Booktopia 
Romance Buzz
September 2009 | Edition Five
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KATE'S MONTH AHEAD
Gentle readers,

Well, what a time of it since August! The Romance Writers of Australia held their annual conference in Brisbane to celebrate Hot August Nights where I was very pleased to watch the lovely Anne Gracie win the Romantic Book of the Year award for The Stolen Princess
Princess is the first book in Anne's Devil Riders series. The third, To Catch a Bride, is my Book of the Month for September. And can I just say, it's fantastic?

Anne has written us a little piece on collaging for inspiration this month, so check it out below.

I'm spotlighting Susan Carroll's fantastic Dark Queen series this month - she ties up this magical historical series with Twilight of a Queen.

There are some great historicals this month, new instalments in long-running paranormal series, and one fantastic new Aussie romance suspense.

And don't forget to plan ahead, by pre-ordering your October books from Booktopia. Those I've spotlighted in the side column are all 20% off.

And, just cause the weather has been so great lately, I've also spotlighted some Spring Titles...
 
What I've just finished: If you've ever checked out the online romance community, chances are you've come across the Smart Bitches. Sarah and Candy started their website to celebrate the good, the bad, the hot, and the seriously ugly of the genre they both love - with as much brutal honesty as possible.

An internet phenomenon, the Smart Bitches moved to print earlier this year with Simon & Schuster and created Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels.

Just a warning, though: to avoid attracting undue attention, try not to read it in public. I laughed so hard I cried, and my cheeks hurt for days afterwards. This is a joyous look at everything we love about our favourite genre, and an honest appraisal of what needs to change. And, just for fun, there's a choose your own adventure romance in the middle!

What I'm reading now: I'm right smack-dab in the middle of Bronwyn Parry's Dark Country, featured in this month's Suspense section and is it good. Sydney Mafia, small towns, strong policewomen, and tortured heroes. It's been a tough gig, having a newsletter deadline when there are such books to be read!

What I can't wait for: There's a new Nalini Singh coming out in November that I've got my eye on... other fans of Singh's Psy-Changelings series are sure to be anticipating Blaze of Memory too! And what fan of historicals won't be looking forward to Anna Campbell's latest Captive of Sin?

Also, *cough* I've already read it, but you should definitely be looking forward to my book of the month for October, Erica Hayes's Shadowfae.

Best of reading!

Kate Cuthbert
Editor
Romance Buzz


BOOK OF THE MONTH: TO CATCH A BRIDE
Devil Riders 3

To Catch A Bride by Anne Gracie is my pick for September's Book of the Month. I first met Anne by ... well, let's call a spade a spade, shall we? I stalked her at my first Romance Writers of Australia conference four years ago. I'd just finished The Perfect Rake and I just had to gush at her about how much I loved it, and how much I loved Gideon, and how I just had to get her to sign my copy and... Well, let's just say, it wasn't pretty. Anne, however, was lovely and gracious and signed my book. And then, lovely woman that she is, a few years' later, she opened my website The Australian Romance Reader for me.

Did I mention she writes amazing, award-winning historical romances? To Catch a Bride is the third in her Devil Riders series, and a wonderful romp, with adventure, romance, more adventure, a fantastic, independent heroine, some travel, a wonderfully dry hero, well-crafted secondary characters, and pirates. Yep, pirates.

I asked Anne the age-old reader question: where do you get your ideas? She responded with 'Collage'. Collage? Collage!



People often ask writers, "Where do you get your ideas?" The truth is, ideas for stories come from everywhere: from a thought or a question, from a snippet of conversation overheard, from an image seen fleetingly — from all sorts of places. It doesn't take much to set off a story idea in a writer's mind. The difficulty is in developing that idea and making a novel out of it.

One of the tools I (and many writers) use to develop the story, the characters and the world of the story is collage: pictures and sometimes snippets of text arranged on a page.

The first author I know who did this, and got me interested in the process, was Aussie author Barbara Hannay. Since then I've discovered many authors make story collages; Jennifer Crusie, Barbara Samuel, Susan Wiggs, Jo Beverley and many more.

I start with the characters, searching through the internet or magazines, looking at faces until one will jump out at me and declare himself to be the hero. (It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it ;)) It's not simply looks, or colouring, or features — often they differ from my hero or heroine — it's their expression, their attitude, something that evokes a response in me. Sometimes only one particular photo of the same person will evoke my hero or heroine. For instance, this drawing evoked the heroine in
To Catch a Bride when she was a child – and it became a starting point for the plot.

I move on then to settings and other images. Sometimes an image will speak to me and I won't know why, but I'll cut it out or print it off and use it, knowing that my subconscious is telling me something, and sometimes that emerges as a future scene or sparks off something else.

I arrange the pictures with no conscious plan, but again, the juxtaposition of some images set off resonances that I know will feed into my book. And slowly the world on the novel emerges.

This is the story collage for, once done the collage sits on the study wall at eye-level, so I can see it from my computer. Instead of staring at a blank page, I stare into the collage. It plunges me into the world of my characters and centres me, ready to write.

I've put some collages up on my website; others remain private because they give too much of the story away. I keep them all. Once a book is finished, the collages sit on the top of the bookshelves that line my study, there to revisit, like old friends.

I'm about to start a new book, and so have begun the picture collecting process.

This is my new hero.

Yep, it's a tough job, but I'm up to it. ;)

- Anne Gracie


To Catch A Bride
RRP: $15.95, Booktopia Price: $12.95
Click here to buy this book.
SPOTLIGHT ON SUSAN CARROLL: TWILIGHT OF A QUEEN
Dark Queen 5

I seem to be admitting this a lot to you, my gentle readers, but I picked up my first Susan Carroll book (and the first of this amazing Dark Queen series) because of *cough* the cover. But really, look to the left. Can you blame me?

Set in medieval France, the Dark Queen quintet follows the battle between Catherine de Medici (the titular Dark Queen) and the Lady of the Faire Isle, Ariane.

They're historical romance, but set apart from your average novel by the detail, the richness of the prose, and the touch of magic woven all the way through.

Oh yeah...and just look at those covers! My favourite of the series is The Silver Rose but this series is really best enjoyed from start to finish. And trust me - you will enjoy.

If you're after what happens in this very last tome of this truly wonderful series, here's a review as spoiler free as possible: It's 1588. The Spanish Armada is on its way. War is looming, and one man could topple the two most powerful women - and rulers - in the world.

Catherine de Medici turns to Louis Xavier, a ruthless corsair who was schooled in the dark arts and has mastered piracy along the Spanish main. On Faire Isle, Ariane Cheney, unaware of the escalating threat from the Dark Queen, struggles to protect the daughters of the earth and their vast store of ancient magical wisdom. But Catherine is about to make a deal that will determine the fates of all.

Tempted, yet? Oh just go back and take one more look at the cover!

Twilight of a Queen

RRP: $29.95, Booktopia price: $23.95
Click here to buy this book.
PULSE-POUNDING PARANORMALS
Technically a fantasy, not a paranormal, but well worth reading, Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder is out this month. She's joined by a few well-stocked anthologies, including Unbound, which features amazing YA author Melissa Marr's first adult story. If you're unfamiliar with Melissa Marr, walk, don't run to get Wicked/Lovely - one of the most nuanced paranormal romances ever.
 
MAGIC STUDY
Study 2

A couple of months ago I raved about Maria V Snyder's Poison Study calling it one of my favourite books of the year. Did I mention it had a sequel? Oh yes, yes it does. I know it's kind of cheating to use marketing text, but this made me laugh: 'So far, I've managed to survive. You would think after being kidnapped as a child, imprisoned in my teens and released to become a poison taster, I would have endured enough. But no. The discovery of my magical abilities—powers forbidden in Ixia—has resulted in an execution order.'

It is the blurb from the back of the book, but it absolutely captures what makes these books so wonderful - the danger and darkness is balanced by Yelena's wit, tenacity, and sheer determination to survive. And, yes, because it's me, I have to mention how fabulous the covers are. Really, is there a cover revolution going on? More and more beautiful covers, less and less billowy hair and naked chests. Not that I have anything against naked chests.

Sorry, distracted: Magic Study and predecessor Poison Study: fabulous, engrossing romantic fantasy.

Magic Study
RRP: $19.99, Booktopia Price: $15.99
Click here to buy this book.
BEWITCHING SEASON
  BETRAYING SEASON
Lelands sisters 1

This first book in this duet from Marissa Doyle about magical twins has been out for a little while now, but in no way got the attention it so richly deserves.

Twins Persephone (yeah, her name is Persephone... it's okay, you get over it) and Penelope Leland are about to embark on their first London season with very different attitudes. Pen can’t wait to flirt with handsome young men at parties, but Persy (yeah, they call her Persy... you get over that too) would far rather stay home and continue her magic studies. When the twins discover that their governess has been kidnapped as part of a dastardly plot to enchant the soon-to-be Queen, they’re determined to find and save them both. Along the way, Persy learns that a good lady’s maid is hard to find, that one should never cast a love spell on anyone after drinking too much brandy punch at a party, that pesky little brothers can sometimes come in handy, and that husband hunting isn’t such a horrible task after all, if you can find the right quarry.

Charming is used all the time in relation to romance novels, but this one deserves the moniker.

Bewitching Season
RRP: $31.95, Booktopia Price: $25.59
Click here to buy this book.
  Leland sisters 2

The follow-up to Marissa Doyle's utterly charming Bewitching Season is now available. Lucky are those who haven't yet discovered these two books 'cause you can read them together, and not have to wait to find out what happens to Pen.

Penelope (Pen) Leland has come to Ireland to study magic and prove to herself that she is as good a witch as her twin sister, Persy (really, you get over that name. I promise). But when the dashing Niall Keating starts showing up, she can’t help being distracted from her studies.

Little does Pen know, (she's the heroine, after all, and isn't aware that she's about to sign on to a  mother-in-law-from-hell ) Niall is acting upon orders from his sorceress mother. And although it starts as a sham, Niall eventually realises what is in front of him and falls deeply in love with Pen, and she with him. But even if he manages to stop his mother’s evil plan, will Pen be able to forgive him for trying to seduce her into a plot? And will she be able to resist using her newly strengthened magic to give him a good butt-kicking?

Betraying Season
RRP: $31.95, Booktopia Price: $25.59
Click here to buy this book.

OBSIDIAN PREY
  DARK SLAYER
  BORN OF NIGHT
Ghost Hunters 6

Jayne Castle brings us the latest in her futuristic/sci fi romance series Ghost Hunters. If you haven't picked up Castle yet, you might already be familiar with her work: know Amanda Quick? Jayne Ann Krentz? Same author. Same warm, humourous stories; same loveable characters. The Castle books though, also come with the cutest pets ever: the dust bunnies!

Obsidian Prey sees amber tuner and independent prospector Lyra Dore reunite with  cut-throat businessman Cruz Sweetwater - a man she hasn't seen since he stole her heart and her amethyst ruin find-of-a-lifetime. At least she has her artistically talented dust bunny to comfort her.

But the ruin's mysterious power is suddenly causing problems, and Lyra and Cruz are going to have to work together to solve them.

Obsidian Prey
RRP: $15.95, Booktopia Price: $12.95
Click here to buy this book.


  Carpathian 17

One of romance's longest running series, and one of the seminal paranormal series, Christine Feehan's Carpathians have captured imaginations - and our alpha-male-loving hearts for more than a decade. Dark Slayer has a twist though... this Carpathian? Well she turns out to be an alpha fe-male!

Ivory - a rare Carpathian female - has been protected by her brothers for most of her life. But then she goes and frees the  mage Razvan from his prison cave, making them both enemies of Carpathian hunters as well as vampires. But Ivory senses that Razvan is more than he appears to be, and she finds herself fighting against the entire Carpathian race to help him, risking both their lives in order to save their love.

Dark Slayer
Hardcover
RRP:  $48.95, Booktopia Price: $39.35
Click here to buy this book.

  A League Novel

The third of three powerhouse series, Sherrilyn Kenyon offers up another League novel for those who just can't get enough of those morally ambiguous (but so definitely sexy) League men.

Command Assassin Nykyrian Quikiades (don't ask me to pronounce that... or ever spell it again!)  once turned his back on the League — and they're not really the forgive and forget type. In actuality, they're more of the hunt him down and kill him type. But no one's ever quite managed to - or to stop  him from protecting Kiara,  a woman whose father’s political alliance has made her a target. 

Course Kiara's not all that fussed about trusting the same kind of beast that killed her mother. Sparks  - and bullets - will fly.

Born of Night
RRP: $15.95, Booktopia Price: $12.95
Click here to buy this book.

COVET

Fallen Angels 1

JR Ward has been a bit hush-hush about this new series: but I think readers can be guaranteed the same breathless, edge-of-your-seat thrill-ride she's become famous for through The Black Dagger Brotherhood. Besides,
Fallen Angels seem like just the kind of bad boy that Ward excels at.

Redemption isn't a word Jim Heron knows much about - his speciality is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and his charge is saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. And failure is not an option. Vin DiPietro long ago sold his soul to his business, and he's good with that - until fate intervenes in the form of a tough-talking, Harley-riding, self-professed saviour. But then he meets a woman who will make him question his destiny, his sanity, and his heart - and he has to work with a fallen angel to win her over and redeem his own soul.

This title is a Booktopia Special - 40% off!

Covet
RRP: $19.95, Booktopia Price: $11.95
Click here to buy this book.

MUST LOVE HELLHOUNDS
Anthology

I don't think I need to say much about this book beyond listing off the powerhouse names contained there within: Charlaine HarrisNalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, and Meljean Brooks.

What more could a paranormal reader want?

Descriptions of the novellas? Oh fine:

Follow paranormal bodyguards Clovache and Batanya into Lucifer's realm, where they encounter his fearsome four-legged pets, in Charlaine Harris's The Britlingens Go to Hell. Seek out a traitor who intends to eradicate the entire species of vampires, in Nalini Singh's Angels' Judgment. Find out why the giant three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades has left the underworld for the real world - and whose scent he's following - in Ilona Andrews' Magic Mourns. Embark on a perilous search for the kidnapped niece of a powerful vampire alongside her blind - and damn sexy - companion and a hellhound in Meljean Brook's Blind Spot.

Cat people? Please...

Must love Hellhounds
RRP: $28.95, Booktopia Price: $23.95
Click here to buy this book.
THE FIRE KING
  LIVING WITH THE DEAD
  I ONLY HAVE FANGS FOR YOU
Dirk & Steele 9

Marjorie M Liu not only writes the most fast-paced, heart-pounding paranormal adventure romances, she also writes graphic novels in the Wolverine universe. How cool is that? Also, the Dirk & Steele novels have their own facebook page... just in case you wanted to be friends!

Long ago, shape-shifters were plentiful, soaring through the sky as crows, racing across African plains as cheetahs, raging furious as dragons atop the Himalayas. Like gods, they reigned supreme. But even gods have laws, and those laws, when broken, destroy.

Zoufalství. Epätoivo. Asa. Three words in three very different languages, and yet Soria understands. Like all members of Dirk & Steele, she has a gift, and hers is communication.  When she is chosen to learn the dead language of a shape-shifter resurrected after thousands of years of icy sleep, she discovers a warrior consumed with fury.

Strong as a lion, quick as a serpent — in his day Karr was king. But fire consumed all he loved, Now, against his will, he has awoken.  Zoufalství. Epätoivo. Asa. In English, the word is despair. But Soria knows the words for love.

The Fire King
RRP: $15.95, Booktopia Price: $12.95
Click here to buy this book.

  Women of the Otherworld 9

I was given Bitten, the first of these smart, sexy, stories from Kelley Armstrong as a gift. In Canada, it came out in hardcover with a beautiful cover, and it quickly became one of my favourite romance novels of all time - and living proof that a romance told in the first person can work. Each subsequent novel has only cemented this discovery.  Living with the Dead revisits characters from an earlier story in a new adventure, but with a continuing romance.  Which is fantastic, because I don't think I'm the only reader who wanted a little more time with half-demon Hope and her sort-of boyfriend Karl.

Robyn Peltier moved to Los Angeles shortly after her young husband’s sudden and unexpected death. Her hope was that her hectic new life as the PR consultant to a spoiled celebutante would provide a distraction from her grief. But when her client is murdered, Robyn finds herself on the run as the prime suspect. And as more bodies pile up around her, it seems only her friend, tabloid journalist Hope Adams, is on her side.

But the only way Hope can save her friend is by letting her enter a world she’s safer knowing nothing about.

Living with the Dead
RRP: $13.95, Booktopia Price: $11.95
Click here to buy this book.

  Young Brothers 3

Tired of paranormal angst? Want to see the lighter side of fangs? Lucky for you, Kathy Love has just the series for you... and is that Steven Segal on the cover?

One thing you should know about Young brother Sebastian: he loves being a vampire. It's got all the perks of a perfect life: he's always twenty-five., always single, and, well, he's also a magnet for women.  And his nightclub, Carfax Abbey (how clever!) is just the sort of happening spot that a young, hip vampire can really sink his teeth in to.
But Wilhemina Weiss has just taken a job as a waitress, and she's more than she seems. Smart, sexy, spirited, and on a mission to  bring Carfax Abbey down.

Vampire reformer meets undead bad boy. Sebastian's brothers have already succumbed to the love of a good woman. No way is Sebastian going to be next.

Not that Wilhemina is at all interested in taming him anyway.

I Only Have Fangs For You
RRP: $12.95, Booktopia Price: $10.55
Click here to buy this book.

MORE IN PARANORMAL
Can't get enough of the alternate side of reality? There's more September titles here:
  • She has a chance to go back in time and change her life. But what if it's her destiny? Susan Squires' Time for Eternity.
  • Not all hunters are bound by human laws...Kim Harrison and others, including the first adult thriller from Melissa Marr in Unbound.

  • He is cursed to spread doubt, so he shuns the bedroom in favour of the battleground, until she shows up. Gena Showalter's The Darkest Whisper.

  • She's buried herself away in books, refusing to believe. Then he shows up, ready to sweep her away into a world of dangerous secrets. Christina Dodd's Storm of Shadows.

  • She's not out to save the world tonight... but the undead just crashed her party. What's a shaman to do? CE Murphy's Walking Dead.

  • Ghost? Check. Whispering Plants? Check. Bonus Charm recipe? Check. Yasemine Galenorn's A Harvest of Bones.

  • Who better than a dragon to thaw an icy demeanour? Who better than a beast to tame a dragon's heart? GA Aiken's What a Dragon Should Know.

  • They must atone for their sins, and she must save all she loves from a ruthless killer. The first in a new series. VK Forrest's Eternal.
KEEPING IT CONTEMPORARY
LUCKY BREAK
  SLIDING HOME
Lucky 3

The Corwin curse continues with the third in Carly Phillips' Lucky Break. Phillips is one of the queens of contemporary romances, and one of its most prolific writers. Readers don't have to read this series in order: each book stands by itself. But one taste of the Corwin brothers might not be enough!

Jason Corwin knows he should resist Lauren Perkins - she is the great-great-great-(or whatever) -granddaughter of the person who cursed his family.  But after tripping and falling - into bed - with her, he just can't seem to give her up. 

Lauren, on the other hand, only wants to sell her grandmother's house and leave it behind her forever. 'Course after tripping and falling - into bed - with Jason it's suddenly a bit more complicated.  And then there's that tantalising hope of breaking the Corwin curse forever...

Lucky Break
RRP: $15.95, Booktopia Price: $12.75
Click here to buy this book.


  Richmond Rogues 4

On paper, it just doesn’t look like professional athletes would make very good romance heroes. After all, for most women, professional sports are the one true contender for their partner’s affection. If that partner actually plays professional sport, then every problem is suddenly compounded. But there's just something about those athletic heroes... and it's not the size of the baseball bats.

Well, it's not all about the size of the baseball bat.
 
Someone's moved into Kason Rhodes' house. And it doesn't matter how sexy the squatter might be. He has a dog, and his baseball diamond, and he doesn't need anyone else. Specially not Dayne Sheridan, the cute tomboy who really knows how to cook.

Sliding Home
RRP: $15.95, Booktopia Price: $12.95
Click here to buy this book.
I NEED MORE

There's something about a couple reuniting in romance. The history, the way that memories just don't seem to fade. Stories can be deeper, more emotional. Just like Kimberley White's new one about a husband who only wants the best for his wife... even if it means leaving her.

Dr. Erika Johnson's life couldn't get any better... until the day her husband Brock suddenly leaves her without a word of explanation. Stunned, Erika has no choice but to cobble together a new life on her own. So she serves Brock with divorce papers. But he doesn't want to sign.

All Brock ever wanted was to bring joy into Erika's life, not pain or suffering. So he leaves her, but never gets over her. Being served with divorce papers brings it home - can he tell her? Can they face the future?

I Need More
RRP: $13.95, Booktopia Price: $10.95
Click here to buy this book

MORE IN CONTEMPORARY
Looking for some playful present-day stories? Check out these September releases:
  • Two couples, two paths to love, two fantastic stories. Nora Roberts Serendipity.

  • Each day can be a gift - if you're willing to claim it, in Fern Michael's The Scoop.

  • A misunderstanding, a meddling daughter, and a second chance at love in Debbie Macomber's 92 Pacific Boulevard.

  • When business is slow, beggars can't be choosers, and a job with the FBI gives her a chance to show off her skills. Victoria Laurie's Doom with a View.
SPELL-BINDING SUSPENSE
Two Sandra Brown novels, and one rip-roarer of an Australian romantic suspense from Bronwn Parry make September a thrilling month!

SMASH CUT
  THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
Who needs an introduction to New York Times Bestseller Sandra Brown? Her latest thriller is set in the movie world, with a strong southern woman and a lawyer fabulously reminiscent of Chicago's Billy Flynn.

Julie is walking hand-in-hand with Paul Wheeler when he's shot dead during a robbery gone bad. Suddenly she's caught up in a family drama, between potential murderers and a lawyer who wants the next headline.

Making a few bad decisions, Julie gets caught in a few lies, and ends up suspected of casting blame to cove her own crimes. Derek knows this case could break him into the big time, but he can't stop his jealousy thinking about Julie and her ex-lover.

Smash Cut
RRP: $32.99, Booktopia Price: $27.99
Click here to buy this book.
  Thank Harlequin Austraila for this re-release of two classic Sandra Brown novels. Hang on to the edge of your seat!

The Devil You Know
Kerry Bishop prepared for the fight of her life to save nine children. But she wasn't prepared for Linc O'Neil, and the passion that will distract her from her mission.

The Thrill Of Victory
Stevie Corbett has just two weeks to make a monumental decision, and keep the truth a secret, at all costs. Course, Judd Mackie's job is to uncover secrets. He's waited years for the chance to scoop the Stevie's story. All he needs to do is betray her.

The Devil You Know
RRP: $32.99, Booktopia Price: $26.39
Click here to buy this book.

DARK COUNTRY
Bronwyn Parry took Australia by a storm with When Darkness Calls, her first romantic suspense, set in bush New South Wales. Now she's back with Dark Country, another story set in... well, what seems to be one heck of an unlucky small town.

Luckily, however, that small town is peopled with strong characters and ethically sound police women.

Be warned though - the heroine of this suspenseful little story is a redhead, even if the girl on the cover is blonde. Dunno if that's a pet peeve anyone else shares with me!

Most people in the small town of Dungirri have considered Gil a murderer for eighteen years, so he expects no welcome on his return. What he doesn’t expect, however, is a woman’s dead body in the boot of his car.

Wearied by too many deaths and too many long hours, local police sergeant Kris Matthews isn’t sure what to do about Gil. But she does know that he is not guilty of this murder – because she is his alibi.

Dark Country
RRP: $32.99,  Booktopia Price: $26.59
Click here to buy this book.
FEEL THE HEAT
  WATCH ME
Black Ops 4
 
Meet the men and women of Cindy Gerard's Black Ops series - tough, strong, bold, and much too busy for love... Oh how much fun it is to watch the mighty fall!

B. J. Chase isn't exactly thrilled when she's summoned from personal leave to investigate an alarming national security breach - especially when one suspicious death leaves her undercover mission not so much undercover.

Raphael Mendoza never expected his family's secrets included the key to dismantling a rogue weapons system. Undercover with BJ Chase as his fiancée, he returns to Colombia to face his uncle, and learn his family's dirtiest tricks.

Feel the Heat
RRP: $15.95, Booktopia Price: $12.95
Click here to buy this book.

  Last stand 3

I've made it a personal pledge to never read Brenda Novak stories alone at night. Creepy, well-crafted, and down right spooky, the Last Stand series will keep you up at night.

Teenagers Sheridan Kohl and Jason Wyatt were parked at the lake in Whiterock, Tennessee, when a stranger wearing a ski mask shot them both. Sheridan lived but Jason died — and the stranger was never caught. Sheridan's family  moved away immediately afterwards, but a new development in the case brings Sheridan back to Whiterock. But someone is not happy to have her back home.

Cain knows that whoever killed his brother probably isn't a stranger at all... He also knows that if it weren't for Sheridan, Jason would not have been in that car. But he has to put that all behind him in order to catch the killer.

Watch Me
RRP: $18.99, Booktopia Price: $15.59
Click here to buy this book.

MORE IN SUSPENSE
After even more thrills and chills? Check out these September titles:
  • He's lied to her for as long as he's known her, but his desire is true. Will she believe him? Roxanne St Claire's Hunt Her Down.

  • He believes her baby brother is a murderer; she believes he's got the wrong man. Can they trust each other enough to find the real killer? Jill Sorenson's Set the Dark on Fire.

  • He loved her, then he lost her. Now they have to work together on their most dangerous mission yet. Marliss Melton's Show No Fear.

  • A cold-case killing provides the link to a serial killer with a religious twist. Can they find him in time to prevent more deaths? Mariah Stewart's Acts of Mercy.

  • She wants to rebuild her life, but everything reminds her of her murdered husband. The killer has never been caught. And it looks like he's striking again. Beverly Barton's Silent Killer.
HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER HISTORICALS
I've featured a few of my very favourite authors, and a couple of names to watch in this month's Historicals. Enjoy!

TEMPT ME AT TWILIGHT
The Hathaways 3

Oh how I love a Lisa Kleypas romance. Known for taking her regency historical out of the ballroom, Kleypas always delivers truly original characters, and truly memorable happy endings.

The Hathaways series starts with Mine till Midnight, and is loosely tied to Kleypas's Wallflowers series.

Poppy Hathaway loves her unconventional family, but desperately longs for normalcy. Meeting Harry Rutledge, an enigmatic hotel owner and inventor leaves her reputation compromised, and she must accept his proposal. However forced the wedding, Poppy is not willing to accept less than everything in her marriage.

Harry is willing to do anything for Poppy, except risk his heart. But now she's demanding all of him. And if wants to keep her, he's going to have to give in.

Tempt Me At Twilight
RRP: $15.95, Booktopia Price: $12.95
Click here to buy this book.
ONE WEEK AS LOVERS
  HER NOTORIOUS VISCOUNT
Keep an eye on Victoria Dahl. This up-and-comer is making a name for herself and generating a lot of buzz. Hop on the bandwagon now, so you can say "I read her when..."  This story of an honourable man and a childhood friendship is an excellent place to start.

Even after finding his betrothed in the arms of another man, Nicholas, the Viscount Lancaster, knows that propriety and the dire state of his finances means he has to wed. But at least if he visits his country estates, he won't have to play the loving fianc
é

When Nicholas left for London to assume his new title, Cynthia was forced to put aside her girlish infatuation. Now he's back, attractive as ever, and this time Cynthia is determined to defy convention, and chase her heart's desire.

One Week As Lovers
RRP: $14.95, Booktopia Price: $11.95
Click here to buy this book.

  Jenna Peterson is another author to watch, winning acclaim for her previous novels, if not yet quite achieving superstardom. Don't worry... it's practically inevitable. Find out why, by checking out this tale of a very, very bad man, and the very, very good woman who captures him.

Even being mentioned in the same breath as Viscount Nicholas Stoneworth is enough to ruin a lady's reputation. The man's spent years in London's underworld pursuing every vice he could find, while gaining fame and fortune as a pit fighter. Of course, now he's gone and gained himself a title. But that doesn't make him respectable.

Circumstances may have forced Jane into the role of ladies' companion, but she knows the danger of associating with a notorious man like Nicholas. Her brother disappeared into the same underworld four long years ago, and if she teaches Nicholas the ways of a gentleman, he will use his connections to find him. Jane just has to keep control. Just keep control.

Her Notorious Viscount
RRP: $14.99, Booktopia Price: $12.95
Click here to buy this book.
WICKED ALL DAY

Liz Carlyle! If there's a wittier historical writer out there, I haven't encountered her. Each one of Liz's novels is a delight and a treasure. Each one of Liz's characters is a delight and a treasure. I... I'm out of hyperboles. You'll have to just trust me and read!

Miss Zoë Armstrong is beautiful, charming, rich - and utterly unmarriageable. So, while she may be the ton's most sparkling diamond, her choice of husbands is more of a list of London's most unsavory fortune hunters. So she might as well play the part of flirt and matchmaker, and enjoy herself while she can.

Stuart Rowland, the brooding Marquess of Mercer, has been part of Zoë's extended family since she was a child. As dark and cynical as Zoë is lively, Mercer has always known they would be the worst possible match, until he has to rescue his brother Robert and save Zo
ë from a match made in Hell.

Wicked All Day
RRP: $15.95, Booktopia Price: $12.95
Click here to buy this book.

NEVER LOVE A LAWMAN
If there aren't enough contemporary romances out there, there are definitely not enough Western historicals. Luckily, Jo Goodman has applied her signature rich, detailed, edgy style to the old West. Historical readers will love this new setting, and a new society where rules are made to be broken. And I have to admit to a certain softness for arranged marriages stories. Anyone else share my love?

Sheriff Wyatt Cooper (just an aside: is there a more perfect Western romance hero name than that?) knows that Rachel is much more than a beautiful newcomer to Reidsville, Colorado. She controls the railway. But that doesn't mean he's going to let her control his little mining town. Or that he has to agree to the terms of the will.

Rachel is stuck with an impossible decision. If she agrees to the surprising stipulation in her benefactor's will - that she marry Wyatt - then she'll have the railway. If she refuses, all of Reidsville will end up in the hands of a cruel tyrant. But can she make a life worth living here, with Wyatt?

Never Love A Lawman
RRP: $13.95, Booktopia Price: $10.95
Click here to buy this book.
MORE IN  HISTORICALS
Can't get enough historicals? Check out these titles, also available this month:
  • A boorish cousin, a Cinderella transformation, and an unexpected development in this re-release of a Stephanie Laurens' classic, Impetuous Innocent.

  • What to do when your spy husband abandons you for a mission? Play the spy game yourself. Jillian Hunter's A Wicked Lord at the Wedding.

  • The last of the MacLean brothers finds love as Karen Hawkins ties up her Scottish series with The Laird who Loved me.

  • Runaway bride, handsome privateer, high seas adventure in new author Tessa Dare's Surrender of a Siren.

  • The original Byron was mad, bad, and dangerous to know. What about his family? Tracey Anne Warren's Seduced by his Touch.

  • Never Marry a Stranger... except when extraordinarily desperate and he's probably dead. Gayle Callen.

  • He's returned from war to battle an even more terrifying force - his family. Luckily she's agreed to help. Kasey Michaels' How to Tempt a Duke.
EXCITING, ENTICING EROTIC ROMANCE
It's not only the spring weather that's heating things up this September. Check out the new titles in Erotic Romance...

MORTAL SEDUCTIONS   BELONG TO THE NIGHT
Mortal 2

Menage romances are the hottest thing in romance right now. Combine that with a reformed demon, a shapeshifter, and a cajun ex-army man and you've got a recipe for one of the hottest romances around. Check out Allyson James and Mortal Seductions.

It will take the love of two men to save a powerful goddess. For three thousand years Dimitri, a ferociously sexy tiger shape-shifter, has loved Valenarian. Her vengeance demon ways behind her, she now brings couples together to live happily ever after. But Dimitri isn't alone. Leon, a Cajun ex-army medic, has also fallen under the lovely goddess's spell. Unfortunately the gods have never believed in Valenarian's reform and want to punish her. Can Dimitri and Leon step in and make it all better?

Mortal Seductions

RRP: $28.95, Booktopia Price: $23.55
Click here to buy this book
  Anthology

Three of the hottest authors in Erotic Romance come together for an anthology about creatures of the night. Who can resist a full moon?

She has enough to worry about, what with controlling her supernatural abilities, to even think about throwing lust into the mix. Shelly Laurenston's "The Wolf, The Witch, and Her Lack of Wardrobe".

Sure her best chance of catching the bad guy is by teaming up with him. But how will they get any work done when desire keeps getting in the way? Cynthia Eden's "In the Dark".

She's a witch with a plan - one that doesn't include any sexy Cajun cops. Sherrill Quinn's "City of the Dead"

Belong to the Night
RRP: $24.75, Booktopia Price: $21.50
Click here to buy this book.
THE LAST SEDUCTION
Readers may already be familiar with Sharon Page, due to her career in e-publishing. I know her as one of the most innovative historical erotic romance writers - an area that most erotic romance writers don't delve into.

However, those of us who love historical erotic romance, love Sharon Page - as is evidenced by her Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice award, and the fact she just hit the USA Today Bestsellers' list.

Five years ago, Lady Madeline Ashby’s testimony helped send him away to prison — but Jack Travers never forgot that she also showed him kindness. Now Jack has escaped – and Madeline has tracked him down, determined to clear Jack’s name. But Jack isn't willing to let her risk herself for him. And Madeline isn't willing to risk herself without payment.

The Last Seduction
RRP: $17.95,  Booktopia Price: $14.25
Click here to buy this book.
HEAT SEEKERS   HOT FOR THE HOLIDAYS
I had lots to say about Lora Leigh when her latest Breeds book came out last month. At that time I neglected to mention some of her other ongoing series. Bad Kate!

This one has the added bonus of a plot point set around Australia.

John Vincent has every reason to wish to remain as dead as the obituary in the papers has proclaimed him to be. He left nothing behind he wishes to hold on to - except her.

Bailey Serborne is still tormented by a past she can’t change and a man she can't forget.  But sometimes fate gives a woman  a second chance.

Heat Seekers
RRP: $16.95, Booktopia Price: $13.55
Click here to buy this book.
  Anthology

Some of the hottest names in Erotic Romance have joined together to create this, the first of the Christmas-related titles. I've already spoken about Lora Leigh and Allyson James in this newsletter. They're joined by one of my personal favourites thanks to my love of all things Arthurian, Angela Knight, and shooting star Anya Bast for  four novellas of sensual surprises and seasonal spirits.

PS: what a strategically placed candy cane!

Hot for the Holidays
RRP: $15.95, Booktopia Price: $12.95
Click here to buy this book.

WANT MORE EROTIC ROMANCE?
Check out these erotic romance titles, also available in September:
  • Meet three women, each named for the trait that best reveals their purpose, in Megan Hart's Pleasure and Purpose.

  • The next edition of this best-selling anthology promises dark pleasure and sensual intimacies: Kate Douglas's Sexy Beast VII.

  • Take me to your leader... or better yet, just take me. Karen Kendall's Bad Boy's Guide to the Galaxy.
   
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Historicals
Erotica
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COMING SOON - PREORDER NOW!

Keeping an eye on what's coming up in the next couple of months? Want to guarantee it hits your mailbox as soon as possible? Why not pre-order and sleep soundly knowing the books you crave already have your name on them? And there are some quality titles coming up soon! Here are the ones I'm keeping an eye on...
SHADOWFAE
Erica Hayes
CAPTIVE OF SIN
Anna Campbell
A TOUCH OF DEAD
Charlaine Harris
BLAZE OF MEMORY
Nalini Singh
MAKE HER PAY
Roxanne St Claire
BED OF ROSES
Nora Roberts
THE CARE AND TAMING OF A ROGUE
Suzanne Enoch
THE WICKED DUKE TAKES A WIFE
Jillian Hunter
+ READ MORE
SPRING FEVER
When I was growing up, my grandmother always had a little poem she'd quote, right around this time of year:
Spring has sprung
The grass has riz
I wonders where the birdies is?  Putting aside for the moment the grammatical problems...and the fact that the poem works much better in a Canadian context, where the birds actually go away for the winter, I think we can all agree that spring is a magical time of year. As the days heat up, and the sun stays out longer, there's a sense of rebirth and romance... and the chance to sit out in the sun with a good book. Like, say, one of the Spring titles below, including one of my all time favourites Goddess of Spring!


GODDESS OF SPRING
PC Cast
A PROMISE FOR SPRING
Kim Vogel Sawyer
SCANDAL IN SPRING
Lisa Kleypas
COME THE SPRING
Julie Garwood
FLOWER FAIRIES OF THE SPRING
Cicely Mary Barker
SPRING FEVER
PG Wodehouse