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Recommended Reads for Valentine’s Day 2014

Valentine’s Day is one of our favourite days of the year. It’s also the perfect excuse for the team to round up our favourite titles from the Piatkus Entice list. Download your favourite to read on Friday or why not make it a week of romance and read them all?

My Entice pick is The Taming of Ryder Cavanagh because it’s the perfect blend of delicious tension, wit and a heroine who can give anyone a run for their money! It makes me yearn to go to a ball and play cat and mouse with a handsome rake.

Grace

I had to choose A Little Night Magic. Lucy March is a gorgeous writer and I’m an absolute sucker for the mix of magic and small town chick lit – she reminds me of Charlaine Harris but with a side of comforting American pie!

Anna

My Valentine’s Day Entice title of choice is Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah Maclean. There’s a gorgeous hero, an amazing heroine, lots of humour and plenty of tension. What more could you want? Oh, and it’s the first in a series so plenty more pages to devour once you finish book 1!

Kate

My title is Jennifer Haymore’s  – The Rogue’s Proposal – Lord Lukas, with his rakish reputation, will stop at nothing to win the heart of the woman he loves – this book is passionate, sexy and a heart-stoppingly page-turning read!

Caroline

Special Valentine’s Day edition of #TUESDAYTUNES!

Ready to get into the mood of love? Have your stack of scented candles standing by? Well, we’re about to step all over your Lionel Richie soundtrack and provide a good ten minutes (tops) of very romantic tunes, indeed! #Tuesdaytune on Entice twitter is usually about putting some dance-dance energy into the lackluster afternoon. But today, we’re putting the lights down low and moving slower . . . it’s the special Valentine’s Day Edition of Entice #TuesdayTunes* . . .

 

 Red, Red Wine by the UB40s. We’re staring it off a bit cheery . . . play this song when you’re doing that cheesy dance from the kitchen as you bring your date their requested drink. Try not to spill. The rug’s white.

 L.O.V.E. by Nat King Cole. You’re watching the recommended romantic film and the credits start to roll with that amazing, feel good vibe of ‘Happily Ever After’. Pop this tune in the stereo and keep the upbeat feel going (and if you’ve just finished watching The Notebook . . . well, bad luck).

Two Wooden Spoons by This is the Kit. Are you ready to go down on one knee? Have the ring ready? Well, this is the sappy love song for you. And by sappy we mean tender, poetic and tear-inducing. On second thought, unless you intend to cry like a baby while you propose, you might be better putting on some Enya or even ‘Sweet Cherry Pie’ by Poison. To each their own, right?

Kiss from a Rose by Seal. The night is nearly over. And there’s a good chance you’ve had a few. Think it’s time for a ballad yet? WE SAY YES! Sing your heart out into your hairbrush or celebrate your engagement/’let’s just be friends’ with lots of hand gestures, interpretive dancing and pretend instrument playing. Just be ready for the passive aggressive note from your roommate in the morning.

 

 

 

* This playlist brought to you by your regular Entice Tuesday tweeter. Enjoy the love.

 

 

Q&A with Robin York, author of Deeper

If you follow @piatkusentice on Twitter, you’ll know we haven’t been as excited about a novel as we are about Deeper by Robin York in a long time. Deeper is available to download from 28th January (less than 3 weeks to go!), so in the meantime we thought we’d provide you with a little insight into Robin York’s world with this author Q&A. Enjoy!

What are you reading at the moment?

I just finished Kate Meader’s All Fired Up, a contemporary culinary romance set in Chicago between a recovering anorexic party planner heroine and the Irish pastry chef who she accidentally marries in Las Vegas. Whoops! It was a great airplane read for my recent flight to Boston, and now I just need to find a few minutes to get to the happy ending.

What are you writing at the moment?

I’m actually wrapping up the sequel to Deeper this month, so it’s all West and Caroline, all the time! It’s been so much fun visiting these characters again. I’m not supposed to talk much about the details, but I can tell you it’s called Harder and … yeah. Things get harder. But then better! And West and Caroline will get their happy ending. Eventually.

Who are your inspirations?

Oh, I have so many! I’ve been reading Barbara Samuel lately, really admiring her characters and the depth of emotion she gets into her stories. I am a huge fan (and friend) of Molly O’Keefe — her Boys of Bishop and Crooked Creek Ranch series are fantastic. I love Charlotte Stein’s New Adult erotic romance Sheltered. And Cara McKenna’s erotic romances are some of my very favorites, particularly After Hours, Curio, and Ruin Me.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No. I always liked the idea of being a writer, but past age twelve or so I didn’t write. I had this notion that writers had ideas for books and stories, and I didn’t have any ideas, so I supposed that meant I wasn’t suited to being a writer. It was only when I began reading a lot of romance that I began thinking of the romance structure as being something I could build a story onto. That is, I hoped that perhaps I only needed a small seed of an idea to get started, and then the book would grow into itself. This didn’t actually happen, but I enjoyed writing that first book so much that I kept going and learned an important lesson, which is that to write, you only need enough to begin. You can make decisions to deepen your characters and figure out your story as you go along. And in fact, a lot of character-driven writers don’t have or need big plots in their heads. The plot is usually, for me, something that comes from the characters once I’ve figured them out.

Five books to cure the January blues

Barbara Samuel, The Sleeping Night — A sultry, emotional interracial romance set in the U.S. South immediately following the Second World War. Read this one for the heat, for the letters about cake (which aren’t really letters about cake), and for Samuel’s unforgettable characters.

Cara McKenna, After Hours — A young woman takes her first real nursing job on an inpatient psychiatric ward, where she’s in over her head — and that’s before she meets orderly Kelly Robak. He’s tough and competent and frankly kind of scary, but their attraction is off the charts. This is a very sexy erotic romance story set against a bleak backdrop, with complex and interesting characters. Really stunning. Good for if you want to kind of wallow around in the winter bleakness a bit before you get your happy ending.

Theresa Weir, Girl with the Cat Tattoo — Here’s one to make you smile. Written in cat point of view — yes! cat point of view! — this quirky story explores the romance between a grieving children’s librarian and a cop who’s falling for her but can’t tell her the truth. Also, the cat’s really likable. And I’m not even a cat person.

Delphine Dryden, Gossamer Wing — A clever, fun steampunk historical romance spy story. Need I say more? Okay, I’ll say more — there’s also a marriage of convenience, a transatlantic voyage, travel, submarines, ear implants, and a tiny little airship. Oh! And romance. Including some of the steamiest sex scenes … well, let’s just say you won’t be cold, January or no January.

Charlotte Stein, Sheltered — If you’re looking for something short and intense and very, very steamy, you can’t beat Stein’s New Adult erotic romance about what happens when a sheltered heroine falls for the drug dealer next door. It’s a story of sexual, emotional, and romantic awakening, with a poignant ending that speaks to the rebirth of hope in both characters’ lives.

Deeper is available to buy in ebook from 28th January. To read an extract, click here.

Lindsey Piper on her inspiration for the Dragon Kings!

Lindsey Piper‘s Dragon Kings series published today on Entice with Caged Warrior and Blood Warrior! The prequel novella Silent Warrior is also available! Read below for the amazing inspiration story behind what is sure to be one of the most talked-about debuts of 2014 . . .

I began my career writing historical romance after earning an advanced degree in history, which included a year abroad at the University of East Anglia. There, I met my future husband and lured him from Surrey to Chicago, where he has lived as a happily married man for sixteen years—and an often-frustrated West Ham supporter.

After fictionalising Robin Hood mythology, medieval Spain, Napoleonic Salzburg, and Victorian Glasgow in my award-winning Starlight, I have explored other genres. Now I co-write acclaimed contemporary erotic romances under the name Katie Porter. My active, wandering imagination is apparently without limits, because . . .

In December 2011, I became obsessed with the television programme ‘Spartacus’. It contains plenty to sensationalise, including comically graphic violence, but features complex story arcs. Characters portrayed by John Hannah and others underwent changes that were shocking, yet in keeping with established ambitions and relationships. I continue to defend those initial twelve episodes as some of the best writing in popular television.

Three days after watching Warrior, the Tom Hardy film about mixed martial arts, I was struck by the basis of what would become ‘The Dragon Kings’: paranormal beings who fight in Cage matches. Although compelled and inspired, I knew that once again stepping into a new genre would test my skill.

‘The Dragon Kings’ are not dragon shapeshifters. Instead, they were birthed by a being revered as the Great Dragon, which spawned the sacred Five Clans. Each clan is blessed with paranormal powers, from telepathy to the legendary Berserker fury. They have influenced human culture for millennia, such as inspiring Greek legends of Zeus and Mount Olympus. I was determined to mix mythological ideas with to-the-death combat.

Yet, what would they fight for? Money and power seemed trite. I hunted for something fresh and compelling. What if these supernatural clans faced imminent extinction? What if the ultimate prize was not wealth or influence…but the right to bear children? How far would individuals go to perpetuate clans, bloodlines, and families?

I have two daughters. I would do anything to secure their safety and happiness. What loving, responsible parent would do otherwise? That question is the heart of Caged Warrior, the series’ first full-length novel. The heroine, Nynn, labors to become what she previously thought barbaric: a Cage warrior. As with the heroines in Aliens and The Terminator, Nynn’s little boy is threatened. She endures harsh training with the goal of him from torturous imprisonment.

Her mentor, adversary, and Cage partner is Leto, a man raised to believe victory is life’s greatest reward. Slowly, Leto begins to sympathise with Nynn’s cause and realises how brainwashed he is. The trust they develop is one of my favourite romantic tropes: ‘I have your back, and you have mine’. That theme is repeated in each of book of ‘The Dragon Kings’ series. In a violent world, how can love exist without such devotion?

For those eager for actual dragon shapeshifters . . . never fear. Hunted Warrior, due in May, brings the lore of the Great Dragon full circle and reveals how little this formidable race understands of its history and potential. What was once will be again . . .

Please join me on what has been an intense, challenging, emotional journey as an author, and what I hope will offer a rewarding and unique paranormal romance experience for readers.

Cheers!

Lindsey Piper

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles on the artwork of ANNA

Anna by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is one of the books Piatkus Entice picked for their December 12 Days of Romance promotion! It’s an enthralling tale of love and war, romance and adventure. A few days after giving Cynthia the news, the Entice team was delighted to find a piece of mail from America with a beautiful postcard inside from Cynthia. A very special postcard with a very special story . . .

 

When Readers Digest decided to do Anna as a condensed book, I was invited to Pleasantville, (isn’t that the perfect name for Readers Digest HQ?) their headquarters in NY state, for a visit before publication day.

We were collected from our Manhattan hotel by a chauffeured limo and driven to Pleasantville. It was like a vast, green lawn, kept to English country house standards, and dotted with ancient trees. Set about it were a number of beautiful 18th Century houses, mostly built of wood, in which all the Headquarters activities take place. We were taken first to the hospitality house, a mansion furnished with 18th century originals, furniture, carpets, clocks, china, wonderful fireplaces and chandeliers. There are bedrooms here for guests to stay but sadly we were only on a day trip. However we were met by various executives in the gorgeous drawing-room for drinks and chat, then taken through to the dining-room (shining mahogany table that seated 20) for an elegant luncheon. Afterwards we were given a guided tour and saw various offices and staff amenities (eg wonderful restaurant and a fully-equipped gym). The most amazing thing was that the offices and corridors were hung with original paintings by great masters like Degas, Renoir, Breugel, Kandinsky and so on – worth a fortune but just hanging there, where everyone passed back and forth, with no apparent security. They must be happy employees to be so trusted!

They commissioned an artist to paint several oils to be used as illustrations in their edition of Anna. They were all very lovely, but they decided the Troika picture was so gorgeous they would use it as the illustration for their worldwide corporate Christmas card for that year! On this occasion I was shown the original oils. Being a horselover, I asked if I could buy the Troika picture, but they said they were not for sale – alas.

 

Imagine having paintings of your book hung next to a Degas! Or sent nationwide! See below for the beautiful picture and be sure to check out Entice’s 12 Days of Romance!