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MMA meets Romance via Sexy Alpha Males

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by Lori Foster, author of No Limits

My husband, three sons and I are longtime MMA fans. It fascinates me how much time and devotion athletes give to training, traveling around the world and engaging in competitions. From the UFC’s fighter biographies, I learned that the married guys are often terrific family men. It’s fun to see big, buff fighters rolling around on a mat with a toddler—or cooking in the kitchen with a wife. Just as entertaining are the single guys who appear to enjoy partying as hard as they pursue their sport. There’s an amazing balance to maintaining the necessary diet and exercise regimen while also taking part in numerous after-parties that follow competitions.

Because I’ve been to many live fights (and a few after-parties) I’ve seen firsthand the number of young, attractive women hoping to “hook up.” Any guy could get cocky—but what I see most is a dedication to their fans, an outstanding work ethic, good sportsmanship and loads of confidence. Mix that with shredded bodies and undeniable ability and you have the perfect alpha male.

Naturally my muse insisted that I incorporate my love of the sport and my respect for the fighters with my passion for writing character-driven, fast-paced romantic stories that center around alpha heroes who are strong, capable and, of course, sexy. And thus my Ultimate books, beginning with No Limits, were born. Research isn’t a hardship; I’ve been to several live events, and nearly every month I attend a local-level MMA competition.

My books aren’t about MMA. They’re about these supreme athletes falling in love and fitting a committed relationship into their busy schedules. And if there’s some suspense along the way, well, who would be better at defending the woman he loves than a fighter?

About No Limits:

nolimitsA surprise inheritance reunites a mixed martial arts fighter with the woman he’s never forgotten in the first in a smoldering new series from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster

Cannon Colter is quintessential hero material: chiseled jawline, shredded body—the works. He’s also the guy who rescued Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers, only to put an end to her romantic dreams. These days, she’s older, smarter, determined to face whatever life throws her way. Even the prospect of sharing a house and business with Cannon.

Cannon knew Yvette wanted him three years ago. But she was young—and some things are worth waiting for. Thrown together by her grandfather’s legacy, he realizes how deep Yvette’s scars really go, and how much danger lurks in their quiet town. As pent-up desire explodes between them, protecting her becomes the only fight that matters. And he’ll break all the rules to do it….

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5 Things to do in Boston

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as recommended by Carla Neggers, New York Times bestselling author of the Sharpe & Donovan novels, including HARBOR ISLAND

Do you have a city you think of as “your” city? For me, that’s Boston. I first arrived in Boston as a starry-eyed music student and ardent Red Sox fan. Although I grew up about 100 miles to the east, my small hometown was a world away. No matter. Boston became “my” city. It’s no wonder that I based FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan’s elite unit there.

If you’re planning a visit or doing a little armchair traveling, here are five things that I recommend to friends and family visiting Boston for the first time…or the hundredth:

1. Visit the Boston Harbor Islands.

Thirty-four islands and peninsulas along the Boston shoreline comprise the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, a true treasure. You can explore old forts, sand dunes and tide pools; hike, camp and have a picnic; or just enjoy a salt-tinged breeze and the gorgeous views.

2. Walk the Freedom Trail.

Put on your walking shoes and do the 2.5 miles of Boston’s Freedom Trail! It’s easy to follow and takes you to more than a dozen historic sites, from Boston Common to Paul Revere House and Old North Church and finally out to the USS Constitution. For breaks, there are many shops and restaurants on the way, including bustling Faneuil Hall Marketplace. (You can picture Emma’s waterfront apartment and the discreet building where she and Colin work!)

3. Shop on Newbury Street.

Indulge yourself with a trip down Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay. I love its mix of stores and prices. It’s fun to window shop. Whether you’re getting ideas or in the mood to buy, there are deals to be had even on so “posh” a street, and I’ve found the shopkeepers wonderfully welcoming and helpful. Lots of great restaurants are to be found here, too.

 4. Have tea at the Taj Hotel.

When Emma and Colin find themselves at the Taj in HARBOR ISLAND, Colin rightly suspects that Emma has been to tea there. It opened as the Ritz-Carlton and its iconic 1927 building overlooks the beautiful Boston Public Garden. My mother, sister, daughter and two little grandchildren enjoyed tea there last Christmas. My four-year-old grandson cracked up the waiter when he announced he’s allergic to horses as well as to nuts. Nohorses on the tea menu! Tea at the Taj is an experience not to be missed.

5. Explore the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Whether it’s raining, snowing, sleeting or sunny, a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts makes for a fun day. It has everything you’d expect in a sprawling, modern museum, and then some. I’m particularly fond of the Impressionist and Dutch and Flemish collections, but there’s so much to see. Enjoy lunch at the New American Café, recently named by Food & Wine as one of the best museum restaurants.

I’m including a few photos. I hope they help you envision Emma and Colin’s Boston. Enjoy, and let me know what your favorite city is.

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About Harbor Island:

harbourislandEmma Sharpe, former nun and granddaughter of world-renowned art detective Wendell Sharpe, is a handpicked member of a small Boston-based FBI team. For the past decade Emma and her grandfather have been trailing an elusive serial art thief. The first heist was in Ireland, where an ancient Celtic cross was stolen. Now the Sharpes receive a replica of the cross after every new theft—reminding them of their continued failure to capture their prey.

When Emma receives a message that leads her to the body of a woman on a frozen island in Boston Harbor, she finds the victim holding a small, cross-inscribed stone—one she recognizes all too well. Emma’s fiancé, FBI deep-cover agent Colin Donovan, is troubled that she’s gone off to the island alone, especially given the deadly turn the thief has taken. But as they dig deeper they are certain there is more to this murder than meets the eye. 

As the danger escalates, Emma and Colin must also face do-or-die questions about their relationship. While there’s no doubt they are in love, can they give their hearts and souls to their work and have anything left for each other? There’s one thing Emma and Colin definitely agree on: before they can focus on their future, they must outwit one of the smartest, most ruthless killers they’ve ever encountered.

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September New Releases

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Are you all set for September? We have plenty of exciting new releases across all genres, including Lori Foster’s alpha male MMA hero, style advice from Nicky Hilton, and more!

The Homecoming by Robyn Carr

thehomecomingMIRA

At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything, but he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. Now he’s been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he’s become a humbler version of his former self.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/V6l7Lk

 

No Limits by Lori Foster

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Cannon Colter rescued Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers, only to put an end to her romantic dreams. These days, she’s older, smarter, determined to face whatever life throws her way. Thrown together by her grandfather’s legacy, Cannon realizes how deep Yvette’s scars really go, and how much danger lurks in their quiet town.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/iNQ1mx

 

Harbor Island by Carla Neggers

harbourislandMIRA

Emma and her grandfather have been trailing an elusive serial art thief. When Emma receives a message that leads her to the body of a woman, she finds the victim holding a small, cross-inscribed stone—one she recognizes all too well. Emma’s fiancé, FBI agent Colin Donovan, is troubled that she’s gone alone, especially given the deadly turn the thief has taken. But as they dig deeper they are certain there is more to this murder than meets the eye.

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

 

Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

Final CoverMIRA

When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/w40EZs

 

The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

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Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who’s bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/iFWY4y

 

A SEAL’s Fantasy by Tawny Weber

asealsfantascyHarlequin Blaze

Lara Banks has no interest in being protected by a military man, especially an acquaintance of her estranged brother. So why is she doing her best to drive him crazy with pure temptation? Lara insists on having her naughty way with him—over and over—but is fulfilling their fantasies worth the price?

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

 

For You I Will by Donna Hill

foryouiwillKimani Arabesque

After ten years of service as chief of the E.R. at a New York City hospital, Dr. Kai Randall decided to trade her scrubs for a calmer existence in Sag Harbor Village. The only thing that has interrupted her serenity in months is the photo she snapped of a handsome, solitary stranger. The image haunts her. But that’s nothing compared to how she feels when she comes face-to-face with the man from her dreams.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/DcN1fK

 

Course of Action: The Rescue by Lindsay McKenna and Merline Lovelace

courseofactionHarlequin Romantic Suspense

Two edge-of-your-seat, passionate military stories from bestselling authors Lindsay McKenna and Merline Lovelace…

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/Rk5iaZ

 

 

Beyond the Moon by Michele Hauf

beyondthemoonHarlequin Nocturne

Like most witches, Verity Van Velde knows how to look after herself—and she knows better than to trust any man. But then, a vampire steals her precious talisman. Before long, Verity is swept up in a terrifying intrigue—and into the strong arms of a devastatingly sexy vampire hunter.

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

 

Maverick for Hire by Leanne Banks

maverickforhireHarlequin Special Edition

Nick Pritchett, that hunky blond carpenter from Thunder Canyon, has been doing his share to put the town back together after the Great Flood. He’s great with a hammer and popular with the ladies. Maybe a bit too popular, if you ask his best bud, Cecelia Clifton!

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/5BuZaC

 

Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto

ghosthouseHarlequin TEEN

After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl. Spending time at her grandmother’s country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets Alexander Reade, who is 157 years dead and has a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/c3knD9

 

365 Style by Nicky Hilton

365styleHarlequin Nonfiction

From red carpets and runways to front row at Fashion Week, designer and muse Nicky Hilton has earned her reputation as a style icon. Exposed to the top tier of the fashion industry from childhood, in this style guide Hilton reveals tips and tricks of the trade she has learned along the way.

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

 

Shattered Bonds by Lynda Aicher

shatteredbonfsCarina Press

When the lives and friendships of The Den owners are thrown into chaos, Noah Bakker steps in to deal with the fallout. He hasn’t had a sub or participated in a Scene since tragedy changed his life four years ago. But as an investor in the exclusive BDSM club, he can’t walk away from the lifestyle completely. As he works to keep the club running, he finds himself drawn to Liv Delcour, the seemingly naïve sister of one of the other owners.

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

 

Love on the Boardwalk by Christ Barth

loveontheboardwalkCarina Press

Trina Trimble, private eye in training, is thrilled to be reunited with the hottie she almost hooked up with last summer. She’s undercover on her first solo case, but there’s always time to lock lips with a sexy cop. Besides, a fun fling with Brad doesn’t have to last beyond his week in town.

Add to your shopping cart ► http://goo.gl/Ue2I0H

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Excerpt Saturday: Shattered Bonds by Lynda Aicher

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Lynda Aicher’s Wicked Play series is a must-read for any erotic romance fan, and the final book is certainly no exception. Shattered Bonds returns readers to the Den, the most exclusive BDSM club in town, for what could be their greatest scandal yet. Shattered Bonds is on sale September 15, however you can find more information about the book and where to pre-order your copy by visiting Carina Press or by visiting the author’s website.

About Shattered Bonds:

shatteredbonfsWill the doors of The Den close forever?

When the lives and friendships of The Den owners are thrown into chaos, Noah Bakker steps in to deal with the fallout. He hasn’t had a sub or participated in a Scene since tragedy changed his life four years ago. But as an investor in the exclusive BDSM club, he can’t walk away from the lifestyle completely. As he works to keep the club running, he finds himself drawn to Liv Delcour, the seemingly naïve sister of one of the other owners.

Liv didn’t know about the naughty things her friends were up to behind closed doors, but when their secrets become headline news, she’s more curious than shocked. As she works with Noah to keep the media at bay, she finds that his dominant strength is more than a little arousing. Soon they’re exploring their mutual desires in the most wicked ways.

Liv isn’t sure if she can completely submit to Noah the way she thinks he wants her to–and Noah isn’t sure he can withstand the pain of falling in love…

New to the Den? Start at the beginning with Bonds of Trust.

***

“Over here!”

“Back up. Let ’em through!”

“Hurry!”

The piercing ring of a siren squealed through the air to join the ongoing choir, and cut off the frantic calls before it faded into the distance. An abundance of blue and red lights peppered the cold night with their universal signal for trouble under the blinding spotlights erected around the crash site.

“This way!”

“I need the clamps!”

Chaos surged around Noah as he crouched next to a semiconscious Deklan, who was laid out on a backboard on the edge of the scene. The stench of blood, gas and coolant clouded the area and rode tandem with shouts from the firemen and the medical-filled jargon of the paramedics.

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Who Is Your Favorite (Fictional) Four-Legged Friend?

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by Amy Loosemore, Harlequin.com Team

Pets have a special place in our hearts — and in books! In fact, we have a whole sale on books with dogs on the covers this month at Harlequin.com! But you can find many more four-legged friends in the pages of novels. Here are a few of my favorite animal characters in books…

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1) Buttercup in Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins

Buttercup in Kristan Higgins’s Just One of the Guys is the perfect complement to heroine Chastity O’Neill — she’s 5’11″ tall, atheletic, with four alpha-male older brothers…so a poodle or purse-dog just won’t do. Here’s how Kristan introduces Buttercup:

Part bloodhound, part Great Dane and part bull mastiff,her coat is red, her ears are long, her tail like razor wire. Bony head, awkward body, massive paws, drooping jowls, doleful yellow eyes… Well, she won’t be winning any doggy beauty pageants, but I love her, even if her only tricks thus far are sleeping, drooling and eating.

Buttercup’s not the daintiest dog in town, but she’s full of heart — just like Chastity.

 2) Familiar in Caroline Burnes’s Fear Familiar Miniseries

I confess, I’m more of a cat person than a dog person. So a feline character that helps people fall in love and solve mysteries? Well, that’s just right up my alley, and so is Familiar, the cat character who stars in Caroline Burnes’s Fear Familiar miniseries. There are over 20 tales in this Harlequin Intrigue miniseries, starting with the titular first book Fear Familiar published in 1990. If you’ve never read this series, you can find several titles available in ebook.

3) Grimalkin from Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series

Move over Grumpy Cat — Grimalkin is the sassy feline that I love most. Well, this one may be a bit of stretch, because while Grimalkin appears in cat form he’s way more than just an ordinary cat, despite his catch phrase “I am a cat” to explain his extraordinary abilities. Here’s a snippet of Grimalkin’s first appearance in The Iron King:

“Where are you?” I gasped. “Show yourself.”

“I am not hiding, little girl.” The voice sounded amused. “Perhaps…if you open your eyes a bit wider. Like this.”

Directly in front of me, not f ive feet away, a pair of saucer-like eyes opened up out of nowhere, and I stared into the face of an enormous gray cat.

“There,” it purred, regarding me with a lazy yellow gaze. Its fur was long and wispy, blending perfectly into the tree and the entire landscape. “See me now?”

“You’re a cat,” I blurted stupidly, and I swore it arched a brow at me.

“In the crudest sense of the word, I suppose you could call me that.” The feline rose, arching its back, before sitting and curling its plumed tail around its legs. Now that my shock was fading, I realized the cat was a he, not an it. “Others have called me Cait Sith, Grimalkin, and Devil’s Cat, but since they all mean the same, I suppose you would be correct.”

What are your favorite animal characters? I’d love to hear them in the comments! Plus, share more of your favorite dog stories and pictures in the Harlequin Community.

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Q & A with Heather Gudenkauf and Mary Kubica

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Recently, readers across the United States had a chance to to meet two outstanding authors on a joint book tour: Mary Kubica, debut author of the addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller The Good Girl, and New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf, whose latest ripped-from-the-headlines novel Little Mercies is on sale now. We took the opportunity to interview them both about their books, going on tour and what they love about each other’s novels.

Did you do anything special to prepare for going on tour?

Heather: In regard to preparing for book events, I haven’t mastered the art of packing efficiently as of yet. I’m always looking for helpful hints and tricks—an unending quest for me. One absolute for me is to make sure that I am well stocked with books to read at the airport, on the plane and in the hotel.

Mary: I did! Seeing as this was my first tour, I wanted to make sure I was prepared. I wrote out a speech and practiced it over and over again in front of my children. The poor kids probably know it better than me! I’ve also been going to see other authors on tour for a few years now, and that was great preparation as I’ve been able to see what goes on at signing events and how other authors respond to certain questions or situations. I even went to see Heather at Women & Children First in Chicago to have a better idea of what to expect. She did such a wonderful job, and her fans love her! It was great preparation.

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Both Little Mercies and The Good Girl feature ripped-from-the-headlines events, exploring the impact they have on relationships and family in different and equally compelling ways. What do you enjoy that’s similar and different about each other’s stories?

Heather: I’m a big fan of books written in multiple perspectives and Mary did this masterfully in The Good Girl. Mary shared the main character’s saga in chapters labeled “before” and “after” her rescue. Brilliant! I also admire the way Mary built the nearly unbearable suspense in The Good Girl­—in equal parts I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next and didn’t want the book to end!

Mary: What grabbed me most about Little Mercies is the story of Ellen, the overworked social worker who makes an inadvertent mistake that has a tremendous impact on her life, her family and her career. As a mother myself—and a busy one at that—I see how any one of us could make this oversight, and it’s really terrifying to explore the repercussions that come from a seemingly simple mistake. Both Little Mercies and The Good Girl portray mothers in difficult situations and examine what each of these women do to remedy their situation. Little Mercies also delves into the life of Jenny, a young girl traveling across the country alone, without much family to call her own. I love Jenny’s resourcefulness and the fact that she’s able to find those family connections outside of her own flesh and blood. Little Mercies was one of my favorite reads this year!

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Cover Spotlight: Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

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Anne Girard’s Madame Picasso is all about the untold story of Eva Gouel, the unforgettable woman who stole the heart of the greatest artist of our time. Here is what went on behind the scenes to give such a mesmerizing story an equally mesmerizing cover, with notes from Associate Creative Director Erin Craig.

The idea itself was based on Picasso’s line drawings.

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The Top 10 Reasons to Read I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

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by Katy MacNeill, Assistant Manager, Online Marketing and Fulfillment, Digital & Internet

Being the lifelong, unapologetic, wholehearted and loyal Backstreet Boys fan that I am, it goes without saying that I did a little (okay, huge) happy dance when I discovered Ann Aguirre has written a book inspired by the boys’ biggest hit thus far.

When I then found out that I Want It That Way is new adult, a genre I have recently discovered and fallen in love with, my interest grew from excited to enthusiastic. I knew this combination was golden. I had to get my hands on a copy and clear my calendar for some serious escapism.

While I don’t want to give anything away because you simply need to read this for yourself to find out why it’s so amazing, I do want to give you a list of the 10 reasons why I fell completely in love with it and why I know you will, too.

1.)    It’s named after a Backstreet Boys song! And the follow up books, As Long as You Love Me and The Shape of my Heart are too. So basically, if you add these to your TBR pile, the likelihood of BSB tunes running through your head on a continuous loop is extremely high.

2.)    It begins with an adorably charming, straight-from-Hollywood meet cute.

3.)    Honest, likable characters that you’d want to be friends with. I was instantly drawn to Nadia. She is a strong and determined college student who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. Her roommates are funny, open and honest and their relationships with one another remind me of the dynamic of the characters in Friends.

4.)    A cute, somewhat troubled but extremely caring single dad who puts his adorable young son first. I wanted to get to the bottom of how Ty ended up a single dad. The author doesn’t hide this part of his life for too long and you really uncover how his past shaped who he has become.

5.)    Ty’s four year old son is a One Direction Fan. How cute is that?

6.)    INSANE chemistry between Nadia and Ty. I definitely blushed my way through the hotness of the sex scenes in this book. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

7.)    It contains an awesome playlist of songs. Even though they aren’t BSB tunes, I love discovering new music through books.

8.)    It’s realistic. There’s joy, pain, anger, sadness… It’s a love story, but it isn’t all flowers and sunshine. The characters have had to overcome realistic bumps in the road and the secondary characters have problems of their own, too.

9.)    It doesn’t follow the typical formula for new adult stories that you might be expecting. A young child in the mix serves as a reminder that falling in love can be a challenge to fit into an already busy life.

10.)  The secondary characters are ones you’ll root for and want to learn more about and you’ll have the chance to when you read the follow up books in this awesome trilogy.

Are you a fan of listening to music while you read? Do you have specific playlists for books? Let me know in the comments!

About I Want It That Way:

iwantitthatwayNadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, dating’s the last thing on her mind. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, the last thing he wants is noisy students living in the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

 

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Giveaway: Win the Fool’s Gold Series Signed by Susan Mallery & a $200 Gift Card!!

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Calling all fans of Susan Mallery and contemporary romance fans, have we got a giveaway for you! Harlequin and New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery have teamed up for Susan Mallery/Harlequin Fool’s Gold Giveaway to give a lucky winner the ultimate Fool’s Gold prize — a complete SIGNED set of all 18 Fool’s Gold books plus a $200 Visa Gift card!

Use the Rafflecopter form below or visit www.foolsgoldgiveaway.com enter the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest closes August 31, 2014, at 11:59pm ET. Open to residents of the US and Canada (excluding PQ). Please see full terms and conditions at the giveaway site, http://www.foolsgoldgiveaway.com or http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/812721fb13.

To learn more about the Fool’s Gold series, click here.

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Meet Jacko and Lauren from Midnight Vengeance + Giveaway

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by Lisa Marie Rice, author of Midnight Vengeance (Carina Press)

Bestselling author Lisa Marie Rice had some free time, so decided to pop in on Lauren and Jacko to see how they were doing. They are doing just GREAT. The electricity between them is almost palpable and yet there is also a great deal of serenity. They are an improbable couple, but they suit each other. And there was a surprise waiting for her…

Lisa Marie Rice:  So. You guys are a couple now. How does that feel?

(Jacko grips Lauren’s hand tightly. I can see the whites of his eyes.)

Lauren: Great. Just great. (Turns to Jacko.) Isn’t that right?

Jacko nods, swallows.

Lauren, with serene smile.: Don’t mind him, Lisa. He’s just not used to being part of a couple yet. It spooks him. But he is a great partner. I’m very lucky.

LMR: And not just partner. What is that gorgeous ring on your left hand ring finger.

Lauren brings up left hand and looks at it admiringly.

Lauren: It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? Sapphire and diamonds, platinum setting. Perfect.

LMR: It certainly suits you. (Turns to Jacko) Was it hard choosing the ring? Did you ask Suzanne Huntington for advice? She’s got exquisite taste.

Jacko: No. I chose it myself. I walked around downtown, looking at jewelry shops and wasn’t liking any of the rings. Then I saw this one and just knew it was the right one for Lauren. But I did snap a photo with my cell and sent it to Suzanne and she approved. So I went right in and bought it.

Lauren, looking at it dreamily:And I am never taking it off, ever.

LMR to Lauren: Were you expecting a ring and a proposal so soon?

Lauren: Actually, no. I thought Jacko would need more space and time. I was prepared to wait. But I guess indecision and procrastination are not SEAL traits.

LMR to Jacko: When did you know you wanted to propose?

Jacko opens his mouth then closes it.

Lauren nudges him in the ribs. Lauren: Go on.

Jacko: The instant I set eyes on her. But I thought that was crazy because, well…look at us.

Lauren gives him a sunny, loving smile. Lauren: You’ve got this thing. I don’t need for you to be pretty, I don’t need for you to be born upper class. I need you to be you. You’re perfect, just the way you are. Well…almost perfect. You go too damned fast on your motorcycle. But other than that—perfection.

Jacko visibly relaxes, curls his fingers around hers, brings the back of her hand to his mouth.

Jacko: I wouldn’t say that, but I’m not going to argue with you.

LMR: So—how did he pop the question?

Lauren turns a bright cherry red and Jacko gives a very male, very satisfied smile.

Lauren: We, ah, we were…we were eating and, um…

Jacko turns and looks straight at me.

Jacko: We were in bed, making love, and the ring had been burning a hole in my pocket for days. And I couldn’t stand it one second longer, so I popped the question.

LMR: Wow. (turns to Lauren). Given the circumstances you couldn’t say anything but…

Lauren, kissing Jacko’s cheek.: Yes.

What question would you like to ask Lauren or Jacko? Do you have marriage advice for them? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of MIDNIGHT VENGEANCE, available now from Carina Press.

Contest closes August 27 at 11:59pm ET. One winner will be selected by random draw and announced here on August 28. Open to residents of the US and Canada, excluding Quebec. For full official rules, click here.

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About Midnight Vengeance:

midnightMorton “Jacko” Jackman isn’t afraid of anything. He’s a former Navy SEAL sniper, and he’s been in more firefights than most people have had hot meals. Lauren Dare scares the crap out of him.

Gorgeous, talented and refined, she’s the type of woman who could never be interested in a roughneck like him. So he’s loved her fiercely in secret, taken her art classes, and kept a watchful but comfortable distance. Until now.

Lauren had finally found a home in Portland, far from her real identity, far from the memories of her mother’s death, and outside the reaches of the drugged-out psycho who’s already tried to kill her twice. One tiny misstep–a single photograph–has shattered it all. She has no choice but to run again, but this time she’ll give herself a proper farewell: one night with Jacko.

Their highly charged emotional encounter changes everything. In Jacko’s arms there cannot be fear, there can only be pleasure. Anyone wishing her harm will have to pass through him, and Jacko is a hard man to kill.

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Lisa Marie Rice is eternally 30 years old and will never age. She is tall and willowy and beautiful. Men drop at her feet like ripe pears. She has won every major book prize in the world. She is a black belt with advanced degrees in archeology, nuclear physics and Tibetan literature. She is a concert pianist. Did I mention the Nobel?

Of course, Lisa Marie Rice is a virtual woman and exists only at the keyboard when writing sexy romantic suspense. She disappears when the monitor winks off.

Connect with Lisa Marie Rice: Facebook | Twitter | Website

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