#StrongRomanceHeroines, Reading, Uncategorized

Summer Reading

Summer

Summer’s hit and there’s nothing better than reading on Brighton beach in the sunshine.  I’ve been filling my days with the following books…

Countryside Perfection

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Is home always where the heart is?

When Ellie spent a summer with her mum on a Wiltshire commune in the 90s it was a bigger disaster than Leo DiCaprio’s trip aboard the Titanic – so fleeing to America seemed a perfect plan.

But now, with her marriage falling apart, running back to her mum seems like the only option for her and her son Josh.

She wasn’t expecting Art, the boy she once had a crush on to still be working at Willow Tree Farm…And still be as hot and bothersome as he was when they were teenagers.
Ellie came to Willow Tree Farm for a fresh start. But is she ready to risk sailing her life – and her heart – into another iceberg?

There’s something about Heidi Rice’s Summer At Willow Tree Farm that warms the heart:  adorable children; beautiful countryside; and that teenage crush that Ellie never quite forgot.  Turns out that Art never forgot her either, and the chemistry between the two of them practically set my kindle aflame.  Funny and utterly charming.

Old School Clinch

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A man like David Falcon – a celebrated writer. traveler and explorer, and good-looking into the bargain! – was almost bound to he plagued by adoring women; and in fact his female admirers made such a nuisance of themselves that at last he had to take some forceful action.

Fortunately there was one girl who disliked him strongly. so he engaged her as his secretary and instructed her also to act as watchdog to keep off any of the others who might track him down to his remote castle in Wales.

It was a move that was destined to defeat itself.

There’s something about properly old school Mills & boon novels that I can’t help but adore.  Rose Burghley’s The Sweet Surrender has my favourite romance novel cover of all time, and the insides match!

Take one feisty heroine, one alpha hero, a Welsh castle and any number of intense embraces, and you’ve got the recipe for a great read!

All About the Scandal

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Between the fall-out from his father’s latest shady business dealings and his wife Charisse’s alcoholism, Evan Murdoch has his hands full. But he should be most concerned about the scandalous affair Charisse is having right under his nose—with his half-brother. Evan’s being pushed to the edge, and no one knows that better than Leila Hawkins…

Leila is back in Chesterton, divorced, penniless, and desperate enough to do anything to save her mother’s home from foreclosure—including turning to Evan, her former best friend. But Evan isn’t interested in friendship. Instead he makes Leila a shockingly indecent proposal.

Meanwhile, Evan’s newlywed sister, Paulette, wants to be the perfect wife. But a blackmailing bad boy ex has reappeared in her life—and he’s threatening to reveal her most painful secret.

The scandals just won’t quit—and for everyone involved, desire, betrayal, and lies are all in a day’s work…

It’s all about secrets, scandals and seduction in Shelly Ellis’ Best Kept Secrets, the first book in the Chesterton Scandal series.  The intertwined narratives that follow the different characters balance the storylines well, and it’s clear that this is an epic saga in the making!

Romantic Getaway

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He’ll help her forget her past, and may just give her a future too!

Immi Marlowe ran away after she was jilted… and on arrival on Isola dei Fiore gorgeous billionaire Matt Stark sweeps her off her feet! On the island’s golden beaches they really connect but, when her past secrets are revealed, what will Matt do to prove they can go the distance?

Kate Hardy’s 75th book for Mills & Boon, The Runaway Bride and the Billionaire, is the third in the Summer at the Villa Rosa quartet.  I love Kate’s books; they’ve got heroes to swoon over and heroines to die for!

The novel’s setting is particularly delightful, and made me yearn for beautiful sandy beaches instead of the pebbles beneath my feet!

Halcyon Days

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Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves.

But in the face of handwringing boys, “personal experimentation,” influenza, mystery mold, nuchauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive.

I have a real soft spot for John Allison’s Giant Days comic series.  Following three female friends through their time at university, I’ve laughed and cried and am constantly being taken back to my own university days – now a decade ago!  Where has the time flown?

Perfect for reminiscing about the ‘good ole days’!

Theatrical Exploits

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Tabloid scandals have driven TV star Ryan Hertzog to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where he’s hiding out doing summer stock at his cousin’s seaside theater. When a hookup with local handyman Trey Donovan results in Ryan being photographed butt naked, he vows to keep his pants on and his hands off Trey. How was he supposed to know Trey would turn out to be the summer stock set builder?

Trey isn’t looking for a relationship; he’s still recovering from the emotional fallout of an abusive marriage. But Ryan’s laughter draws him in again and again, and he’s not about to say no to fooling around.

As the summer heats up, the paparazzi catch Ryan in increasingly compromising situations. Ryan might be too much drama for a summer fling—and Trey might be just an intermission from Ryan’s Hollywood life. But if they take their cues from Shakespeare, all’s well that ends well.

I’ve written about Vanessa North’s Lake Lovelace series before, but none are quite as summery as Summer Stock (the season’s even mentioned in the title!)

The romance is well-developed and Ryan and Trey both deserve happiness, so it’s wonderful when they finally realise that what they truly need in life is each other.

Urban Fantasy Intensity

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Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run and wanting to surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

I’ve only recently discovered Ilona Andrews and Burn for Me, the first in the Hidden Legacy trilogy, had me hooked immediately.  Cue a magical hero with PTSD, a heroine whose family deserve a book all their own, and a romp of an adventure on which to follow them.

The third book, Wildfire, has only just been released and it is as exciting and as well written as the first two!

Romance Academia

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The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name…

We do it in the dark. Under the sheets. With a penlight. We wear sunglasses and a baseball hat at the bookstore. We have a “special place” where we store them. Let’s face it: Not many folks are willing to publicly admit they love romance novels. Meanwhile, romance continues to be the bestselling fiction genre. Ever. So what’s with all the shame?

Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan–the creators of the wildly popular blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books–have no shame! They look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world of romance novels and tackle the hard issues and questions.

With insider advice for writing romances, fun games to discover your inner Viking warrior, and interviews with famous romance authors, Beyond Heaving Bosomsshows that while some romance novels are silly–maybe even tawdry–they can also be intelligent, savvy, feminist, and fabulous, just like their readers!

And now to Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan’s Beyond Heaving Bosoms:  The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels.

Doing research as an academic means that I read a lot of books which are quite full-on.  Wendell and Tan’s book – though still arguably academic – is hysterical.  Expect talk about the heroine’s ‘Magic Hoo Hoo’, the hero’s ‘Wang of Mighty Lovin” and the importance of snark when presented with the best and worst of romance novel covers.

Yes, it is a glorious as it sounds.

Mills & Boon, Romance, Uncategorized, Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted?

Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted? A Spotlight on…Nina Milne

In 2013 Mills & Boon relaunched their RIVA line with Modern Tempted (called Harlequin KISS in the States), an imprint that held echoes of the Temptation novels of the 80s and 90s, and the sexiness of the Modern Heat series from the 00s. 

Whether as RIVA or as Modern Tempted, I adored the books and was incredibly upset when the line stopped publishing two years ago.

So this month I’m taking a look back at the authors of Modern Tempted, at the books they wrote then, and what they’re up to now…

Nina Milne

How to Bag a Billionaire is a fab twist on the billionaire trope:

Another ‘billionaire bagger’ caught climbing through the restroom window! Except Olivia isn’t interested in billionaires, even the delicious Adam Masterson. She just needs to find Adam’s father – which is why she’s crashing his swanky party!

Only she’s caught by Adam himself! He’ll help Olivia – if she poses as his girlfriend. And how can she refuse?

Next stop: Thailand. And a whole heap of trouble!

 

I love Nina Milne’s take on the billionaire trope, and it’s great to see a heroine the flipside of that coin.  Olivia’s got no interest in gorgeous Adam, which he finds difficult to believe after the number of women who flock to him for his money and fame, and it’s interesting to see the psychology of his past experiences with women impact the way that he interacts with her.

Both characters go on a journey together, and they learnt together that a relationship can be about the small details in everyday life – that special moments aren’t just in bed!

Milne’s other Modern Tempted book is:

  • Breaking the Boss’s Rules  (Imogen can’t stop dreaming about her sexy boss, despite the ironclad rules he has about relationships, but will Imo be able to persuade Joe to break each of those infamous rules?)

So what’s Nina been up to since the end of Modern Tempted?

She’s been writing books for Mills & Boon’s Cherish line:

  • Christmas Kisses With Her Boss  (When Ruby arrives at the beautiful English castle to transform it for Christmas, she meets Ethan.  He’s been avoiding the holidays, but will Ruby be able to bring out his festive spirit?)
  • Rafael’s Contract Bride  (Rafael’s family disowned him all of those years ago, and the best way to prove his worth is going to require a wife.  And Cora  Brookes seems to be the perfect choice…)
  • The Earl’s Snow-Kissed Proposal  (Gabriel needs an heir, and so he hires Etta to research his family tree to find one!  But single mum Etta wants to help fill the whole in his cold cold heart!)

 

Nina Milne has loved Mills & Boon, since as a child she discovered stacks of M&B books ‘hidden’ in the airing cupboard so is thrilled to now write for them. Nina spent her childhood in England, US and France.

Since then she has acquired an English degree, 1 hero-husband, 3 gorgeous children and a house in Brighton where she plans to stay. After all she can now transport herself via her characters to anywhere in the world whilst sitting in pyjamas in her study. Bliss!

Find out more about her and her writing on her Facebook page and on Twitter.

Mills & Boon, Romance, Uncategorized, Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted?

Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted? A Spotlight on…Shirley Jump

In 2013 Mills & Boon relaunched their RIVA line with Modern Tempted (called Harlequin KISS in the States), an imprint that held echoes of the Temptation novels of the 80s and 90s, and the sexiness of the Modern Heat series from the 00s. 

Whether as RIVA or as Modern Tempted, I adored the books and was incredibly upset when the line stopped publishing two years ago.

So this month I’m taking a look back at the authors of Modern Tempted, at the books they wrote then, and what they’re up to now…

Shirley Jump

There’s nothing quite like a romance that plays with a fairytale, and Shirley Jump’s If the Red Slipper Fits… does this perfectly:

Missing: One Red Stiletto, Reward For Safe Return

New York gossip writer Sarah Griffin has lost a shoe. However, this isn’t just any shoe – it is a custom-made design that she was supposed to be taking care of (not wearing! ) and losing it could mean her job.

When notorious playboy Caleb Lewis, best known for creating column inches in the paper Sarah writes for, shows up at her office with a dangerous glint in his eye, Sarah is suspicious. It seems her shoe’s kidnapper is none other than this unconventional Prince Charming.

Now Caleb, owner of the most deliciously wicked reputation in New York, has a proposition for Sarah – one she cannot turn down. Let her modern-day fairytale begin…

 

This is a Cinderella story with a difference…  Sarah is no drudge, oppressed by an evil stepmother, but rather a living breathing woman, with healthy career aspirations!

I think one of the aspects I most love about this book, comes in the form of Sarah and Caleb’s family…  Caleb is suffering a loss, and the impact that that has on him permeates the narrative, as it would in real life; and Sarah’s father being ill, works well with her character’s  arch.

It’s entertaining and sweet and really quite lovely.

Jump’s other Modern Tempted books include:

  • The Love Lottery  (When Sophie’s name somehow finds it’s way into the love lottery that she’s running, she can’t believe her bad luck.  And then things go from bad to worse when her annoying neighbour Harlon’s name follows hers…)
  • The Princess Test  (Carlita’s never really felt like a proper princess, so when award-winning journalist Daniel comes to quiz her about her down-to-earth way, will she win him over?)
  • One Day to Find a Husband  (In order to adopt her best friend’s baby, Ellie needs to find herself a husband, and fast!  So when she approaches her business rival Finn, this merger is about to merge things in more ways than one!)
  • How the Playboy Got Serious  (When Riley gets cut off from the family trust fund, he ends up applying for a job at Stace’s diner.  But she’s got no intention of falling for his playboy charms…)
  • Return of the Last McKenna  (When Brody returns from Afghanistan he’s got one more mission to fulfill, and it involves sweet shop owner Kate Spencer…)

So what’s Shirley been up to since the end of Modern Tempted?

She’s written a number of Cherish novels for Mills & Boon:

  • The Christmas Baby Surprise  (What started off as one last night together, turns into a whole lot more when Cole finds out that Emily’s pregnant…)
  • The Homecoming Queen Gets Her Man  (Meri’s back in town to look after her elderly grandfather and try to realise her dream of becoming a photographer!  But when Jack, the man who broke her heart, also returns home, can they help each other heal?)
  • The Instant Family Man  (Luke’s life has been pretty damn easy until Peyton turns up on his doorstep with a little blond four year old.  Will he step up and become the father his daughter needs?)
  • The Tycoon’s Proposal  (Savannah’s willing to gamble everything to keep her father’s company, and so she makes a bet with Mac to see if she can turn things around…)
  • The Firefighter’s Family Secret  (Colton didn’t realise that he had a family of half-brothers, all of whom are making him feel right at home, but not quite as much as wedding planner Rachel!)
  • Maverick vs. Maverick  (It’s Lindsay’s first case as a lawyer, and she’s going up against gorgeous millionaire cowboy Walker Jones…)

There’s also the Sweetheart Sisters trilogy, about a trio of well-meaning grannies who can’t help meddling, in an attempt to bring about happy ever afters:

  • The Sweetheart Bargain  (Olivia is running from a bad marriage and a terrible job, and is determined to save the dog shelter she’s inherited.  The Sisters want her to find a happy ending with wounded helicopter pilot Luke…)
  • The Sweetheart Rules  (When Coast Guard Lieutenant Mike discovers that hi ex-wife has abandoned their two children on his doorstep, he’s got to become a family man in a hurry.  But when he returns to Rescue Bay, he keeps on bumping into single mother veterinarian Diana, the one-night stand he just can’t forget!)
  • The Sweetheart Secret  (Once upon a time , Daisy was Cole’s wife, and she technically still is…  So now that she’s back in town, will he risk losing her forever?)

She’s also got the first two books in her new Fortune’s Island series:

  • And Then Forever  (Darcy can’t afford to fall in love, but when her first love steps off the ferry, wanting a second chance, she’s going to have to decide whether she should let him know about his secret daughter…)
  • Can’t Get Over You  (When Jillian breaks up with Zach, he can’t believe that the love they had is over, especially when a new guy appears on the scene…  Will he be able to persuade her to give their love a second chance?)

Jump’s also got a new Cherish book out in January, Winning the Nanny’s Heart, which is available for pre-order now:

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Katie’s not entirely certain how it is that she’s ended up looking after Sam’s family, instead of the figures that she usually works with, but she just couldn’t turn the desperate father down…  But will she still leave when she realises how Sam feels about her?

New York Times bestselling author Shirley Jump didn’t have the willpower to diet nor the talent to master under-eye concealer, so she bowed out of a career in television and opted instead for a career where she could be paid to eat at her desk—writing.

She started out in journalism, selling her first article at the age of eleven and dreaming of being the next Jane Pauley. She hosted two of her own shows on the local cable channel and co-hosted a late-night comedy show. After writing 3000 articles and two non-fiction books, Shirley grew too dependent on her robe and fuzzy slippers, and decided a career as a freelance writer suited her better.

After having two kids, she sold embarrassing essays about her children to anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul and Chocolate for Women II.

Then she turned to the world of romance novels, where messes are (usually) cleaned up before The End and no one is calling anyone a doodoo head. In the worlds Shirley gets to create and control, children listen to their parents, husbands always remember holidays and housework is magically done by elves.

Though she’s thrilled to see her books in stores around the world, Shirley mostly writes because it gives her an excuse to avoid cleaning the toilets and helps feed her shoe habit.

Find out more about her and her writing on her Facebook pageTwitter, and on her website.

Mills & Boon, Romance, Uncategorized, Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted?

Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted? A Spotlight on…Fiona Harper

In 2013 Mills & Boon relaunched their RIVA line with Modern Tempted (called Harlequin KISS in the States), an imprint that held echoes of the Temptation novels of the 80s and 90s, and the sexiness of the Modern Heat series from the 00s. 

Whether as RIVA or as Modern Tempted, I adored the books and was incredibly upset when the line stopped publishing two years ago.

So this month I’m taking a look back at the authors of Modern Tempted, at the books they wrote then, and what they’re up to now…

Fiona Harper

Before Fiona Harper did single titles, she had category romance down to a T, as is completely clear in Swept Off Her Stilettos:

A little finger isn’t properly dressed without a man wrapped round it…

Clothing connoisseur Coreen Fraser’s film-star style never leaves her wanting for male attention! But sourcing outfits for a 1930s murder-mystery weekend stops being fun when she discovers she has to wear a tweed suit and sensible shoes! Meanwhile Coreen’s best friend Adam Conrad has his own plans for the weekend…

And one moonlit kiss later Coreen’s blinkers fall from her eyes. Adam is the only man who knows the girl underneath the skyscraper heels and scarlet lipstick. But is she brave enough to invite him to kiss it off any time he likes…?

 

I’m a big fan of romances that blossom from friendship, even if they’re not necessarily always the most glamorous of stories.  This couldn’t be further from the truth with Harper’s Swept Off Her Stilettos.

Coreen’s helping to organise a fabulous 1930s murder mystery weekend, at a country house.  What could be more glamorous than that?  And the ante’s hyped up even more when she is treated to a mind-blowing kiss from her best friend Adam!

I like the fact that Adam knows Coreen; that is, after all, the basis for any long-lasting relationship.  There’s a depth to their connection that I think really highlights what is the heart of love.

Harper’s other Modern Tempted books include:

  • Dancing with Danger  (What will happen when prima ballerina Allegra swaps her ballet slippers for hiking boots, when she takes part on survival expert Finn’s television show?)
  • Always the Best Man  (Damien is devastated when he has to watch the love of his life marry his best friend, and it’s made worse by feisty bridesmaid Zoe, who can’t stop provoking him!)
  • Three Weddings and a Baby  (When Jennie’s husband disappears on their wedding night, she’s furious!  But imagine her shock when Alex returns a month later, complete with a toddler…)

So what’s Fiona been up to since the end of Modern Tempted?

She’s made the move to single title romances:

  • The Doris Day Film Club  (Claire grew up watching Doris Day films with her grandmother, but her own opportunities for love have been few and far between recently.  But then she meets new client Nic, who’s looking to book the perfect getaway for two, and something sparkling begins…)
  • The Summer We Danced  (Pippa’s been through enough humiliation, what with the divorce and her ex leaving her on live television!  So she decides to get away from it all, and move back to the sleepy village where she grew up…)

And she’s also got a number of Christmas single titles, for you to curl up with this December:

  • Kiss Me Under the Mistletoe  (Louise is starting her new life, and is just keeping things together until her son goes and stays with her cheating ex for Christmas, then she’ll be free to wallow.  But soon, there’s something about the real country Christmas, complete with handsome next-door neighbour, that lifts her spirits…)
  • The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams  (Nicole has the perfect job, planning perfect proposals!  But when he newest client is that New Year’s kiss she just can’t forget, she begins to wish for a proposal of her own!)
  • Make My Wish Come True  (A sisterly argument prompts a Christmas swap, with single-mum Juliet taking her sister’s holiday to the Caribbean, and Gemma staying home with her nieces, nephews and the hunk next door!)

She’s also just finished her latest book, The Other Us, due out May 2017.  It follows Maggie Lewis as she travels back in time and gets to relive her life experiencing the two different paths that she could have taken…

As a child, Fiona was constantly teased for two things: having her nose in a book and living in a dream world. Things haven’t changed much since then, but at least she’s found a career that puts her runaway imagination to use!

Fiona has twenty-four published books under her belt. She started career writing heartfelt but humorous romances for Mills & Boon, but now writes romantic comedies and feel-good women’s fiction for Harper Collins, as part of their new HQ imprint. She is a previous winner of the Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Scheme Award, has had five books shortlisted for a RoNA Award and won the ‘Best Short Romance’ at the Festival of Romance three years’ running!

Fiona lives in London with her husband and two teenage daughters (oh, the drama in her house!), and she loves reading, cooking and anything cinnamon flavoured. Her new hobby is tap dancing – Ginger Rogers watch out!

Find out more about her and her writing on FacebookTwitter and on her website.

Mills & Boon, Romance, Uncategorized, Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted?

Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted? A Spotlight on…Ally Blake

In 2013 Mills & Boon relaunched their RIVA line with Modern Tempted (called Harlequin KISS in the States), an imprint that held echoes of the Temptation novels of the 80s and 90s, and the sexiness of the Modern Heat series from the 00s. 

Whether as RIVA or as Modern Tempted, I adored the books and was incredibly upset when the line stopped publishing two years ago.

So this month I’m taking a look back at the authors of Modern Tempted, at the books they wrote then, and what they’re up to now…

Ally Blake

I have a huge soft spot for Ally Blake’s The Dance Off:

‘Where are your leg-warmers?’

Dancing lessons…? Hot-shot architect Ryder Fitzgerald can’t think of anything worse! But he spots a silver lining in the form of smoking-hot Nadia Kent, who’ll be teaching him his steps for his sister’s wedding – maybe this won’t be so torturous after all…

Nadia is staying well clear of Ryder – never mind how jaw-droppingly hot he is. She made the mistake of letting a guy get in the way of her ambition once before, and she’s not about to do it again. No matter how well he swivels his hips!

But, as electricity crackles in the studio, restricting their chemistry to the dance floor becomes a challenge… The only question is, who’s going to make the first move?

 

The Dance Off was Ally Blake’s twenty-fifth book for Mills & Boon, and I remember it particularly well because my original review for the book is quoted on her website!

I suppose a big part of my love for it is caught up in the fact that it has a dance theme.  I’m a huge sucker for dancing in general, whether that’s in a nightclub with my friends, or curled up in front of the television for Strictly Come Dancing, and I adore dancing heroes and heroines.

Ryder needs to learn how to dance for his sister’s wedding, and the gorgeous Nadia is his teacher.  The thing that really stuck me about this book is the drive of both of the characters; both of them are facing a past that they’re struggling to put behind them, and yet they’re yearning to move forward and make a change.  I especially love the fact that Nadia’s career is a huge part of her life and the book – it’s a great foil for anyone who thinks that romance heroines are all drippy secretaries with no ambition other than to marry their boss!!

Blake’s other Modern Tempted books include:

  • Her Hottest Summer Yet  (It’s been ten years since New Yorker Avery was in Crescent Cove; ten years since her parents divorced and ten years since she’s been back to Australia.  But everywhere she turns, gorgeous surfer Jonah is right there!)
  • Faking It to Making It  (Nate’s looking for a fake date to his best friend’s wedding, so his sisters don’t pounce on some poor unsuspecting woman or, even worse, him!  So when he discovers that Saskia needs dating research for a website, it seems like the perfect solution…)
  • The Secret Wedding Dress  (Paige isn’t entirely certain how she ended up with a wedding dress of her own, but she’s determined to keep it hidden from Gabe, her latest fling!)
  • The Rules of Engagement  (Serial fiance Caitlyn has sworn off men for good, only for delicious Dax to enter stage right…)
  • The Wedding Date  (Hannah’s boss, gorgeous TV presenter Bradley, is determined to turn her sister’s wedding, back in Tasmania, into a research trip!)

So what’s Ally been up to since the end of Modern Tempted?

There’s the steamy Resisting the Musician:

It’s the first in a trilogy called Head Over Heels, written with Christine Bell and Robin Covington for Entangled’s Indulgence imprint, and follows bridal shoe company owner Lori, as her sister falls in love with a client’s fiance…  Her only hope to save her company’s reputation, is to persuade the world that it was true love, and for that she turns to Dash Mills, musician extraordinaire for help…

She’s also started her own new series, called The Cinderella Project:

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  1. Kiss Me Quick  (Originally published as Second Chance Honeymoon – JJ’s escape to a holiday cruise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, really couldn’t be dreamier…especially when she meets Kane, the ship’s Fitness Director!  But it’s the elderly seniors on board, who can’t stop playing cupid, that really get things kickstarted…)
  2. Love Me Tender  (Builder Murdoch feels a little out of place when he takes a job restoring the building for a matchmaking company – especially when he meets Sera.  Sera knows that they’re perfect for each other, but can she persuade him?)

The newest book in the series, Tell Me True, is out in January and available for pre-order now:

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When good girl April finds herself on a fake first date with reformed bad boy Finn, will she finally find the one person she can let her hair down around?

Australian author Ally Blake has recently celebrated her tenth year in publishing.

In that time she has travelled the world with her ever-patient husband researching fabulously noveliscious locations, had three bright bumptious kids, happily represented the romance genre on The Project and A Current Affair and in New Idea as well as numerous other publications, penned a romantic adventure Facebook page – 50 Days with Rose – and eaten more M&Ms than should be medically possible.

A one-time professional cheerleader, Ally is a lover of steak dinners and red wine, the New York Yankees and the Collingwood Magpies, Ugh boots and yoga, gardenias and flamingos. She also loves writing romance novels.

An award-winning author, through Harlequin Mills and Boon, Entangled Publishing and Tule Publishing, she’s had more than thirty fun, fresh, flirty novels published and sold over four million copies worldwide in dozens of foreign markets.

Find out more about her and her writing on FacebookTwitter and on her website.

Mills & Boon, Romance, Uncategorized, Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted?

Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted? A Spotlight on…Leah Ashton

In 2013 Mills & Boon relaunched their RIVA line with Modern Tempted (called Harlequin KISS in the States), an imprint that held echoes of the Temptation novels of the 80s and 90s, and the sexiness of the Modern Heat series from the 00s. 

Whether as RIVA or as Modern Tempted, I adored the books and was incredibly upset when the line stopped publishing two years ago.

So this month I’m taking a look back at the authors of Modern Tempted, at the books they wrote then, and what they’re up to now…

Leah Ashton

Of all of Leah Ashton’s books, Beware of the Boss is my favourite:

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Lanie Smith’s boss might look heavenly in a suit, but she’s being run ragged by Grayson Manning’s outrageous demands! Dog-sitting, clothes shopping… there nothing he won’t ask her to do! (Luckily, she’s spent enough time checking out Gray’s broad shoulders that guessing his shirt size isn’t a problem…)

The final straw? Being ordered to drop everything for a business trip to Vietnam. But one completely unexpected – and completely magical – kiss later, Lanie’s finally forced to admit the truth – that their super-charged battle of wills hides a much more dangerous attraction…

All good romances have more depth to them than just a Happy Ever After (though even typing the phrase “just a Happy Ever After”  makes me feel like a romance fraud!) and Ashton’s Beware of the Boss does just that.

Lanie has had to completely restart her life, after having her dreams dashed.  She’s found herself with nowhere to go, and no career, and finds herself working for Gray.  Her journey, which seems like so much more than just finding a new career pathway, is one of self-discovery.

Restarting can be the scariest thing in the world, but it is just what she needs, to help herself enjoy life anew.  Besides, Gray is utterly delectable, and it’s a fantastic twist on the boss/secretary trope!

Ashton’s other Modern Tempted books include:

  • A Girl Less Ordinary  (Ella was once Eleanor – dorky and dowdy – and so when billionaire Jake is reunited with her, he can’t believe how much she’s changed.  But is there anything left of their sweet childhood love?)
  • Why Resist a Rebel?  (Ruby’s successful career in film has helped her put the scandal and relationship firmly behind, until she meets famous actor Devlin.  Soon, he’s charming her and intriguing far too much to allow her to walk away…)
  • Nine Month Countdown  (Workaholic Ivy is ready to takeover Australia’s biggest mining operation when her one night of wildness comes back to haunt her.  SAS officer Angus wasn’t intending to be a father any time soon, but when Ivy tells him she’s pregnant, everything changes…)

So what’s Leah been up to since the end of Modern Tempted?

The sequel to Nine Month Countdown – The Billionaire from Her Past has just been released by Cherish:

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It follows Ivy’s sister, Mila as she reconnects with Sebastian.  She’d been in love with Seb for years, but when he married someone else, she buried her feelings and tried to move forward…  Widowed now, Seb can’t quite believe the connection that they have – but is it to late to find happiness together?

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RITA Award-winning author Leah Ashton never expected to write books. She grew up reading everything she could lay her hands on – from pony books to the back of cereal boxes at breakfast. One day she discovered romance novels… and one day, much later, wondered if maybe she could write one too.

Leah now writes happy ever afters for heroines who definitely don’t need saving. She has a gorgeous husband, two amazing daughters and the best intentions to meal plan and have an effortlessly tidy home. When she’s not writing, Leah loves all day breakfast, rambling conversations and laughing until she cries. She really hates cucumber. And scary movies.

Find out more about her and her writing on Facebook, Twitter and on her website.

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Respond to Reading: The Promise He Made Her

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I love Tara Taylor Quinn’s Where Secrets Are Safe Series.  It engages with social issues in a way that I think is unique to category romance – by allowing its readership to truly go to dark places, in the knowledge that they’ll be rescued by the end.

It’s powerful writing, and important too.

So what of The Promise He Made Her?

The blurb reads as follows:

A man of his word

Dr. Bloom Freelander thought it was safe to breathe again when Detective Sam Larson put her abusive ex away for good. She’s been moving on, running a private practice and providing psychiatry services to The Lemonade Stand women’s shelter. But now that her ex is a free man, she’s in danger once again.

Forced into protective custody, Bloom can’t help but fall for her protector. But she has every reason to doubt the handsome detective’s word. Sam broke his promise to her once. Who says he won’t break it again—along with her heart this time?

I loved this book.  Both the hero and the heroine are well-developed characters who seem so much more than a character in a book.

Bloom, our heroine, is pretty unique as romance heroines go.  She’s highly intelligent – a psychology expert – but she’s also a survivor of domestic abuse.  She’s been using her experiences to promote understanding about domestic violence, and she’s even been working with a domestic violence shelter.  Everything seems to be slotting slowly back into place.

But when the unthinkable happens, and her ex gets out of prison on a technicality, everything starts falling apart once more.

And there with her is our hero, Sam, the man who put her husband behind bars and promised her that he’d never hurt her again.  Sam’s fairly devastated by the turn of events; he can’t believe that he unwittingly broke his promise to this woman, so he gets back on the case, and takes her into protective custody.

It’s the little details in this book that make it great, like the fact that when the precinct can’t afford to put Bloom up, Sam takes her to the safest place he knows – his own home.  And the fact that we see these two fragile people working together, building a life together, without even realising that they’re doing it.

It’s a story full of heart – and one very adorable dog – that’s guaranteed to make you smile…and think.

Don’t take my word for it though; go read The Promise He Made Her, available now:

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

Tara’s also got some fantastic offers and competitions going on at the moment:

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Other Books in the Series

Love by Association His First Choice (Where Secrets are Safe)

About the Author

The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. A 2015 RITA finalist Tara appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists, and multiple showings on the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller list. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning.

Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.

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THE PROMISE HE MADE HER TOUR GIVEAWAY75th Book Celebration Prize Pack (US only): Print book from the Where Secrets Are Safe Series, 75th Book Celebration US Tours swag, handmade bookmark (shown in image), and other goodies.
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To Enter: Submit your receipt online for your pre-order or purchase of any of Tara Taylor Quinn’s six releases being promoted on her Heart Stopping Tour (Love By Association, His First Choice, The Promise He Made Her, Strangers in Paradise: Sheltered In His Arms, Sheltered In His Arms Audiobook, and For Love Or Money). Enter as many times as you purchase. One book purchase equals one entry (one receipt per entry and must be uploaded at time of entry).

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