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Author Debuts and Milestones: March 2015

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Congratulations to the authors celebrating their debut and milestone books with Harlequin this month!

Debut Book:

Chaos Station
by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen
Coming Home by Annabel Kataria
Rich Bitch by Nicole Lapin
Time Served by Julianna Keyes
The Daddy List by DeWanna Pace
The Fighter and the Fallen Woman by Pamela Cayne
Dangerous Inheritance by Barbara Warren

5 Books:

The Shepherd’s Betrothal by Lynn A. Coleman
Falling for the New Guy by Nicole Helm
A Valentine for Kayla by Kimberly Rose Johnson
A Second Chance at Crimson Ranch by Michelle Major
It Happened in Vegas by Amy Ruttan

10 Books:

The Ranger by Angi Morgan
Morrow Creek Runaway by Lisa Plumley
Secrets by Cynthia Eden

15 Books:

Under the Surface by Kira Sinclair
Stranded by Debby Giusti
Hill Country Courtship by Laurie Kingery

20 Books:

Chain of Command by HelenKay Dimon
The Comeback of Roy Walker by Stephanie Doyle

30 Books:

The Wedding Bargain by Yvonne Lindsay
The Rancher’s Return by Karen Whiddon

35 Books:

The Soldier’s Dark Secret by Marguerite Kaye
Shoulda Been a Cowboy by Maisey Yates

45 Books:

In the Brazilian’s Debt by Susan Stephens

55 Books:

At the Rancher’s Request by Sara Orwig

70 Books:

conard county babyA Conard County Baby by Rachel Lee

90 Books:

After Hours with Her Ex by Maureen Child

115 Books:

Taking Fire
by Lindsay McKenna

120 Books:

A Real Cowboy by Carla Cassidy

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Congratulations 2015 RITA Award Finalists!

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by Amy Loosemore, Harlequin.com Team

RWA, the Romance Writers of America, have announced the finalists for the 2015 RITA® and Golden Heart® Awards! The RITA award recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas, and we’re thrilled to share that Harlequin and Carina Press has 29 finalists this year, including books and authors who are finalists in more than category!

Congratulations to our finalists:

Best First Book

Purely Professional
by Elia Winters
Carina Press
Kerri Buckley, editor

Run To You
by Clara Kensie
Harlequin TEEN
Natashya Wilson, editor

Fake
by Beck Nicholas
Harlequin TEEN Australia
Annabel Blay, editor Continue reading »

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Spring Into A New Series Giveaway!

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Spring is the time of fresh starts — new plants take root, baby animals are born…and authors launch new miniseries! Start the season right with these new releases, all the first books in brand-new series from some of your favorite writers and series. We’re giving away a set of all seven books to one lucky commenter :)

To enter to win the giveaway, leave a comment below answering this question: What is your favorite thing about spring?

spring into new series giveaway

Prize pack includes a print copy of:

Rules: Giveaway closes March 31, at 11:59 p.m. ET. One winner will be selected from all eligible comments and announced here on April 1. Open to residents of the US and Canada, excluding Quebec. For full official rules, click here.

Good luck!

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That’s What A Hamburger’s All About

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by Kate Willoughby, author of Out of the Game (Carina Press)

I am a foodie. I love the Food Channel. I binge watch Top Chef. My husband can drop me off at the Sur La Table store and not come back for a couple of hours. So it’s no surprise that food comes up a lot in my books. Yes, they’re hockey romances, but hockey players gotta eat, right?

In my new release, Out of the Game, Alex Sullivan is at a rehearsal dinner as the best man. He’s sitting next to the maid of honor, Claire. Neither of them is impressed with the haute cuisine and Alex surreptitiously tries to lure her to the Dark Side.

When they took the plates away, Alex leaned close and whispered in her ear, “Burger run. After dessert. You and me. I’ll buy.”

 She smothered a giggle. “No.”

 “You know you want to. Bacon cheeseburger. Fries. Vanilla milkshake.”

Because Alex is irresistibly sexy and charming, she agrees to go with him. Can you blame her? Did you see the guy on my cover? If not, go look now. I’ll wait.

Okay, see? To be in close proximity to abs like that? I dare anyone to resist.

Anyway, in California there is a fantastic burger chain called In-N-Out. They have a very simple menu with only four food items.

 

Menu

A photo posted by Rick Webb (@rickwebb) on

 

What I love about these burgers are the grilled bun and the grilled onions. The proportion of bun to burger to veggies is perfect. And that sauce! YUM. The first bite of an In-N-Out burger is always sublime. Their employees are always very friendly. I’m serious. I can’t recall ever seeing a not-smiling face there.

So tell me about your favorite burger place. What is it about their burger that makes you want to go get one right now?

About the book:

out of the game Book three of In the Zone

Alex Sullivan may be the San Diego Barracudas’ resident playboy, but he hasn’t been able to forget the woman who kissed him like her life depended on it ten months ago. When he sees her again at a teammate’s wedding, he can’t think of anything but spending more time with her. Preferably naked.

Claire Marzano lost years catering to an overbearing husband, and she’s not going to answer to anyone ever again. A hot fling is just what she needs to get back in the game, and that’s exactly what sexy Alex offers—one wild long weekend away, with no promises or obligations.

But that one weekend changes everything. Despite knowing full well Alex isn’t the kind to ever commit, Claire is falling for him. And Alex secretly imagines a future with his strong, smart “accidental girlfriend.” Until a surprise announcement and an on-ice accident threaten to derail everything…or cause Alex to finally ditch his old ways and become the man Claire needs him to be.

About the Author:

Kate Willoughby happily writes her hockey romances in Southern California. She is married and has two sons, a dog, and a betta fish. When she’s not writing, she’s watching hockey. When it’s not hockey season, she whines a lot.

If you’d like to keep up with Kate’s new releases, subscribe to her newsletter. You can also watch her succumb to her Twitter addiction, laugh while she flails around on Facebook, or ogle the man candy, among other things, on Pinterest.

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The Hot in Heartwarming Heroes

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by Rula Sinara, author of After the Silence (Harlequin Heartwarming)

Yes, I’m talking about Harlequin Heartwarming, a line known for its clean, sweet, wholesome—whichever term you prefer—contemporary romances. I bet you’re glancing back at my title and wondering if I’m crazy. Hot heroes in a sweet romance? Is that even allowed?

Can sweet and heat go together?

As one who couldn’t stop eating the habanero-cashew brittle her friend sent last Christmas, let me assure you…sweet and heat are incredible together, and the flavor lingers like a love story that finds a spot on your keeper shelf. Still doubting that sex-free, PG-13 rated romance can star heroes who make your cheeks flush, pulse race and heart ache for them? Hot heroes in sweet romance. I have two words for you.

Mr. Darcy.

Admit it. You swooned just by reading his name, didn’t you? Sure, Pride and Prejudice is a historical romance and Harlequin Heartwarming is contemporary (though a line of Heartwarming Historicals is on my dream list ;), but it wasn’t a historical when Jane Austen wrote it! And I’d categorize it as a clean read.

And what about all the other beta heroes who have stolen our hearts with their quiet, reserved, honorable, protective, wounded, flawed and sometimes awkward charm? Think Beauty and the Beta—I mean Beast—or Shrek—a character who proved there are no boundaries to love and who redefined the image of both “beauty” and “hero.” Think of our favorite Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movies, like Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail or oh, so hot hero Matt Damon in a movie like We Bought a Zoo. Could you blame Scarlett Johansson’s character for falling for him? And I absolutely loved it when Eva, in Enough Said, said that Albert (think Shrek without the green skin) was sexy to her. He had the heart of a hero.

Don’t let the word “sweet” or the “warm” in Heartwarming fool you. These are emotionally complex stories and the heroes (and heroines) in each one are conflicted, flawed and deeply layered with molten cores and hearts of gold. Maybe we don’t get to witness what they’re capable of in the bedroom, but do we really need that proof to know they’re hot? These guys are protective, moral, honorable, respect women, love children and animals, will sacrifice their own needs for the sake of a loved one, want the heroine to achieve her dreams and make the heroine feel safe and adored (eventually). They’re firefighters, farmers, photographers, doctors, marines and more. Heartwarming heroes are relatable and tangible—no, I don’t mean actual touching…keeping it clean here—I mean they’re the guy next door. A guy you could actually meet in real life. They’re possible. They’re the Darcys of the modern world. The merging of habanero and caramelized sugar. If you ask me, all of the above is what I call hot.

So go ahead and fan your face. The sweet heat of a Harlequin Heartwarming hero will have your heart tied up in knots and wanting forever after.

What qualities do you find irresistible in a hero? Do you have a favorite “hot” hero from a clean or sweet romance?

About After the Silence:

after the silenceDoes following her passion mean losing her way? 

Marine Ben Corallis is an expert at facing death, but nothing comes close to the terror that grounds him when his wife is killed in a car accident the day he returns from duty. He’s left to raise an infant, a toddler and a ten-year-old girl who hasn’t uttered a word since her mother’s death.

It’s hard not to care for the widowed marine with three young children. Yet he’s still grieving, too burdened with guilt to fall in love again. And Hope Alwanga’s future as a doctor awaits her on the other side of the world, in Nairobi. If two such opposites can’t agree on a common country, how can they ever create a safe place to call home?

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New Free Online Read from Harlequin Medical Romance

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Dashing doctor Cole Fraser is back—to convince midwife and single mother Bronte Porter that they deserve their second chance in a new free online read by Fiona McArthur at Harlequin.com! Starting today, read a new chapter of Midwife’s Marriage Miracle each weekend to find out how these two medical professionals find their Happily Ever After. Click here to begin and get a teaser below!

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A second chance worth waiting for!

Midwife Bronte Porter loves helping young mothers deliver their babies. As a single mother, she also knows how challenging—and rewarding—raising a child on your own can be. Ten years ago, Bronte nearly gave up her hard-won independence for a future with dashing Cole Fraser. Saying no was the right decision at the time, but she’s never forgotten him…

Now, with Bronte reeling from her teenage daughter’s baby bombshell, renowned obstetrician Cole chooses this moment to come back into her life. Cole just crossed a continent to convince Bronte to say yes to a lifetime together. And he has only seven days to convince her.

Excerpt:

‘Here comes your baby,’ Bronte Porter whispered and as always there was awe, because seventeen-year-old Anna’s whole body had been tuned towards birth since they’d entered the peaceful birthing room two at the MMU, Melbourne Maternity Unit, this morning.

Anna had taken to the concepts of strong faith in her own body naturally, which was one of the reasons Bronte loved being the private midwife to teen mums.

Another reason because she’d been a teen mum herself and she wanted to provide support for women like Anna instead of her own less-than-perfect birth experience.

Someone present with faith in her would have been such a blessing back then, but she could give it now and had healed herself in the process. It was okay that Bronte’s own baby’s father had refused to acknowledge his daughter and she’d had to do everything herself right from the beginning—because she’d learnt women could do anything.

Bronte’s gaze softened and she had no doubt that Anna would be a magnificent mum and manage what came her way.

Now in this moment of birth, in a quiet bathroom below the surface line in the dimness of the bath water, a slow movement caught the beam from the flashlight and the dark round dome of a baby’s head appeared. Anna breathed out slowly with her eyes fixed on Bronte’s calmly smiling face.

Bronte’s expression wasn’t a false calm. Everything was perfect, the baby’s heart rate had been perfect every five minutes they’d checked, and Anna had been focused and totally unafraid. Plus they were in a supportive environment and state-of-the-art help was a buzzer away.

As a private midwife Bronte hadn’t been on the staff roster of MMU since her training days, but walking in here today, and this particular room, had made her feel nostalgic. Strangely she’d woken this morning to the premonition something amazing was going to happen.

Below in the water the little head sat on the brink of the world serene and still. Something amazing was going to happen. She smiled.

Click here to continue reading! If you like what you read, don’t miss the Midwives On-Call miniseries from Harlequin Medical Romance, too.

 

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Being Bad Never Looked So Good

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by Gena Showalter, author of The Closer You Come and the Original Heartbreakers series

When I sat down to write The Original Heartbreakers series, I knew I wanted to draw from the humor of my other contemporary romances—Animal Instincts and Catch a Mate—while also drawing from my favorite aspects of my paranormal romances: the bond among a group of men who are bound by circumstance rather than blood; men with violent pasts who are tormented daily by demons of their own making.

Meet Jase, Beck and West.

These three met in foster care at a young age. They were abandoned by their families and often had to endure the worst kind of abuse. They grew into hardened, jaded men, and they cope in different ways.

Jase has spent the last nine years in prison for killing a man who hurt his friend. He’s rough. He’s tattooed. He’s guarded, and he’s damaged. He keeps everyone at a distance.

closer you come

Continue reading »

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Saturday Excerpt: Taking Fire by Lindsay McKenna

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Lindsay McKenna is back with another action-packed Shadow Warriors novel.  In Taking Fire, Lindsay brings you back into the line of fire with Marine Corps Sergeant Khat Shinwari, a woman caught between duty and her love for courageous Navy SEAL Michael Tarik. Check out the video below to learn more and get a head start on this new military romance with an excerpt! Plus, don’t miss the special ebook “Director’s Cut”, On Fire.

About the Book:

taking fireShe dances on the edge of life…and death

Not all are meant to walk in the light. Marine Corps Sergeant Khat Shinwari lives among the shadows of the rocky Afghani hills, a Shadow Warrior by name and by nature. She works alone, undercover and undetected—until a small team of US Navy SEALs are set upon by the Taliban…and Khat is forced to disobey orders to save their lives.

To go rogue.

Now, hidden deep in the hills with injured SEAL Michael Tarik in her care, Khat learns that he’s more than just a sailor. In him, she sees something of herself and of what she could be. Now duty faces off against the raw, overwhelming attraction she has for Mike. And she must decide between the safety of the shadows…and risking everything by stepping into the light.

Excerpt:

The SEAL team below, where Marine Corps Sergeant Khatereh Shinwari hid in her sniper hide, was in danger. The June sun was almost setting in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan. Khat made a slow, sweeping turn to the right with her .300 Win Mag rifle along the rocky scree slope. She spotted fifteen Taliban waiting behind boulders to jump the four-man SEAL team climbing up the nine-thousand-foot slope.

Lips thinning, Khat watched the inevitable. She knew the team was looking for Sattar Khogani, the Hill tribe chieftain who was wreaking hell on earth to the Shinwari tribe. Her tribe. Her blood.

Continue reading »

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Romance…With a Dash of Bollywood

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By Adite Banerjie, author of Trouble Has a New Name

Romance, Bollywood style, has been the staple of my growing up years. The two-hour-plus movies, with their unique blend of traditional family values, changing mindsets and romance, unfold through a combination of song, dance and plenty of action. A typical Bollywood flick has just the right mix of romance, comedy and full-on drama. And of course, a hot hero and dreamy heroine. So, what’s not to love!

I wanted my new book Trouble Has a New Name to have the same Bollywood feel—its verve and vivacity, lavish settings, spicy hot romance and the element of fantasy that make them such wonderful escapist fare.

Mixing and matching the Bollywood essentials into a Mills & Boon story was a fun writing experience. What better than setting the story at a big fat Indian wedding? After all, Indian weddings are the perfect occasion for a lot of song and dance and family drama as well. What’s more, it provided me with the perfect opportunity to add in one of my favourite M&B romance tropes—the fake fiancé setup.

So this is what I came up with for Trouble Has a New Name: flying to the beautiful Andaman Islands for her best friend’s big fat wedding couldn’t happen at a worse time for recently-dumped Rayna Dutt. Perhaps the handsome hotelier Neel Arora can come to her rescue?

Here’s a sneak peek into a very Bollywood-ish introduction of hot hotelier Neel Arora. ;)

Rayna froze in mid-sentence. Emerging from the pool was a bronzed Greek god, with washboard abs and pecs toned to such exquisite perfection they would make the Goddess of Chastity swoon with desire. He walked to the stone bench, turned his back to her and picked up the towel. Heat unfurled through her as she set eyes on a sexy butt draped in the briefest of trunks, leaving little to her already overactive imagination. Bronzed Greek God here would give John Abraham’s scorching Dostana act a run for his Bollywood billions. The target of her admiration towelled his thick dark hair and turned to face her. Her mouth went dry as recognition slammed through her. OMG! Orange Juice Dude!

Do you have a favorite “Hero Introduction” scene from a movie that you would love to see in a book?

About the Book (on sale April 20):

trouble has a new nameWill you pretend to be my fiancé for the next few days?

Recently single model RaynaDutt does not feel like flying to her friend’s big fat Indian wedding. But she does—and when a mix-up with room allocation forces her to share a luxury villa on Emerald Isle with the gorgeous owner of the hotel Neel Arora, best man at the wedding, things begin to look up. Until Rayna’s ex turns up with a new girl on his arm!

Hitting the panic button, Rayna searches for a solution. Surely Neel wouldn’t mind being her fake fiancé…? In an instant the attraction they share is at fever-pitch, but when scandal comes calling Rayna soon finds herself in more trouble than she can handle!

 Adite Banerjie is a screenwriter and published author. She lives in New Delhi, India, with her writer husband and their adorable Irish Setter. Connect with her at http://aditebanerjie.com or on Facebook: https://facebook.com/AditeBanerjieWriter

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Insta-Love vs. Friends to Lovers

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by A.M. Arthur, author of Getting It Right (Carina Press)

One of my Facebook fans recently asked me if I thought a friends-to-lovers story was better than an Insta-Love story. Better than questions are very tricky, because the answer is always subjective, based on the personal preferences of the reader. I don’t think one particular story device is better than the other. I’ve certainly used both in my own books.

Maybe This Time (Belonging #2) can easily be labeled Insta-Love (or maybe more Insta-Lust), while my newest release Getting It Right (Restoration #1) is very much a Friends-To-Lovers tale. But if I had to pick one over the other, as a reader I think I prefer Friends-To-Lovers.

FTL stories often have a deeper connection between the two main characters (hero/hero, hero/heroine, heroine/heroine, whatever the combo may be). Their histories are more entwined, with more shared experiences between them that can be combed for drama and angst. Plus these stories have the ever-present risk of “what if this blows up in our faces and ruins this great friendship we have?” Because sometimes even the best of friendships can’t survive the heartbreak of a failed relationship.

What are some of your favorite Friends-To-Lovers romances?

About Getting It Right:

getting it rightDetective Nathan Wolf might just be a junior detective, but he tackles every case with the passion that he lacks in his personal life. A series of failed relationships with women has left him still single at thirty-four–because he’s too scared to admit to his longtime crush on his best friend James.

Dr. James Taggert likes to keep his profession as a psychiatrist separate from his party-animal persona. Known around the gay clubs as “Tag”, he’s the guy who screws them, leaves them, and never looks back. But James’s drinking is getting heavier, and when bad memories from the past resurface, he’s close to becoming the worst version of himself.

After a drunken blackout ends in a hot and heavy make-out session with his very straight best friend, James has no memory of the steamy affair. But Nathan isn’t sorry for the kisses that James can’t remember. Nathan finally musters the courage to tell James how he really feels, but a life-altering event might force them apart before they can ever be together.

Book one of the Restoration series

About the Author:

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, as well as on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

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