Mills & Boon, Reading, Romance, Small Town Perfection

Small Town Perfection: Bonne Terre

bonne-terre

Molly O’Keefe‘s The Notorious O’Neills series is set in the uptight Louisiana small town of Bonne Terre, and follows the scandalous O’Neill family, known for being just every kind of wrong.  Its hard to have that kind of a reputation, especially in small towns where people aren’t always kind.

Life certainly hasn’t been kind for Savannah, as we discover in The Temptation of Savannah O’Neill.  abandoned by her mother, her brothers, and the married jerk who left her pregnant and with her reputation in tatters.  She doesn’t trust anyone, least of all sexy newcomer Matt Woods; but when she gives in to his charms, will she end up with more regrets?

In Tyler O’Neill’s Redemption, savannah’s brother Tyler steps into the limelight – or is that a searchlight when he reconnects with past girlfriend, police chief Juliette?  He broke her heart all those years ago, but now he’s back and his charm could break her heart all over again…

The Scandal and Carter O’Neill‘s sees the final O’Neill sibling fighting to distance himself from his family’s reputation.  But when Zoe Madison claims that he get her pregnant…in public…even though he’s never met her…he needs to do some serious damage control!  So he suggests faking a relationship until it all blows over, only soon he finds himself wishing that it wasn’t fake…

Mills & Boon, Reading, Romance, Small Town Perfection

Small Town Perfection: Harmony Valley

harmony-valley

Melina Curtis‘ Harmony Valley books are unique in that they take into account the impact that the current economic climate has had on smaller towns.  As she says on her website:

This small town at the northernmost edge of Sonoma County wine country is in trouble. It’s so remote the sagging California economy of the past few years has driven businesses out, and without jobs, everyone under the age of 65 has left town. The 70 or so residents remaining are set in their ways.

The series follows the new, younger people who come to make their new home in the beautiful Californian town.

In Dandelion Wishes Will Jackson has returned to Harmony Valley to try and launch is winemaking business, but returning home means coming face to face with Emma, the woman who caused his little sister’s car accident.  Will he ever forgive her?  And will she ever forgive herself?

When Flynn’s grandfather returns home to Harmony Valley from hospital in Summer Kisses, it’s abundantly clear that he needs a caregiver – but where is he going to find one in the rapidly shrinking town?  Luckily, Becca is after a job and it turns out that his grandfather adores her!  And soon Flynn starts trusting her too…

Slade’s new hire is as frustrating as she is beautiful, but the two of them form an uneasy alliance when they realise that they’re going to have to join forces to create a wine that Harmony Valley can be proud of in Season of Change!

One Perfect Year sees Shelby face a dilemma when her former best friend Gage appears in Harmony Valley!  But she needs his help, in work and with trusting people again…

Kathy couldn’t wait to get out of Harmony Valley, but now she’s back and working to regain her son’s trust in Time for Love.  All too soon she meets cowboy Dylan, but will she continue to trust him when she realises that he’s been hiding a secret from her?

Harmony Valley’s vineyard manager Duffy can’t quite believe it when a pregnant Jessica appears, claiming that he’s the father in A Memory Away.  She appears to be missing her memories, and he knows that his good for nothing twin’s to blame, but he can’t bear to send her away…

In A Man of Influence, famous travel writer Chad Healy is in Harmony Valley to cover the Harvest Festival, when he comes up against Tracy Jackson.  She’s determined to protect the community that took her back into its bosom after she lost her ability to communicate easily…

Joe is back in town, and the one time bad boy now has a daughter in tow in Marrying the Single Dad.  But he’s got to try and persuade the Harmony Valley residents that he’s changed whilst running his grandfather’s garage and persuading artist Brittany that he’s not a waste of space!

I think that Curtis’ illustration of small town life in a time when money is hard and when most young people know that there are more career prospects in big cities, is brilliant.  And besides, the residents are adorable!

Mills & Boon, Reading, Romance, Small Town Perfection

Small Town Perfection: Cassabaw Station

cassabaw

Cindy Miles‘ Superromance series, The Malone Brothers, is set on the beautiful barrier island of Cassabaw Island.  It’s the kind of place where people look after each other, where peach pie is made for neighbours, and where no-one forgets you, even you’ve been gone for years.

Those Cassabaw Days, the first book (published under the name Cindy Homberger in the UK) follows Emily Quinn on her return to the island she grew up on – the island she hasn’t returned to since her parents died when she was still a child – and the rekindling of her friendship with Matt Malone.

For Emily, Cassabaw Station is the perfect place for her to restart, reopening the Windchimer, a cafe left to her by her great aunt.

Similarly, Reagan Quinn comes to Cassabaw Station in At First Touch, after suffering an accident in Afghanistan that’s left her without her sight.  She comes to live with her sister and her soon-to-be brother-in-law, and she reconnects with Matt’s brother Eric.

There’s something really special about the setting for these books, something that Miles herself perhaps sums up best in the Dear Reader letter in first book:

“I wrote this novel from many of my own memories:  the place I grew up, people I knew and loved, and beloved recollections that still resonate within me when I inhale a certain scent or hear a particular song.”

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

Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted? A Spotlight on…Trish Wylie

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…

Trish Wylie

There’s something about characters who are complete opposites, that I love in a romance, and Her Man in Manhattan captures the trope perfectly:

It seems mayor’s daughter Miranda Kravitz has scored herself a new – and very dreamy! – bodyguard. Apparently the fireworks between them are scorching, but will this tabloid darling really be willing to give up her new-found taste for freedom – no matter how gorgeous Tyler Brannigan is?

Rumour has it, this maverick cop has used up all his strikes with the NYPD vice squad and now Brannigan is paying his dues with a temporary assignment as babysitter. If anyone can keep this Manhattan princess in check, surely it’s this tough-guy detective?

Hopefully handcuffs won’t be necessary… !

 

Miranda is a bit of a drama queen.  She’s a little spoilt and she’s definitely used to getting her own way.  So when she meets Tyler Brannigan, sparks end up flying!  He’s more than a match for her and the fireworks between them are caused by frustration and lust…

I love the fact that Trish isn’t afraid to embrace the opposites attract trope fully, and really develop it.  Because we soon realise that they may actually have more in common than first they realise…

Wylie’s other Modern Tempted books include:

  • The Inconvenient Laws of Attraction  (When lawyer Olivia tells Blake that he’s inherited a fortune, she’s pretty stunned to see that he’s really not interested.  Or at least, he’s not interested in the money, but he’s most definitely interested in her…)
  • New York’s Finest Rebel  (Jo and Daniel grew up together, but they’ve somehow ended up being neighbours in the same New York building.  But will their past keep them apart or pull them together?)

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

She’s been working on The Passion Pact, a quartet of books, centred around a group of women who decide that their love lives need spicing up!

The first book, Only Oscar, is out now, with the prequel Mostly Married, and the second book Just Josh, due out next year:

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Callie’s intent on making dating simple, but her friends are insisting that she tries out her best friend Oscar first.  She’s far from convinced, until she realises that there’s a spark of mutual attraction between the two of them!

Oscar can’t believe that Callie’s looked beyond his geek exterior to see the guy beneath, but he’s still got secrets that he’s keeping, and will they ever come to light?

Trish Wylie was born and raised in County Antrim in the North of Ireland. Being raised on a diet of Rogers and Hammerstein movies certainly helped with her sense of romance and imagination, and then, in her teens, she was introduced to Harlequin. Her mother subscribed to the Reader Service and got the titles delivered every month. They would then be stolen from her hands by Trish.

After selling her first book in 2002, she went on to win three Romantic Times Reviewers Choice awards. She lives on the border between Counties Donegal and Fermanagh with numerous four legged friends but considers New York her second home and tries to get across the pond as often as possible.

 

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

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

Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted? A Spotlight on…Tanya Wright

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…

Tanya Wright

Tanya’s Modern Tempted book, If Only… won the 2013 So You Think You Can Write competition:

If only I hadn’t had that last drink…

It might be the toughest night of the year for Micah O’Shea, but one tequila too many and suddenly she’s seeing the world – and her best friend, firefighter Josh Taylor – in a new light! Surely a bit of Dutch courage is all she needs to see if he tastes as good as he looks…?

Why did no one tell her that the morning after is way more awkward when you’re friends with the man you threw yourself at? And that it gets more awkward when you start having X-rated dreams about him? Perhaps Micah should stop saying ‘If only…’ and start asking ‘What if…?’!

 

In part inspired by Wright’s own experiences, If Only… follows Micah, who lost her boyfriend when she was a teenager as she learns to love again.  Both her and Josh end up navigating the waters of grief and guilt, as they learn to move on from tragedy.

It’s an incredibly moving story, as well as witty and charming, and it’s really worth a read.  Especially as it delves into the complications of an ended relationship without the closure that a break-up could bring.  Brilliant.

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

She’s currently working on an inspirational romance, that we’ll hopefully hear more about in the New Year!

For years Tanya Wright filled notebooks with short stories as a way of creative release. She found her big break and graduated from spiral notebooks to paperbacks when she won So You Think You Can Write 2013.

Find out more about her and her writing on Facebook.

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

Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted? A Spotlight on…Joss Wood

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…

Joss Wood

Choosing my favourite Joss Wood Modern Tempted book was dan near impossible, but The Last Guy She Should Call just about edged it:

She’d got his number…

For savvy antiques dealer Rowan Dunn life is good – until a passport error gets her deported back to South Africa! Stranded at the airport, Rowan can only remember two phone numbers: her parents’ (definitely not an option!) and her best friend’s brother’s. As much as she hates it, Rowan knows she has no choice.

It’s time to call Seb Hollis and ask for help…

Seb is even sexier than Rowan remembers – and just as infuriating! He’s always pushed her buttons, but at least now she knows how to push them back. Maybe it’s time to start sleeping with the enemy – even though Rowan’s sure there won’t be a whole lot of sleeping going on…!

Both Rowan and Sen have issues with their parents, and so it seems perfect to throw the two of them together.  Especially when their chemistry is as hot as it is!  Their history as antagonists also adds to the depth of their connection when they finally do give into temptation.

There’s also the ending.  I love the fact that Rowan has a successful career that takes her all over the world, and I was a little concerned that the happy ever after would take that away from her, but I was wrong to worry!  Joss Wood manages to create the perfect happy ever after, without sacrificing either of her characters’ autonomy.

Wood’s other Modern Tempted books include:

  • She’s So Over Him  (It’s been ten years since Maddie saw Cale, so when he walks into her bar she has to work out just how over him she is…)
  • If You Can’t Stand the Heat…  (Pastry chef Ellie is done with guys who can’t settle down in one place, she had enough of that with her father!  But will war reporter Jack be the exception to her hard and fast rule?)
  • It Was Only a Kiss  (When Jess Sherwood walked into Luke’s office eight years ago and told him he needed to rebrand his vineyard, he dismissed her with a kiss!  But now he needs some marketing help, and she’s the perfect woman for the job…)
  • Wild About the Man  (Socialite Clem’s life couldn’t get any worse!  First she gets dumped on live television, and now she’s been dumped in a safari park, in order to keep her out of the public’s eye!  She wants out, but will Nick change her mind?)
  • Too Much of a Good Thing?  (Rugby coach Will can’t believe how gorgeous Lu is, and he’s shocked to discover that she’s been playing mother to her younger brothers for the last ten years!  Lu’s just trying to ease herself back into the dating game, and Will seems perfect…)
  • Flirting with the Forbidden  (It’s been years since Noah last had to guard diamond heiress Morgan, but now she’s back and she’s even sexier than before…  Noah managed to resist temptation last time they met, but this time Morgan’s determined to seduce him!)
  •   More than a Fling?  (Ross can’t believe that he’s just propositioned the business woman sitting opposite him, and he’s even more floored when Ally agrees…  But will they ever escape each other?)
  • Your Bed or Mine?  (Tori has terrible taste in men, and the latest Mr Wrong is the last straw.  But then she ends up in bed with her sexy new roommate Matt, who also doesn’t trust forever…)
  • The Honeymoon Arrangement  (Callie needs to get out of the country, and fast, so she agrees to be travel journalist Finn’s fake wife.  But pretending to be loved-up merges with what might turn out to be true love!)

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

She’s written two books for Mills & Boon’s Modern imprint:

  • Her Boss by Day…  (Willa’s been through the most horrific break-up, but she’s determined to get herself back on her feet.  So when Rob offers to put her up and explains that he needs a new accountant, she can’t believe her luck!  Will she be able to keep away from his bed though?)
  • One Night, Two Consequences  (Remy doesn’t believe in happy ever afters, and she’s determined to live life to the full!  She’s had a fantastic night with Bo, only then she finds herself pregnant…)

She’s also written the Pytheon Security duet:

  • Claimed by the Warrior  (Jed can think of nothing worse than being his sister’s “man of honour” – he’s allergic to anything to do with weddings – but when he meets bridal salon owner McKenna, he starts questioning everything…)
  • His Toughest Call  (When Leah is targeted by an international criminal, her ex-husband moves in to keep her safe.  Seth can’t believe how overly protective he’s being, but Leah always was his Achilles heel!)

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

desire

  • Taking the Boss to Bed  (When Ryan kisses a beautiful stranger, he doesn’t know that she’s his newest employee, or his best friend’s little sister!  Jaci’s burning up with desire for him, but can they make it last?)
  • Trapped with the Maverick Millionaire  (Trapped together on Mac’s private tropical retreat during a storm, Rory finally allows herself to think about that searing kiss they shared all those years ago…)
  • Pregnant by the Maverick Millionaire  (Matchmaker Brodie isn’t interested in a husband for herself, but she’s definitely up for a night of fun with Kade!  But when she falls pregnant, will his plan to raise their baby together develop into something more?)
  • Married to the Maverick Millionaire  (Cal needs a husband in name only, but her childhood friend Quinn is more interested in exploring the explosive chemistry between them…)

Joss has also released the first Men of Mercy novel, Inescapable, with the next book Undaunted due out next year:

Kai is reluctant to make Caswallawn Security’s headquarters in Mercy, Virginia, no matter what his partners say; he’s not interested in settling down in a kooky small town, but one look at Flick and he starts rethinking his stance…  Flick isn’t looking for a man, but she’s definitely interested in some fun!  One night of fun and they both put it behind them.

But then Kai has to return to Mercy when Sawyer’s called away, and soon he and Flick realise that they won’t be able to quench the fire they’ve started as easily as they though…

Joss Wood wrote her first book at the age of eight and has never really stopped. Her passion for putting black letters on a white screen is only matched by her love of books and traveling (especially to the wild places of Southern Africa) and, possibly, by her hatred of ironing and making school lunches.

Joss has a background in business and marketing. When she’s not writing or being a hands-on mom, Joss, fueled by coffee, works for a nonprofit organization to promote the local economic development and the collective business interests of the area where she resides. Her hobbies include coaching her young daughter’s field hockey team, meeting her friends for a before-work cappuccino and an after-work cup of tea, and reading, reading, reading. She is happiest with a rucksack on her back and an airplane ticket in her hand and has been fortunate enough to indulge her passion for travel by visiting many countries within Southern Africa, Europe and America.

Joss lives in a rural town in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, in an area surrounded by wild-game farms and stunning mountains. It is not unusual for her to see rhinoceroses and giraffes, antelope and zebras while driving to have tea with her mother in a neighboring town. Joss lives with her husband, son and daughter—and their pets—happily and chaotically, surrounded by books, family and friends.

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

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

Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted? A Spotlight on…Avril Tremayne

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…

Avril Tremayne

Avril stormed onto the Modern Tempted scene, and into my sights with Here Comes the Bridesmaid, her entry into the So You Think You Can Write competition:

Can she make organising her friend’s wedding any harder?

Sunshine Smart has only got two months until the big day! She has to include the grouchy, surly best man Leo Quartermaine – a top chef and her complete opposite! Said best man is extremely handsome and sexy – and knows it! He has no interest in décor, flowers, clothes or shoes… but has an uninformed opinion on all four!

And just a few days in she’s already slept with him… rookie mistake…

Sunshine is bubbly and sweet and the perfect person to plan a wedding, though she wouldn’t be able to say the same for best man Leo!  But they’ve got sizzling chemistry and Leo doesn’t seem to be able to resist the aptly named Sunshine!

I also really love the fact that the wedding they’re planning is a same-sex marriage.  Tremayne doesn’t make this into a big deal, it just is, and I like that.  I think it’s handled well and is a brilliant way to challenge stereotypes and preconceptions of equal marriage!

Tremayne’s other Modern Tempted book is:

  • Turning the Good Girl Bad  (Max looks at his perfectly coiffed PA in a completely different light when he accidentally picks up the steamy romance novel that she’s been writing!  Will he be able to get her to shake loose and explores some of those fantasies with him?)

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

She wrote The Millionaire’s Proposition as part of the Sydney’s Most Eligible… quartet for Mills & Boon’s Modern imprint:

Divorce lawyer Kate really doesn’t have time for relationships, but when Scott proposes a month long fling, she sets out a contract for them both to sign!  But will she end up wanting to break her own rules?

She’s also been writing contemporary romances for Random House:

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  • Wanting Mr Wrong  (Evie’s never really been one for celebrities, so when she develops a crush on her best friend’s brother, Jackson, she goes in the opposite direction!  But Jackson’s determined not to let his movie star status put Evie off…)
  • Escaping Mr Right  (Rugby player Nick’s been head over heels for reporter Chloe since he first laid eyes on her, only she met his team mate  Marcus just moments later!  Will they be able to resist each other, and does Nick want to?)

Avril’s also releasing her first single title contemporary romance, Now You’re Mine, in January 2017:

 

Firstly, I adore this cover, particularly the way in which the smoke from the candle forms a sexy silhouette!

The novel itself follows journalist Jenna as she meets Kalan Al Talyani.  After one forgettable night in an exclusive holiday resort, she returns home to America, not expecting Kalan to follow her…  Will she dare to follow her imagination and desires wherever they’ll take her?

Avril has had a lucky life. Born into a big, chaotic, Italian/Irish family that was heavy on the laughs, if light on the money; she attended city and country universities, married a book-perfect hero, birthed a wonderful daughter, made friends all over the world. 

She’s had more than my fair share of jobs, some brilliant, not-so-brilliant – including but not limited to selling shoes (shoes are an obsession), short order cooking (food is another obsession), nursing (her Florence Nightingale complex) and teaching (that one was little scary), before settling into a globe-trotting career in aviation (which fed her biggest obsession –travel). 

The job she always wanted was ‘published author’, but it wasn’t until she came home to Sydney after a posting in the Middle East, that she could finally take a big enough breath to really try. 

She writes sexy, funny, modern romances, featuring strong, successful heroines who refuse to swoon, and heroes with enough alpha in them to make swooning a clear and present danger. Her hallmark is fast-paced, witty banter, which can tend toward the screwball, delivered with a strong emotional punch.

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