Piatkus Entice News

Win Who’s Afraid by Maria Lewis

Whos Afraid

Who’s Afraid? is out now in paperback and to celebrate we’re offering you the chance to win 1 of 5 beautiful copies!

Meet Tommi Grayson: she’s all bark . . . and all bite

‘It was like my wolf had been there all along, waiting for me to tap its hand and step into the ring . . .’

Tommi Grayson’s never exactly been a normal girl. Bright blue hair, a mysterious past and barely controlled rage issues have a way of making a woman stand out. Yet she’s never come close to guessing who she really is . . .

When her mother dies, a shattered Tommi decides to track down her estranged father. Leaving Scotland for a remote corner of New Zealand, she discovers the truth of her heritage – and it’s a whole lot more than merely human.

Barely escaping with her life, now Tommi must return to her her friends, pretending everything is normal, while all too aware of the dangers lurking outside – and within. Worse still, something has followed her home . . .

With the clock ticking, can Tommi learn to control her new powers in time to save the ones she loves?

Mixing elements of fantasy, mystery and romance, Who’s Afraid? is a must-read tale about one woman who takes on the world, one bite at a time

‘Gripping, fast-paced, and completely unexpected, Who’s Afraid has more twists than a tornado. I loved this story!
Darynda Jones, New York Times bestselling author of the Charley Davidson series

To enter, simply fill your name and email address in below and press enter. The giveaway closes at midnight on 10th August and is only open to UK residents. Don’t forget to read the terms and conditions here.

 




Win All In by Simona Ahrnstedt

All In

To celebrate the publication of All In by Simona Ahrnstedt, we’re offering you the chance to win 1 of the 3 paperback copies through Piatkus Entice.

This  sensationally sexy new series by bestselling Swedish romance author Simona Ahrnstedt – perfect for fans of E.L. James, Sylvia Day and Laurelin Paige. If that’s not enough to excite you, look at these fantastic reviews . . .

‘This writer definitely knows how to tell a compelling story that has heat and heart.’ New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown

All In is sexy, smart, and completely unputdownable. Breathtaking, from start to finish. I loved this book, and I can’t wait to go whatever Simona Ahrnstedt takes her readers next.’ New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare

‘Everything a reader could want!’  New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James

‘I’ve been searching for this feeling all year: this book left me absolutely breathless.’ New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren

Fast paced, sexy and smart!’ New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster

‘Trailblazing Swedish author Ahrnstedt offers readers a satisfying game of high-stakes corporate intrigue and scandalously illicit passion.’ RT Book Reviews

The giveaway is open until midnight on 4th August to UK residents only. Full terms and conditions can be found here. To enter, simply fill in your name and email address below and hit enter. Good Luck!




Win The Darkest London Series!

The Darkest London

 

To celebrate the release of Forevermore, the seventh book in Kristen Callihan’s The Darkest London series, we’re offering one person the chance to win the whole series!

Here’s a synospis of Forevermore – The final book in USA Today bestselling author Kristen Callihan’s dark, atmospheric series set in Victorian London will appeal to fans of Amanda Quick.
Miss Layla Starling, the young, beautiful, and extremely wealthy heiress, is the talk of London. Until now, she’s managed to evade the marriage noose. Despite the fact that she is unfortunately American, she’s received a staggering number of offers. And turned down every one.
St. John Evernight does not want to admit the relief he feels every time he hears that she has rejected one of her suitors. Which is unfair of him. Layla deserves to be happy. But he can not offer her happiness. He will never be normal, never be anything but a freak in her world.
So St. John resolves to keep his distance, until he is recruited by the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals to guard Layla.  For she is in grave danger, and he is about to learn the full extent of his powers.

To enter, simply fill out the form below and hit enter. Entry closes at midnight on 3rd August 2016. Don’t forget to read the terms and conditions here!




Ashley Antoinette on LUXE

LuxeWhat’s the single most important thing we need to know about the Luxe series?

The Luxe Series is written to be just as addictive as the drugs the main character uses. It was my intention to make every single page explosive and incredibly pleasurable. It’s definitely not your average coffee table read. It’s sinful, exciting, and is one of those books you grip so tightly that you wrinkle the pages as you anticipate the main character’s next move.

In five sentences or less tell us what the series is about. Go:

The Luxe series is about a girl named Bleu who wants it all. She is an extraordinary girl with beauty and wit to match who tries her hand at selling drugs to pay for college. She becomes a player in a dangerous game, she’s too smart for her own good. When begins to overindulge in the fast life of luxury, money, and drugs, her dreams get derailed. Bleu becomes addicted to the very drugs that were supposed to help her escape her life at the bottom.

Who’s your favourite character?

Noah is my favorite character in the Luxe series. He has a love for Bleu that helps her defy all odds. He is her strength.

Give us a hint about what’s coming next!

A love triangle with one imperfect girl and two perfect men are waiting in book 2!

NOW CLOSED: Win The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones

tenth grave

 

Congratulations Cathryn Crawshaw, Jean Garrett and Chantiece Bates who won a copy of The Curse of Tenth Grave!

To celebrate The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones out in paperback, we’re offering you the chance to win 1 of 3 copies! Simply fill in your details below and hit enter. The competition is open to UK residents and closes at midnight on 26th June 2016.  Don’t forget to read the terms and conditions here too!

The tenth novel in Darynda Jones’ bestselling Charley Davidson series!

Part-time PI and full-time grim reaper, Charley Davidson has asked a lot of questions throughout her life: Why can I see dead people? Who is the hot supernatural entity following me? How do I get gum out of my sister’s hair before she wakes up? But, “How do I trap not one god, but three?” was never among them. Until now. And since those gods are on earth to kill her daughter, she has little choice but to track them down, trap them, and cast them from this dimension.

But one of them stole her heart a very long time ago. Can a god of absolute death and destruction change his omniscient spots, or will his allegiance lie with his brothers?

Those are just some of the questions Charley must answer, and quick. Add to that a homeless girl on the run for her life, a man who’s been framed for murdering a woman who is still very much alive, and a pendant made from god glass that has the entire supernatural world in an uproar, Charley has her hands full. If she can manage to take care of the whole world-destroying-gods thing, we’re saved. If not, well…

Name



 

Marrying Winterborne – EXCLUSIVE FIRST CHAPTER

isbn9780349407630We’re publishing the second in Lisa Kleypas’s Ravenels series, MARRYING WINTERBORNE, on May 31st and to tide you over until then we have an exclusive sneak peek at the first chapter:

“Mr. Winterborne, a woman is here to see you.” Rhys looked up from the stack of letters on his desk with a scowl.

His personal secretary, Mrs. Fernsby, stood at the threshold of his private office, her eyes sharp behind round spectacles. She was a tidy hen of a woman, middle-aged and just a bit plump.

“You know I don’t receive visitors at this hour.” It was his morning ritual to spend the first half hour of the day reading mail in uninterrupted silence.

“Yes, sir, but the visitor is a lady, and she—”

“I don’t care if she’s the bloody Queen,” he snapped. “Send her away.”

Mrs. Fernsby’s lips pinched into a disapproving hyphen. She left promptly, the heels of her shoes hitting the floor like the staccato of gunfire.

Rhys returned his attention to the letter in front of him. Losing his temper was a luxury he rarely permitted himself, but for the past week he’d been invaded by a sullen gloom that weighted every thought and heartbeat, and made him want to lash out at anyone within reach.

All because of a woman he had known better than to want.

Lady Helen Ravenel . . . a woman who was cultured, innocent, shy, aristocratic. Everything he was not.

Their engagement had lasted a mere two weeks before Rhys had managed to ruin it. The last time he had seen Helen, he’d been impatient and aggressive, finally kissing her the way he’d wanted to for so long. She had gone stiff in his arms, rejecting him. Her disdain couldn’t have been more obvious. The scene had ended in tears on her part, anger on his.

The next day, Kathleen, Lady Trenear, who had been married to Helen’s late brother, had come to inform him that Helen was so distressed, she was bedridden with a migraine.

“She never wants to see you again,” Kathleen had informed him bluntly.

Rhys couldn’t blame Helen for ending the betrothal. Obviously they were a mismatch. It was against the designs of God that he should take the daughter of a titled English family to wife. Despite his great fortune, Rhys didn’t have the deportment or education of a gentleman. Nor did he have the appearance of one, with his swarthy complexion and black hair, and workingman’s brawn.

By the age of thirty, he had built Winterborne’s, his father’s small shop on High Street, into the world’s largest department store. He owned factories, warehouses, farmland, stables, laundries, and residential buildings. He was on the boards of shipping and railway companies. But no matter what he achieved, he would never overcome the limitations of having been born a Welsh grocer’s son.

His thoughts were interrupted by another knock at the door. Incredulously he glanced up as Mrs. Fernsby walked back into his office.

“What do you want?” he demanded.

The secretary straightened her spectacles as she replied resolutely. “Unless you wish to have the lady removed by force, she insists on staying until you speak with her.”

Rhys’s annoyance faded into puzzlement. No woman of his acquaintance, respectable or otherwise, would dare to approach him so boldly. “Her name?”

“She won’t say.”

He shook his head in disbelief. How had the visitor made it past the outer offices? He paid a small army of people to prevent him from having to deal with this kind of interruption. An absurd idea occurred to him, and although he dismissed it immediately, his pulse quickened.

“What does she look like?” he brought himself to ask.

“She’s dressed in mourning, with a veil over her face. Slender of build, and softspoken.” After a brief hesitation, she added on a dry note, “The accent is pure

‘drawing room.”

As realization dawned, Rhys felt his chest close around a deep stab of yearning. “Yr Dduw,” he muttered. It didn’t seem possible that Helen would have come to him. But somehow he knew she had, he knew it down to his marrow. Without another word, he stood and moved past Mrs. Fernsby with ground-eating strides.

“Mr. Winterborne,” the secretary exclaimed, following him. “You’re in your shirtsleeves. Your coat.”

Rhys scarcely heard her as he left his corner suite office and entered a foyer with leather-upholstered chairs.

He halted abruptly at the sight of the visitor, his breath catching sharp and quick.

Even though the mourning veil concealed Helen’s face, he recognized her perfect posture, and the willowy slenderness of her form.

He forced himself to close the distance between them. Unable to say a word, he stood in front of her, nearly choking with resentment, and yet breathing in her sweet scent with helpless greed. He was instantly aroused by her presence, his flesh filling with heat, his heartbeat swift and violent.

From one of the rooms attached to the foyer, the tappity-tap of typewriting machines stuttered into silence.

It was madness for Helen to have come here unescorted. Her reputation would be destroyed. She had to be removed from the foyer and sent home before anyone realized whom she was.

But first Rhys had to find out what she wanted. Although she was sheltered and innocent, she wasn’t a fool. She wouldn’t have taken such an enormous risk without good reason.

He glanced at Mrs. Fernsby. “My guest will be leaving soon. In the meantime, make certain we’re not disturbed.”

“Yes, sir.”

His gaze returned to Helen.

“Come,” he said gruffly, and led the way to his office. She accompanied him wordlessly, her skirts rustling as they brushed the sides of the hallway. Her garments were outdated and slightly shabby, the look of gentility fallen on hard times. Was that why she was here? Was the Ravenel family’s need for money so desperate that she had changed her mind about lowering herself to become his wife?

By God, Rhys thought with grim anticipation, he would love for her to beg him to take her back. He wouldn’t, of course, but he’d give her a taste of the torment he had endured for the past week. Anyone who had ever dared to cross him would have assured her that there would be no forgiveness or mercy afterward.

They entered his office, a spacious and quiet place with wide double-glazed windows and thick, soft carpeting. In the center of the room, a walnut pedestal desk had been piled with stacks of correspondence and files.

After closing the door, Rhys went to his desk, picked up an hourglass and upended it in a deliberate gesture. The sand would drain to the lower chamber in precisely fifteen minutes. He felt the need to make the point that they were in his world now, where time mattered, and he was in control.

He turned to Helen with a mocking lift of his brows. “I was told last week that you—”

But his voice died away as Helen pushed back her veil and stared at him with the patient, tender gravity that had devastated him from the first. Her eyes were the silver-blue of clouds drifting through moonlight. The fine, straight locks of her hair, the palest shade of blonde, had been pulled back neatly into a chignon, but a glinting wisp had slid free of the jet combs and dangled in front of her left ear.

Damn her, damn her for being so beautiful.

“Forgive me,” Helen said, her gaze fastened to his. “This was the first opportunity I could find to come to you.”

“You shouldn’t be here.”

“There are things I need to discuss with you.” She cast a timid glance at a nearby chair. “Please, if you wouldn’t mind . . .”

“Aye, be seated.” But Rhys made no move to help her. Since Helen would never regard him as a gentle- man, he’d be damned if he would act like one. He half-sat, half-leaned against his desk, folding his arms across his chest. “You don’t have much time,” he said stonily, giving a short nod toward the hourglass. “You’d better make use of it.”

Helen sat in the chair, arranged her skirts, and removed her gloves with deft tugs at the fingertips.

Rhys’s mouth went dry at the sight of her delicate fingers emerging from the black gloves. She had played the piano for him at Eversby Priory, her family’s estate. He had been fascinated by the agility of her hands, darting and swooping over the keys like small white birds. For some reason she was still wearing the betrothal ring he’d given her, the flawless rose-cut diamond catching briefly on the glove.

After pushing back her veil so that it fell down her back in a dark mist of fabric, Helen dared to meet his gaze for a charged moment. Soft color infused her cheeks. “Mr. Winterborne, I didn’t ask my sister-in-law to visit you last week. I wasn’t feeling well at the time, but had I known what Kathleen intended—”

“She said you were ill.”

“My head ached, that was all—” “It seems I was the cause.”

“Kathleen made far too much of it—”

“According to her, you said you never wanted to see me again.”

Her blush deepened to brilliant rose. “I wish she hadn’t repeated that,” she exclaimed, looking vexed and ashamed. “I didn’t mean it. My head was splitting, and I was trying to make sense of what had happened the day before. When you visited, and—” She tore her gaze from his and looked down at her lap, the light from the window sliding over her hair. The clasp of her hands was tight and slightly rounded, as if she held something fragile between her palms. “I need to talk to you about that,” she said quietly. “I want very much to . . . reach an understanding with you.”

Something inside him died. Rhys had been approached for money by too many people, not to recognize what was coming. Helen was no different from anyone else, trying to gain some advantage for herself. Although he couldn’t blame her for that, he couldn’t bear hearing whatever rationale she had come up with for how much he owed her, and why. He would rather pay her off immediately and be done with it.

God knew why he’d nourished some faint, foolish hope that she might have wanted anything from him other than money. This was how the world had always worked, and always would. Men sought beautiful women, and women traded their beauty for wealth. He had debased Helen by putting his inferior paws on her, and now she would demand restitution.

He walked around to the other side of his desk, pulled out a drawer, and withdrew a checkbook for a private account. Taking up a pen, he wrote an order for ten thousand pounds. After making a note on the left margin of the book for his own reference, he walked back around to Helen and gave it to her.

“There’s no need for anyone to know where it came from,” he said in a businesslike tone. “If you don’t have a banking account, I’ll see to it that one is opened for you.” No bank would allow a woman to establish an account for herself. “I promise it will be handled discreetly.”

Helen stared at him with bewilderment, and then glanced at the check. “Why would you—” She drew in a swift breath as she saw the amount. Her horrified gaze flew back to his. “Why?” she asked, her breath coming in agitated bursts.

Puzzled by her reaction, Rhys frowned. “You said you wanted to reach an understanding. That’s what it means.”

“No, I meant . . . I meant that I wanted for us to understand each other.” She fumbled to tear the check into tiny pieces. “I don’t need money. And even if I did, I would never ask you for it.” Bits of paper flew through the air like snowflakes.

Stunned, he watched her make short work of the small fortune he’d just given her. A mixture of frustration and embarrassment filled him as he realized that he’d misread her. What the hell did she want from him? Why was she there?

Helen took a long breath, and another, slowly reinflating her composure. She stood and approached him. “There’s been something of a . . . windfall . . . at my family’s estate. We now have means to provide dowries for me and my sisters.”

Rhys stared at her, his face a hard mask, while his brain struggled to take in what she was saying. She had come too close. The light fragrance of her, vanilla and orchids, stole into his lungs with every breath. His body coursed with heat. He wanted her on her back, across his desk—

With an effort, he shoved the lurid image from his mind. Here in the businesslike surroundings of his office, dressed in civilized clothing and polished oxford shoes, he had never felt like more of a brute. Desperate to establish even a small measure of distance between them, he retreated and encountered the edge of the desk. He was forced to resume a half-sitting position while Helen continued to advance, until her skirts brushed gently against his knees.

She could have been a figure in a Welsh fairy tale, a nymph who had formed from the mist off a lake. There was something otherworldly about the delicacy of her porcelain skin, and the arresting contrast between her dark lashes and brows and her silver-blond hair. And those eyes, cool translucence contained in dark rims.

She’d said something about a windfall. What did that mean? An unexpected inheritance? A gift? Perhaps a lucrative investment—although that was unlikely, in light of the Ravenel family’s notorious fiscal irresponsibility. Whatever manner of windfall it was, Helen seemed to believe that her family’s financial troubles were over. If that were true, then any man in London would be hers for the choosing.

She had put her future at risk, coming to him. Her reputation was at stake. He could have ravished her right there in his office, and no one would have lifted a finger to help her. The only thing keeping her safe was the fact that Rhys had no wish to destroy something as lovely and fragile as this woman.

For her sake, he had to remove her from Winterborne’s as quickly and discreetly as possible. With an effort, he looked over her head and focused on a distant point on the wood-paneled wall.

“I’ll escort you from the building through a private exit,” he muttered. “You’ll return home with no one the wiser.”

“I will not release you from our engagement,” Helen said gently.

His gaze shot back to hers, while another of those deep stabs sank into his chest. Helen didn’t even blink, only waited patiently for his response.

“My lady, we both know that I’m the last man you want to marry. From the beginning, I’ve seen your dis gust of me.”

“Disgust?”

Insulted by her feigned surprise, he continued savagely. “You shrink away from my touch. You won’t speak to me at dinner. Most of the time you can’t even bring yourself to look at me. And when I kissed you last week, you pulled away and burst into tears.”

He would have expected Helen to be ashamed at being called out in a lie. Instead, she stared at him earnestly, her lips parted in dismay. “Please,” she eventually said, “you must forgive me. I’m far too shy. I must work harder to overcome it. When I behave that way, it has nothing at all to do with disgust. The truth is, I’m nervous with you. Because . . .” A deep flush worked up from the high neck of her dress to the edge of her hairline. “Because you’re very attractive,” she continued awkwardly, “and worldly, and I don’t wish for you to think me foolish. As for the other day, that . . . that was my first kiss. I didn’t know what to do, and I felt . . . quite overwhelmed.”

Somewhere in the chaos of his mind, Rhys thought it was a good thing he was leaning against the desk. Otherwise, his legs would have buckled. Could it be that what he had read as disdain was actually shyness? That what he’d thought was contempt had been innocence? He felt a splintering sensation, as if his heart were cracking open. How easily Helen had undone him. A few words, and he was ready to fall to his knees before her.

Her first kiss, and he had taken it without asking. There had never been a need for him to play the part of skilled seducer. Women had always been easily available to him, and they had seemed pleased with whatever he cared to do in bed. There had even been ladies now and then: the wife of a diplomat, and a countess whose husband had been away on a trip to the continent. They had praised him for his vigor, his stamina, and his big cock, and they hadn’t asked for anything more.

In body and nature, he was as tough as the slate dug from the flanks of Elidir Fawr, the mountain in Llanberis, where he’d been born. He knew nothing of fine manner or good breeding. There were permanent callouses on his hands from years of building crates and loading merchandise onto delivery wagons. He was easily twice Helen’s weight, and as muscular as a bull, and if he rutted on her the way he had with other women, he would rip her apart without even trying.

Holy hell. What had he been thinking in the first place? He should never have let himself even consider the idea of marrying her. But he had been too blinded by his own ambition—and by Helen’s sweetness and fine-spun beauty—to fully consider the consequences for her.

Bitter with the awareness of his own limitations, he said in a low voice, “It’s water under the bridge, it is. Soon you’ll have your first season, and you’ll meet the man you were meant for. The devil knows it’s not me.” He began to stand, but Helen moved even closer, standing between his spread feet. The hesitant pressure of her hand on his chest sent desire roaring through him. Rhys sank back to the desk weakly, all his strength focused on maintaining his crumbling self-control. He was a terrifying hairsbreadth away from taking her down to the floor with him. Devouring her.

“Will you . . . will you kiss me again?” she asked.

He shut his eyes, panting, furious with her. What a joke Fate had played on him, throwing this fragile creature into his path to punish him for climbing higher than he’d been meant to. To remind him of what he could never become.

“I can’t be a gentleman,” he said hoarsely. “Not even for you.”

“You don’t have to be a gentleman. Only gentle.”

No one had ever asked him for such a thing. To his despair, he realized it wasn’t in him. His hands gripped the edges of the desk until the wood threatened to crack.

“Cariad . . . there’s nothing gentle about how I want you.” He was startled by the endearment that had slipped out, one he had never used with anyone.

He felt Helen touch his jaw, her fingertips delicate spots of cool fire on his skin.

All his muscles locked, his body turning to steel. “Just try,” he heard her whisper. “For me.”

And her soft mouth pressed against his.

Elizabeth Hoyt Covers her Maiden Lane Series in 60 Seconds

We’re about to publish Duke of Sin, the 10th title in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series. So, we thought: What better time to get the lowdown on all things Maiden Lane, and who better to tell us than Elizabeth?

And, Elizabeth delivered! Read on to get up to speed on the most important things about Maiden Lane, Elizabeth’s favourite bits and a hint of what’s to come.

 peanuts snoopy delight

  1. What’s the single most important thing we need to know about the Maiden Lane series?

 

I have it on good authority (readers!) that Maiden Lane is addictive. 😉

 

  1. In five sentences tell us what the series is about. Go:

 

Finding redemption through love. The friction between opulence and destitution. The importance of family. Sexual tension through swashbuckling and wordplay. Moral choices.

 

  1. What’s your favourite book in the series?

 

Duke of Sin, which sounds a bit coy, but it’s true. This book is slightly different from my other books. The ‘hero’ is a villain – and he STAYS a villain. The heroine in contrast is a morally upright housekeeper who challenges him and doesn’t let him get away with anything. They are perfect for each other.

 

  1. Who’s your favourite character?

 

Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, the hero of Duke of Sin. One, because he’s such a complex character: there’s a contrast between the flamboyant, sinister persona he presents to the world and his interior self, and THAT contrasts to what he’s concealing about himself from himself (if that makes any sense).

Also, on a purely practical level, he’s a ‘wordy’ character, which is great fun to write. 😉

 

  1. Give us a hint about what’s coming next

 

I’m working right now on Alf’s book: Duke of Pleasure, which will come out in late fall 2016.

 

  1. Complete the following sentence: If you like x, y and z, you’ll love the Maiden Lane series

 

If you like sensual love scenes, complex characters and enthralling stories, you’ll love the Maiden Lane series.

 

Duke of Sin is out May 31st, 2016

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/duke-of-sin/elizabeth-hoyt/9780349412344

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Duke-Maiden-Lane-Elizabeth-Hoyt/dp/0349412340/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463755854&sr=8-1&keywords=duke+of+sin

Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Duke-Sin-Maiden-Lane-Book-ebook/dp/B016IOF5GK/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1463755854&sr=8-1

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/duke-of-sin-2

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/duke-of-sin/id1048630890?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Elizabeth_Hoyt_Duke_of_Sin?id=i6m2CgAAQBAJ&hl=en_GB

 

MaryJanice Davidson author note

isbn9780349412788I love Shaun of the Dead. It is, possibly, one of the finest movies in the history of cinema, second only to Starship Troopers. It’s got everything: a clueless hero, a puffy sidekick who can imitate an orangutan, Bill Nighy (my old man crush), a super nice mom, a nerdy bespectacled frenemy in love with the hero’s ex, Queen on the soundtrack (is there a more beautiful sight than a bunch of British twenty-somethings whacking a zombie with pool cues while Don’t Stop Me Now blares in the background?), debunked dog myths (“Dogs can look up!”), and innocents getting hit by darts.

Oh, and zombies. Lots of zombies. I love everything about Shaun of the Dead, but I love how they handled zombies the most. Their love for the genre shone through virtually every minute of the film as they poked fun at themselves and the genre, and I never once felt like they were mocking me or the movies I like: we were in it together. It was the first movie I ever thought of as a conscious gift to the audience: here’s something we liked, we think you’ll like it, too.

So: this book. My editor and I love the romance genre (not atypical for writers and editors who work in the romance genre, and thank goodness). We love historicals and paranormals and contemporaries and regencies. We love the silly stuff and the BAMF stuff and the sexy stuff. We love kick-ass heroines and damsels who need to be rescued every twenty minutes. We love alpha heroes and beta heroines, and we love it the other way around, too. (We’re dirty girls, and so flexible, too!) We love heroes who are SEALs and farmers and sheriffs and doctors. We love heroines who are biochemists and Vikings and captives and wardens. We love third person and first person and audio and electronic and paperbacks and classic hard covers.

And the romance tropes, oh God, the tropes. We love those most of all; for us, tropes make the romance.

For the uninitiated, Wikipedia defines tropes as “the use of figurative language—via word, phrase, or even an image—for artistic effect such as using a figure of speech.” Did that help? Because it didn’t help me even a little. I had to keep reading: “The word trope has also come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.” Oh. Okay. That’s a little better, Wikipedia. Stop trying to impress me and just define stuff, okay? Maybe with pictures next time? I like pictures.

A trope is, when you’re watching a new show about a cop who’s set to retire next week/month/year, you know that cop will never retire. It’s when the slutty pretty teenager in a horror movie says “I’ll be right back!” and you know she’s toast. It’s knowing the hero and heroine who at first loathe each other will fall in love. It’s a way for the writer to let the reader/viewer know what to expect without having to, you know, write. (Shut up! We’re doing the best we can.)

A trope is the thing that brings you back to the same genre again and again, because the stuff you loved in the first book will pop up in other books and you’re always chasing that feeling, the giddy excitement of reading about a hero and heroine, or hero and hero, or heroine and—you get the picture, whoever they are, you know they are destined for love, and you want to watch. (Not in a creepy way.) Even more: you want to fall in love, too.

And while we were listing our fave tropes (and everyone in the office was getting in on it, and when I mentioned it to my book club they couldn’t wait to list theirs, too) my editor said, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a book that paid homage to the romance tropes? Not in a mean way, like the Scary Movie movies.”

“In a fun way,” I replied, “like Shaun of the Dead.” And wouldn’t it be great, we thought, if the audience was in on it?

And that’s how Danger, Sweetheart came about. A romance novel that pays respect to romance novels, where the readers are in on the joke. Unless you skipped my Author’s Note, in which case I cannot help you.

For those of you in a hurry, I’ve listed all the romance tropes used in the writing of this book at the end, so you can peek and see if any of your favorites are there. Dunno about you, but I can never resist a hero with a high fever, all delirious and adorable, being tended to by a (reluctantly) adoring heroine. I also like the fish out of water trope, and the first sex is perfect sex trope. I even got to have some fun with tropes I find annoying (I’m looking at you, Hero Keeping A Big Secret).

If you’re new to the genre, this is a fun place to start because: tropes! I’m basically throwing you into the deep end but, unlike when I was tossed into the deep end at the helpless age of twenty-seven, I think you’ll enjoy it.

Other things you might want to know (or things I want you to know and your feelings on the matter are nothing to me, nothing!): no tropes were harmed in the creative process. Also, I’m am not as gross as readers might assume: it really did rain urine in the bathroom at the Plaza Hotel and Casino, courtesy of a leak one floor above. I did not make that up. God, I wish I had made that up. “Urine” and “rain” and “hotel” are three words that never belong in the same sentence.

The t-shirt Natalie wears (“One by one the penguins slowly steal my sanity.”) is a thing! You can get it at Amazon. As I did. As I did. And the pink skull leash sported by Margaret of Anjou also exists in real life.

Finally, as of this writing, you can’t hop an Amtrak from Las Vegas to Minot, North Dakota. This is a crime against humanity. Long train rides rock. Minot does, too (my bias: I was born on the Minot Air Force Base).

Love Wanted in Texas

Theisbn9780349413532 moment I set out to write the Love Wanted in Texas Series I knew it was going to be special not only for me, but for the readers as well. This series has been so incredibly fun to write. Diving into the original Wanted characters again and their kids has been an experience I will forever cherish. I think reading the stories of the kids growing up has also been a fun journey for the readers as well. We’ve gotten to see them born, watch them grow up, walk along with them as they learned life lessons (some hard, some not so hard!), and cheered them on as they started families of their own. Talk about full circles!

Now that we are nearing the end of the LWIT series, I find myself with mixed emotions. On one hand, I’m happy to see that each character has had their story told and given a happily ever after. It’s also somewhat refreshing to know that I’ll be moving on to newer projects and exploring new things that I’m excited to share with my readers.

On the other hand, I’m sad to let go of these characters. I’ve come to love each of them so very much. They may be fictional, but they feel like my own family. There are times I often think of them when I’m driving and I find myself coming up with a scene in my head! I have no doubt letting them go is going to be very difficult and very emotional to say the least, not only for me, but for those who have invested in these characters as well.

With the release of Loving You it has given me a chance to stop and reflect on all six books in this series as well as the WANTED series. To be able to write these families has been a pure joy. Thank you for sharing this journey with me!

Happy reading!

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LOVING YOU is published tomorrow – available in ebook here