Booktopia Romance Buzz
April 2014 | Edition Twelve
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Welcome to the April Romance Buzz!
Kat MayoApril is a month for fools, and I'm a hopeless fool for love! This month brings us gems from Anne Gracie, Ainslie Paton, Julie Anne Long and other favourite authors. If that's not exciting enough, Sarah Mayberry answers our Nine Naughty Questions - check out what she has to say about her new Mills & Boon book, Her Kind of Trouble.

But first, a huge congratulations to the winners of the Australian Romance Readers Awards. Kylie Scott was voted Australia's favourite romance author, and Booktopia's very own Tony Nash presented the award. Check out our mini-feature on Kylie in this Romance Buzz, and the list of Australia's favourite romance books in the sidebar.

What I just finished: Night Broken by Patricia Briggs - Yet another excellent book in the Mercy Thompson series.

What I'm reading now: The King by J. R. Ward - I have to confess that the first thing I did when I got this book was read the ending!

What I can't wait for: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas - This is the book tie-in for Veronica Mars. If you haven't read the TV series or the film, I highly recommend them. They are awesome.

Finally, ARRA has released accommodation details for the 2015 Australian Romance Readers Convention. You can book your room for the event here. Less than a year to go and I'm so excited!

In the meantime, we have 11 months of reading ahead of us. Let's make the most of it!

Kat Mayo

Marshmallow LoVer
(This is a Veronica Mars reference. I'm a bit obsessed.)
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BOOK OF THE MONTH
Click here for more details or to orderFLOORED
by Ainslie Paton


Fetch is a cover for undercover cop Sean, who is working a case involving drugs and identity theft. When one of his deliveries goes wrong, he jumps into a hire car and convinces the driver, Caitlyn, to help him get to his 'appointments'. But things goes awry, and the two end up on a roadtrip from Sydney to Perth, where their growing attraction is complicated by Sean's inability to trust what he feels, and Caitlyn's fear that her past is about to catch up with her.

Ainslie Paton tends to write genre-benders, but Floored fits comfortably within the romantic suspense genre while avoiding many of its pitfalls. There's no bonking in-between bullets in this story. Instead, we're treated to a brooding hero who has been damaged by undercover work and is trying to fit back into his own skin, and a mistrustful heroine who is determined to keep her secrets. The ending might be a little over-the-top, but the journey there is sweet, unexpected and filled with so much sexual tension I just couldn't put this book down.

IN A CATEGORY OF ITS OWN
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by Sarah Mayberry

 
When Vivian and Seth hook up---in a limo at the wedding of her sister and his brother---they chalk it up to getting it out of their system. After 10 years of flirtatious banter at family events, their comfortable rhythm is disrupted when Seth finds out he's about to become a father.

Sarah Mayberry excels at keeping readers on their toes. Her characters are always delightfully unpredictable, and she writes emotions that feel so real. The playful, sexy one-upmanship between Vivian and Seth is a delight to read, and the ending of this book will have readers reaching for a hanky...in a very good way!

(Sarah is our author of the month, so make sure to check out how she answers our Nine Naughty Questions at the end of this Buzz!)

This book includes the title, For The Right Reasons.

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ONE NIGHT WITH HER EX
(eBook edition)
by Lucy King

SECRETS OF A BOLLYWOOD MARRIAGE
by Susanna Carr

THE BLACK SHEEP'S INHERITANCE
(eBook edition)
by Maureen Child
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RELENTLESS
(eBook edition)
by Helenkay Dimon

FLIRTING WITH THE SOCIALITE DOC
(eBook edition)
by Melanie Milburne

200 HARLEY STREET
(eBook edition)
by Carol Marinelli
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AUSTRALIA'S FAVOURITE ROMANCE AUTHOR
Author Kylie Scott Brisbane author Kylie Scott , recently voted favourite Australian romance author by members of the Australian Romance Readers Association, is known for two type of books: zombie erotic romances (as in, humans falling in love in the time of the zombie apocalypse), and rockstar new adult romances. We asked Kylie about her thoughts on romance and this is what she had to say:

On the romance genre: 'It's...wonderful to see the New Adult wave bringing new talent to the fore. Romance as a genre is huge and all encompassing. That's what I love about it, the ability to move between sub-genres and keep your writing and reading fresh.'

On writing romance: 'I think any kind of writing exposes your thoughts, day dreams, and fantasies...It's how you give your work the element of honesty.'

On romantic gestures: 'I think there's a lot to be said for someone who is by your side through thick and thin, day in and day out. It easily trumps any black-tie, candlelit, steak dinner, with or without a string quartet.'

On the romantic life of being a romance writer: 'If sitting around all day in my pyjamas tapping on a keyboard is romantic, then yes. Yes it is.'

Check out Kylie's books below, and check out the rest of the ARRA award winners in the sidebar!
FLESH
by Kylie Scott

SKIN
by Kylie Scott

LICK
by Kylie Scott
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INTRODUCING DESTINY'S CHICKLIT LINE
Destiny Romance launched a chicklit line, but I wasn't able to include them in last month's Romance Buzz. These books are perfect for readers who love the contemporary voice of chicklit without losing the happy ending of romance.
TWEETHEARTS
(eBook edition)
by Nicole Haddow

IRREPRESSIBLE YOU
(eBook edition)
by Georgina Penney

THREE'S A CROWD
(eBook edition)
by Edwina Dark
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HEROES AND HEROINES WHO BREAK THE MOULD
Click here for more details or to order THE WINTER BRIDE
(Chance Sisters, Book 2)
by Anne Gracie

 
Freddy Monkton-Coombes is determined to stay away from 'muffins' - eligible girls with an eye to getting married - but when best friend Max asks him to look out for his aunt and her wards in Max's absence, Freddy can't refuse. For Damaris Chance, one of Max's so-called cousins, marriage is not an option. When Freddy discovers that she works as a painter on the side, he proposes an exchange: she'll pose as his fiancée to put an end to his parents' obsession to find him a wife, and he'll provide her the cottage of her dreams.

Freddy is a surprising hero; in most historicals, he would be the sidekick, a pleasant and amusing character who is never quite exciting enough to earn his own book. I love that Anne Gracie bucks this trend. Freddy is decent but not boring. His attempts to convince Damaris to marry him for real had me grinning from ear to ear, and what he does to make things right for her at the end of the book is deliciously satisfying.

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U.S edition

I recommend reading the Chance Sisters series in order, so make sure you pick up The Autumn Bride, which sets up the series premise and features a hero who is helpless against a sly aunt, a gutsy heroine, and an uncivilised kitten.

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Click here for more details or to order BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND IAN EVERSEA
(Pennyroyal Green, Book 9)
by Julie Anne Long

 
Look, if you're like me, you're just counting down to Lyon and Olivia's book, but I can't deny that Julie Anne Long knows how to keep loyal fans of the Pennyroyal Green series happy in the meantime.

American heiress Tansy Danforth is the kind of heroine who would usually be the rival rather than the main star. Men fall over themselves to accommodate her, and she knows how to use this to her advantage. Even the married Everseas from previous books aren't immune to her charms. It's a good thing Ian Eversea doesn't dally with innocents and is impervious to the manipulations in which Tansy seems to excel.

Tansy isn't an easy heroine to like; all the feels in the book are for Ian, and oh, let me tell you that there are indeed feelings to be had! Because when all the artifice is stripped away, when they finally start to recognise part of themselves in each other, when aloof, repressed Ian starts to to unravel ... Julia Anne Long demonstrates why she deserves the loyalty of her fans.

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This story contains a lot of references to Olivia's story, which is the overarching plot to the series. It also features many couples from previous books. If you're new to Pennyroyal Green, I definitely recommend starting with The Perils of Pleasure, because one of its many charms are the in-jokes relating to Colin Eversea!

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THE MASTERFUL MR. MONTAGUE
by Stephanie Laurens

IT TAKES A SCANDAL by Caroline Linden
HOW TO LOSE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS
by Laura Lee Guhrke
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WHO THINKS BOOK CLUBS ARE ABOUT BOOKS?
Click here for more details or to orderTHE NAUGHTY GIRLS' BOOK CLUB
by Sophie Hart


What do you get when a group of women meet to talk about naughty books? Well, you might get something like Sophie Hart's new book. Estelle organises a book group to attract customers to her fledgling café. To get things going, she suggests a bit of erotica, and the group agrees, not without some trepidation. Little do they know that these sizzling stories are about to give these shy suburban women - and one man - a new lease in life and in love!

Despite alluding to racy reads, this book isn't really about titillation. The Naughty Girls' Book Club is really more women's fiction than romance, but I think it's a story that will appeal to romance readers.


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ROCKING HORSE HILL
by Cathryn Hein

STRAY HEARTS
by Jill Shalvis

HOW TO HANDLE A COWBOY
by Joanne Kennedy
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NEW ADULTS, NEW TITLES
Check out this month's new adult titles, including an anthology featuring some of our favourite NA writers - perfect for dipping your toe into the subgenre, if it hasn't already hooked you in!
FIFTY FIRST TIMES

FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE
by K.A. TUCKER
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For New Adult and Young Adult fans, nineteen stories ... fifty unforgettable experiences.

Nineteen fabulous tales of first kisses, first loves, first ... everythings.

With stories from Jennifer L. Armentrout writing as J. Lynn, Sophia Bleu, Lisa Desrochers, Cole Gibsen, A. L. Jackson, Sophie Jordan, Melissa Landers, Lauren Layne, Roni Loren, Molly McAdams, Myra McEntire, Hannah Moskowitz, Lyla Payne, Mark Perini, Carrie Ryan, Andrew Shaffer, Alessandra Thomas, and Tracy Wolff.All compiled by Julie Cross.

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Owning a strip club isn't the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine-year-old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict "no sleeping with the staff" rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain's self-control...and it's been a long time since any woman has done that.

Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of more...

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APRIL ABS
Banish the autumn chill with these smoking hot covers! Let's be honest: some of us buy books purely on aesthetic grounds. There's no judgment here.
Click here for more details or to order DANGEROUS ANGEL
(eBook edition)
by Stacy Gail

 
Miami's best bounty hunter, Nikita Tesoro will do anything to collar a fugitive. Including stepping into a stripper's stilettos for the night. Outsmarting her rival Kyle Beaudecker is just a bonus. Despite the sexual tension sparking between them, Nikita keeps a professional distance from "Hurricane" Kyle. After all, she can't get hurt if she doesn't care.

A descendant of the archangel Barakiel with the power to harness electricity, Kyle should be focusing his energy on tracking down a demon that may be hiding in the human realm. But he's a lover, not a fighter, and he'd much rather use his special talents for pleasure: specifically Nikita's. And teaming up to find a bail jumper means spending lots of time together...

But when their case takes a turn for the demonic, Kyle can no longer more...

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NEW TITLES IN YOUR FAVOURITE SERIES
There's nothing more excruciating than waiting for the next instalment of a paranormal romance or urban fantasy series. The good news is that we have four of your favourites this month!
WILD WOLF
by Jennifer Ashley

BURNING DAWN
by Gena Showalter
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In the latest Shifters Unbound novel, a man has resigned himself to a life half lived. But a beautiful, courageous woman has him longing for something more... .

Graham McNeil knows that his pack is unruly, but he's not sure he can take the next step toward Shiftertown stability-choosing a new mate. After losing his mate and son long ago, Graham has worked hard to keep his heart in check. And even if he was inclined to bind himself again, his girlfriend, Misty, is human-a fact that won't sit well with more...

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New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with a sizzling Angels of the Dark tale about a winged warrior renowned for his ruthlessness, and the woman who becomes his obsession?.

A tormented past has left Thane with an insatiable need for violence, making him the most dangerous assassin in the skies. He lives by a single code: no mercy. And as he unleashes his fury on his most recent captor, he learns no battle could have prepared him for the slave he rescues from his enemy's clutches? A beauty who more...

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FORGED
by Jacquelyn Frank

EAST OF ECSTASY
by Laura Kaye
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When Katrina Haynes discovers a large man lying wounded in the snow, she fears he is at death's door. But as Kat tends to his injuries, she quickly realizes that they're the least of her worries. With an irresistible Scottish brogue and a strange ability to harden his chiseled body like a statue, the stranger awakens a desire she is unable to resist-and a fascination about the intriguing world he exists in.

As a proud Gargoyle, Ahnvil must safeguard the Nightwalker to whom he's sworn fealty. But as this bewitching woman nurses him back to health, arousing an almost uncontrollable hunger within him, he is possessed with the more...

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Annalise Fallston made peace with postponing her big-city dreams to care for her ill father, but lately she's been filled with a restlessness not even her beloved painting dispels. Worse, the colors don't speak to her as they always have, and all her efforts produce dark, foreboding images of a dangerous man and a terrifying future.

Devlin Eston, black-souled son of the evil Anemoi Eurus, is the only one who can thwart his father's plan to overthrow the Supreme God of Wind and Storms. But first, Dev must master the unstable powers he's been given. Distrusted and shunned by his own divine family, he never expected to find kindness and passion in more..

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EROTIC ESCAPE
If you prefer your romances steamier, check out some of the hottest stories coming out this month!
FLYING
by Megan Hart

RUBY'S FANTASY
by Cathleen Ross
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Ever hear of wanderlust?

Every other weekend, Stella buys a ticket on the next flight out of town and leaves her life behind. Home is a place with too many memories, and departure is the sweetest possible distraction.

As soon as she arrives at her destination, Stella visits the airport bar. She orders a drink and waits for the right guy to come along. A bored businessman, a backpacker, a baggage handler just off shift. If he's into a hot, no-strings hookup, he's more...

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From Cathleen Ross comes a naughty-but-nice story about the fun one can have playing dress-up.

When Ruby follows up a distress call from her twin, she is plunged into her sister's sexy secret life.

Here she meets the gorgeous Jake Steele, who awakens the passionate nature she has always suppressed.

But now that she's discovered the delights of love, will she be able to return to the small town life she had before?

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TOUGH LOVE
(eBook edition)
by Heidi Cullinan

BREAKING ALL THE RULES
(eBook edition)
by Cynthia Sax

THE SUBMISSION GIFT
(eBook edition)
by Solace Ames
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NINE NAUGHTY QUESTIONS WITH SARAH MAYBERRY
Auhtor Sarah MayberryWhen I pick up a Sarah Mayberry book, I never know what I'll get. Okay, I know I'll get that lovely happy ending that I need, but Sarah doesn't make it easy for the hero and heroine to get there - and I love that! Sarah also writes for TV - eagle-eyed readers might have already spotted her credits on Neighbours. With her latest Mills & Boon book, Her Kind of Trouble, coming out this month, it was the perfect opportunity to invite Sarah to the Romance Buzz to tackle our Nine Naughty Questions!

You can find out more about Sarah and her books by visiting her website at sarahmayberry.com and following her on Twitter at @MayberrySarah.

1. Headless washboard abs, a torrid embrace, the sprawling homestead, an elegantly dressed décolletage, or the vaguely kinky object against a dark background - what's your favourite type of romance cover and why?

It's man candy all the way for me, I'm afraid. I'm not a very subtle person, and I have a sincere appreciation for the male body. Bring on the abs, I say.

2. What is the secret life of a romance writer? What goes on between you and your keyboard (or quill) behind closed doors?

I have an extremely extensive pyjama collection, since that's mostly what I wear all day. Much more variety than tracksuit pants! I often eat breakfast cereal for lunch as well as dinner, especially on deadline. I suffer from what I call "writer's face" when writing dialogue, which is where you pull faces, imagining you are each character in turn, acting out the scene. Role playing, if you will. I have been told it's hilarious (thank you, lovely husband, for pointing that one out.) Sometimes, after a long day of word-smithing, I am so vague I walk into walls.

Click here for details or to order3. At the heart of a romantic story is the way in which the main characters reveal their true natures to each other. How much of yourself do you put into your characters, and have their stories been affected by your personal experiences?

My stories and characters are of course all defined and constrained by the fact that they spring from my imagination. It's a pretty vivid imagination, and it goes to some pretty out-there places, but whatever it comes up with is always filtered through my view of the world and my values, so I think you'd have to say that there are generous sprinkles of me in all my books. I certainly try to write about women and men who I like - not perfect people, you understand, but people who are trying their best to make sense of the world and be kind to each other. I'm definitely guilty of harvesting incidents from real life for my books, though. There's a scene in my second book, Cruise Control, where the heroine is having a massage in Bali and suddenly the masseuse is doing things she wasn't quite banking on (above the waist, people, above the waist!). That happened to me. There's another bit in Suddenly You when the heroine falls through the ceiling, trying to fix a leaky roof. That didn't happen to me, but I came close while trying to do the same thing. And there's a scene in The Other Side of Us where the heroine's house is nearly inundated by a flash flood - that definitely happened to me. Other stories have been "borrowed" from friends and conversations overheard and articles torn from the paper... All writers are magpies, and we are pretty shameless about it, so beware!

4. I'm interested in how you differentiate between romance fiction, erotica and porn. Are romance readers getting naughtier?

I'm no expert on this, but if I had to take a stab at it I'd define romantic fiction as a story between two individuals who have an emotional as well as physical connection and which results in a happy every after. Erotica - for me - is more about the physical connection, although I am sure there is plenty of emotional erotica out there, and my thinking is that the HEA is not necessarily guaranteed or even welcome. And porn...well, one woman's porn is another woman's romance and yet another woman's erotica. I tend to think of pornography as visual, for some reason. As for if readers are getting naughtier, I think people have always been naughty, they just satisfied their urge for naughtiness in different ways. The advent of digital publishing has made it possible for both readers and writers to be naughtier without the risk of being judged for our choices, I think, so in that way I suppose we have pushed the envelope in recent times. Having said that, I'm sure I could Google and find some pretty raunchy cave paintings from thousands of years ago, you know? The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Click here for details or to order5. Please tell us about your latest novel! Did you have a secret alternative title while you were writing it?

My alternative title for this book is a little dull - His Kind of Trouble. Unfortunately, it had already been used in recent years by the fabulous Samantha Hunter for one of her Blazes, so Harlequin flipped it around and gave me Her Kind of Trouble, which works just as well since my hero and heroine in this book are kindred spirits in almost every way.

Seth and Vivian first meet when her sister marries his brother. They lock eyes and recognise something in one another, and a few hours later are making good use of the bridal limousine. If you know what I mean. But they're both young, with dreams they want to pursue - fashion design for her, rock god for him - so they very quickly call it a one night stand and move on. Fortunately for family dynamics, Vivian soon heads overseas in pursuit of her dream, and, apart from occasional visits, doesn't come back for ten years. When she does return, she's older and wiser, and maybe secretly looking forward to seeing Seth again. She soon learns he's been busy while she was away, though - his ex-girlfriend is just weeks away from giving birth to his child. The realisation that he's about to become a father throws Viv - surely he hasn't grown up? Things happen to push both of them out of their comfort zone - some of them very sad - but I hope it's not giving too much away to say that they eventually work out what's been staring them in the eye since day one.

I had a lot of fun writing these two, and I hope it shows in the reading!

6. What's the most memorable reaction you've received after a friend or family member read one of your books?

Click here for details or to order Some people are a little surprised, shall we say, by how hot they are. I had one friend tell me that my second book was much better than the first - the heroine wasn't nearly as annoying, apparently. And I had another friend tell me that she imagined myself and my husband when she read the steamy bits. I begged her to never do that again. I'm too scared to ask if she succeeded.

7. Romance writers are sometimes denigrated and asked when they'll write 'real' books - what do you tell the haters?

Honestly? I can't be bothered trying to convert people. I love romances, always have, and if people don't get it, it's not my job to try to turn them on to the fact that there are some great, life-affirming, funny, touching, sexy, brilliant romances out there. They are the ones missing out, and I don't feel in any way as though I need to justify my reading or writing choices to them. I certainly don't need their approval. Who sets the benchmark for what is considered "good" or "worthy" anyway? It's all just opinion, and mine is just as valid as theirs.

Click here for details or to order8. Romance readers love discovering new authors. Please tell us about five books you recently read and loved to bits.

I had to look back through my e-reader to work this one out.

I'm going to count all of Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko mysteries as one for this purpose, starting with Gorky Park. Loved them all. There's romance in there, too!

Marie Force's Fool For Love, which was a re-read but loved it just as much the second time.

Sherry Thomas's The Luckiest Lady in London. Love Sherry's writing.

M.J. Scott's The Wolf Within. Sassy paranormal sexiness.

Click here for details or to orderJoan Kilby's Mad About You. Light-hearted, sexy fun with heart.

9. Please tell us your favourite scene from your latest book, and why it's particularly delicious!


Oh, it's so hard to just pick one scene. I really like the limo scene when Vivian and Seth first - ahem - meet. They're both so irreverent and spontaneous and totally in the moment. I really wanted to capture their crazy chemistry and impulsiveness and show how much they "get" each other. I particularly like it that Vivian is the one who defines the parameters of the encounter afterward, too. She's in charge, and completely unashamed of having indulged herself. And I also like how they both realise that they may have made a rod for their own backs in the future, jumping into bed with each other, since they are now, essentially family. It's a real dot-dot-dot moment. What could possibly happen next?
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In This Issue

Book of the Month

In a Category of Its Own

Australia's Favourite Romance Author
 
Introducing Destiny's Chicklit Line

Heroes and Heroines Who Break the Mould

Who Thinks Book Clubs Are About Books?

New Adults, New Titles

April Abs

New Titles in Your Favourite Series
 
Erotic Escape
 
Nine Naughty Questions
COMING SOON - MAY TITLES

Don't miss these great titles coming out in MAY - pre-order them now!
 
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BESTSELLERS
Check out what romance books other readers are picking up. These are our most popular titles!
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DON'T MISS THESE TITLES

Missed the March Romance Buzz? Here are some of my favourites from last month!



 





ARRA WINNERS

Australia voted, and these are the books that readers loved most...

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