will be quilts.

I hope you’ll join me on my next voyage to discover love and faith in action.

 * * *

 Do you like to travel? What is the most inspiring place you’ve visited?

About North Country Dad:

The Mommy Plan

Widower Grant Adams loves his twin stepdaughters, but what does he know about pigtails and dresses and being a full-time dad? With his new job in a remote Canadian center for troubled boys, Grant needs a good nanny. But when he meets Dahlia Wheatley, who’s loving, patient and kind to his girls, he realizes the twins need more than a sitter—they need a mother. With her own harrowing past, Dahlia is as reluctant to get emotionally involved as Grant is. Yet his startling proposition just may form a happy new family of four.

Northern Lights: On the edge of the Arctic, love awaits

This post originally appeared in Simply Books magazine.

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“I love a good plot twist!”: Michelle Madow on Diamonds in the Rough

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Diamonds_BannerH

by Michelle Madow, author of Diamonds in the Rough (Harlequin TEEN)

I love a good plot twist! Nothing’s better than the initial shock that comes after reaching a huge plot twist, and then putting the pieces together to realize how it was all set into motion. I had a blast writing the scenes in Diamonds in the Rough where huge secrets are uncovered, and hope that readers of the book experience that amazing thrill of putting the pieces together to see how everything led up to these major secrets being revealed.

Here is a (spoiler-free) list of my three favorite books with secrets and twists that I never saw coming!

1) The Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis—this trilogy had twists within twists! At the end of the first book, a major twist was revealed that left me anxiously awaiting the second book. Then, at the end of the second book, everything was turned around in an incredibly shocking way that made so much sense, and pulled the trilogy together in the third book. When I think “crazy twists,” this is definitely the first trilogy that comes to mind.

2) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith—this is one of my favorite contemporary romances. I loved how it happened “in real time” and even though the story only took place over a day, the love story felt so natural and real. There was a major emotional twist in the second half of the book that surprised me and pulled everything together perfectly.

3) Time Riders by Alex Scarrow—I love time travel books, because playing with time allows for so many cool twists in a story. This is a nine-book series, and book nine should be releasing soon. This series starts with fundamentals that are set in place from the beginning, but a few books later, a huge twist is revealed that changes everything. It was totally unexpected, and caught me completely off-guard (in a good way.)

I hope you enjoy the secrets that are revealed in Diamonds in the Rough!

About Diamonds in the Rough:

diamondAll-access doesn’t mean no problems.

The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah’s YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganza—with complimentary enemies on the side. Dangerous flirtations don’t keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters’ archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusion—and turn their lives upside down all over again.

Sisterhood, first crushes, and scandalous secrets explode in book two of Michelle Madow’s riveting series, The Secret Diamond Sisters.

Looking for more from Michelle Madow? Follow the Diamonds in the Rough blog tour:

• Monday, October 20th – Bumbles and Fairy Tales

• Friday, October 24th – DanaSquare

• Monday, October 27th – Bookish

• Wednesday, October 29th – Pretty Little Memoirs

• Friday, October 31st – Eater of Books 

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Blue-Collar Blues

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by A.M. Arthur, author of Stand By You (Carina Press)

I have to admit, I’m not much of a trend follower in terms of what I choose to write, but I do pay attention to what’s popular in romance. Billionaire heroes are always a romance go-to, and motorcycle club books are trending pretty heavily. There will always be the sexy doctor, lawyer or lawman. And professional sports hero, of course. But there’s one particular kind of hero that is a favorite of mine.

The blue-collar hero. Give me car mechanics, plumbers, construction workers, maintenance men, cable men, and truck drivers. They are far more abundant in real life than billionaires are, and the muscles they acquire from the physical nature of their jobs are super sexy. In my latest Carina Press release, Stand By You, one of the main characters works for an office cleaning service called Carridan Enterprises. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my hero is a janitor.

Growing up, pop culture gave me a skewed idea of who a janitor was. He was that kind of grubby guy with bad hair, who wore coveralls and hauled around a mop bucket. He might be married, but that was hard to imagine. And if the janitor was a woman, she was doing it because she was desperate to raise her four father-less children, but she knew the job was beneath her. Janitors weren’t glamorous. They weren’t really people.

Except they are people. All of the invisible jobs that no one really thinks about, like janitors and garbage collectors and electricians, have lives and hopes and goals. They have families. A lot of them are extremely good-looking (it’s always a pleasure when my FedEx guy drops a package off at work). And they have stories to tell. In Stand By You, Brendan Walker is completely at ease with his job as an office janitor. It is what he does, it earns him a paycheck, and he has benefits. He likes his co-workers. It’s comfortable.

Not everyone strives to be the CEO, the corporate raider, or the hot-shot lawyer. There’s nothing wrong with being average. Besides, someone has to clean the CEO’s office, right?

What are some of your favorite blue-collar hero books?

About Stand By You:

standbyyouThree months after his rescue from an abusive boyfriend, twenty-two-year-old Romy Myers has landed his first legitimate job–bussing tables at his friend’s new coffee shop. The job has brought him some stability after years of abuse have left him feeling damaged and broken. He’s working hard on his panic and social anxiety, and those things are often tempered by the big, burly presence of Brendan Walker.

From the moment ex-football player Brendan helped rescue Romy from his ex’s abuse, he’s wanted to protect him. And he does, from a distance, with joking text messages, a new gym routine to toughen him up and a genuine friendship. So far it’s been easy–but Brendan’s feelings aren’t just friendly anymore…

When an argument spirals out of control, a hot and heavy make-out session causes Romy’s friendship with supposedly straight Brendan to reach a new level. The last thing Romy wants is to fall for another guy who could potentially shatter him, but Brendan also wakes up a part of him he thought had been destroyed by violence–his heart.

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. When not exorcising the voices in her head, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others 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/), as well as on Twitter (http://twitter.com/am_arthur), Tumblr (http://www.tumblr.com/blog/am-arthur), and Facebook.

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Cover Spotlight: The Darkest Touch by Gena Showalter

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Want to know what goes into the making of a sexy Gena Showalter cover? Here’s a behind the scenes look at how the cover for The Darkest Touch was made!

by Kathleen Outdit, Art Director

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We selected from nearly 500 images taken at our photo shoot with photographer Glenn Mackay based on the original concept design by Tara Scarcello. This chosen shot captured the character’s intensity and physique – and was beautifully lit.

Torin is depicted by Justin Howell, an actor, stuntman and model from Toronto, Ontario.

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