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Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Ricardo Mejías

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Ricardo Mejías, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

Romance in a relationship is a lot like dancing. Not the spontaneous kind, but one that requires practice. There’s an art to it, and when it comes to art there is always an ideal form one aspires to; dancers appear surreal to those watching; elegant in motion, graceful, years of hard work made to look effortless. But no one can be perfect. They can have moments, beautiful and brief moments that take our breath away, but even perfect moments are only meant to be remembered, not lived. And this can be disheartening, always trying to be at your best, straining to get it right.

This is only one point of view. Just as there are many ways to dance, there are many ways to interact with love. But for me, romance is a passionate exercise in living outside yourself. It is learning to dance with your partner. Discovering how they move, the beauty in their steps so refreshingly new and yet complementary to your own; figuring out ways to glide and sashay across the floor, together; knowing you are only as strong as your partner, savoring in the ache of your muscles, relishing in the many mistakes that will follow because that means there is still work to be done.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Ineffable, tinged in sadness, made to look elegant and is in constant motion, forever practicing with the one you love on a vast stage. It is hard and never truly ends. It is sweat and tears. It is earned.

I find the more beautiful an idea or object, the greater the weight of sorrow it carries. It can be easy to fall into the fantasy of pure romance, with stories ending on a note of warmth and comfort because they, by nature, necessitate a beginning and end. But we do not live in chapters, and because we inherently know this we can be pulled even more towards that ideal—ironically adding to the pain we seek to avoid.

My writing has always been infused with this sentiment. Romanticizing love’s other half, celebrating the elegant figure of Imperfection but always keeping the bigger picture in mind; you may trip and hurt yourself in the process, but it is worth it. There are very few happy endings to my stories. My prose is never settled, never really content with itself. It can always be better, and a lot of times I hate it. But I keep writing, and when I edit my work I am flirting, knowing I will always come back for more even if it is not exactly how I want it, that sometimes I may have writer’s block and sometimes I will have so much to say but no words to write them down, yet the page will always be waiting for me, whispering gently: there will be moments…brief, perfect moments to remember.

And how incredibly romantic is that? I fall for it every time.

So true! Life is a lot like writing; there are often hurdles to overcome, but in the end it is a worthy endeavor. I believe the same about romance. Those very real, normal moments and struggles combine with the small, beautiful, perfect ones to create a canvas. And from that you can build a future with the person that calls to your soul. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Ricardo! A pleasure to have you here! ♥
Guest Bio

Ricardo Mejías discovered his love for prose in his senior year of high school while taking a creative writing course. He majored in Creative Writing at SUNY New Paltz with a double minor in philosophy. Wanting to learn more about the publishing industry, he pursued an editorial career and worked at Disney Hyperion as an Assistant Editor. Currently residing in New York with his wife, he’s now looking to explore new careers as well as develop his writing and poetry crafts.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

Thanks again, Ricardo, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author K.C. Sprayberry visits us on May 9th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

1 Comment

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Poetry, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Debbie White

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Debbie White, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

When I was asked if I’d like to participate in Marie’s theme of what romance meant to me, I was hoping I could truly make it work with my schedule. After all, I am a romance writer. As I sat and contemplated with my hands positioned on the keyboard ready to type away, I realized that romance is more about the journey for me than an actual moment or incident. I’ll explain.

Just as in my romance books, the couple doesn’t start off being romantic. They build up to it.  They meet, they talk, they gather information that leads them to their next step in the romantic dance.

Romance, for me, is the same way. We just celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary. That’s a big deal, especially in today’s throw-away world. It hasn’t always been easy. Oh, heck no. We got married young and so financial worries were always front and center. Back then, romance was probably kissing and well…you know the other stuff young people do. Then we had a family and life got pretty busy. After taking care of babies all day, exhausted and often falling into bed with my clothes on, romance was the last thing on my mind. As the kids got older, we seemed to be even busier if that was possible. Often it was while lying in bed with our eyes shut, resting from the day’s work, that we’d snuggle and talk.

During those years, romance was probably more about celebrating anniversaries with a nice dinner out.

Then we fast forward to our soon to be retired years. We’re empty nesters now and have a few more pennies to our name. We still find time to be romantic – we have more free time, that’s for sure. But for me, romance is about remembering me with a thoughtful gesture or an unexpected bouquet of flowers or taking me out to dinner at the spur of the moment – no special day to celebrate, just celebrating each other. Or when he tries his hand at cooking dinner and even sets the table with candles and flowers, or when he surprises me with a thoughtful gift – just out of the blue. These are the romantic moments that make up our journey and what ultimately romance means to me.

And the two things we’ve done from the very beginning of our life together have been to start the day with a kiss and words of wishes for a great day, and end the day with a kiss and I love you. It’s worked for 42 years and no matter how angry, upset or tired we are, we always make sure we say and do this little ritual. Even at four in the morning when he’s leaving for his long commute to the city, he doesn’t leave the bedroom before kissing me and telling me he loves me. Sometimes my reply is a mumble, but I always let him hear those words from me before he starts his day.

Romance can be different things to different people, but for me, it’s the regular and mutual showing of appreciation and caring every day and not just on special days.

Very true! You made some great points there. Oh, and Happy Anniversary! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by with your heartwarming guest post, Debbie! Lovely to have you here! ♥
Guest Bio

Debbie currently lives in northern California where the jagged coast meets rolling hills dotted with vineyards. When she’s not writing the next best-selling romance novel, she’s spending time with her family, traveling, wine tasting and anything to do with the outdoors.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

 

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

 

Thanks again, Debbie, for giving us your take on what romance itself has come to mean to you. Beautiful! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Lashanta Charles visits us on April 27th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

5 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Romance

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Isobelle Cate

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is our second post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Isobelle Cate, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

Romance can come in many forms. For many romance authors, romance might be equivalent to lust. It is after all, the first stage of getting to know each other in books. The words that flow from pens or computers are aimed at titillating the reader, coaxing a basic need to be swept away by their imaginations of being made loved to by an alpha male.

Is romance erotica? There is only so much a writer can do when incorporating sex in every chapter of a book. The dictum ‘less is more’ may come to the fore to keep a reader’s attention. There should also be a story that draws the reader in to want to turn the page. It may be good for the first book of a series or even a standalone. But if the basic writing formula is not tweaked or – heaven forbid – becomes predictable with the same words and almost similar descriptions of previous works, at the very least your possible fan will just close the book or tap on their kindle to find another book to read. And your novel will be relegated to their own ‘slush’ pile of forgettable books, never to be seen again.

 

Is sweetness and light ‘romance’? Probably to some; but definitely not by a long stretch. Readers might call it cute. Others can consider it ‘saccharine enough to develop diabetes just by reading the book. Is romance a knight in shining armor or a shiny Harley or Ducati, sweeping a damsel in distress to safety? Not really. Damsels in stories nowadays are strong women who do not scream (think Janet Leigh in Psycho) at the first sight of the big bad handsome antagonist. Damsels are kick-ass women who have the wherewithal to put the opposition down. She becomes a partner of the alpha protagonist and saves the day.

Then, what is romance? To me romance is about souls and hearts. It’s where two souls know that their hearts will meet. It’s when two hearts know that whatever the odds, they will come out of it as better individuals.

Even if the end game is the end of the relationship.

A sucker for pain? No, not really. But romance isn’t happily ever after all the time, is it? It’s the journey of figuratively a thousand deaths, souls forged in fire, tempered in strength, and knowing in the end that either two people were meant to be or it just isn’t the right time. Maybe soon…

Romance squeezes the hearts that keep coming back to be burned in love’s furnace. Romance is that moment when one feels hollow when the other heart isn’t around. Heck, it is also missing that heart even when s/he’s around just because they can’t get enough of each other. Romance is when hearts say what mouths can’t because there is this fear of being rejected. So the hearts dance around the flame, tasting it, being singed by it, until both are willingly consumed as an offering. Romance is what so many songs’ lyrics say – sacrifice.

Still romance? Yes. But this time, romance has been transformed into love.

Wow! You made some great points there.
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Isobelle! Lovely to have you here! ♥
Guest Bio

Isobelle Cate is a woman who wears different masks.  Mother-writer, wife-professional, scholar-novelist.  Currently living in Manchester, she has been drawn to the little known, the secret stories, about the people and the nations:  the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins.  Her vision and passion are fuelled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend. Isobelle is intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

 

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

 

Thanks again, Isobelle, for giving us your take on the romance genre, and what romance itself has come to mean to you. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Debbie White visits us on April 18th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

4 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

A to Z Reflections

As some of you may already know, I put myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging during the month of April.

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Basically, it required participating bloggers to do a post every day focusing on each letter of the alphabet. Sundays were the only excluded days. As you can imagine, this was a lot of work.

So, what really compelled me to take on this challenge? Well, I have to give my talented author friend, Devika Fernando, some credit here. Last year, she took on the challenge with her blog and absolutely nailed it. Check out one of her posts here!

Therefore, this year it was with courage and a bit of fear that I said, sure, what the hell…I’ll try it too. I decided to use a rating system for each book I covered, almost like a book review but not quite the same.

scoring-heart-rating

To make a long story short, the experience was actually fun! 🙂 I not only got to revisit some titles on my shelf I hadn’t looked at for awhile, I also found some new books I wanted to try.

I hope you found some interesting reads as well. If you missed my A to Z Challenge posts, here they are in order:

 

–  Awakening the Fire by Ally Shields

Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts

– Courting the Countess by Barbara Pierce

Devil’s Embrace and Devil’s Daughter by Catherine Coulter

– Elsewhere by Linda Lee Williams

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

Heart of Gold by J.R. Ward

Identity by Cleo Scornavacca

Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

The Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts

Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

Martha’s Way Series by Mika Jolie

No Longer A Stranger by Joan Johnston

One Illicit Night by Sophia James

– Playing with Fire by Devika Fernando

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

Raising Landry by Andee Michelle

Sisters of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

To Tempt A Scotsman by Victoria Dahl

Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham

Victory Lane by Shelly Davis

Weather the Storm by Jean Ferris

X-Treme Dating by Cathy McDavid

You Make Me Feel Brand New by Chicki Brown

Zenith Rising by Marilyn Campbell

 

Perhaps you’ll find some interesting romance books in there, ranging from contemporary to historical, paranormal to fantasy, comedy to multicultural, even a time travel/science fiction. It was so much fun to participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, to see your comments and interact with you (many thanks for the shares and reblogging!), and to check out other bloggers’ sites who were part of the challenge. Here is a full list of the 1,348 participants this year. And to do my part, here are some links to a few other blogs from the April A to Z Challenge:

 

Thanks again for sticking it out with me during the challenge. I’m always happy to see some friendly faces around here. Please stay tuned for future posts on any random thoughts about love, articles or advice on romantic relationships…

Unsplash, Pixabay, 2016.

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and, as always – our favorite topic – learning about new romance authors and their book releases!

Have a wonderful May, everyone! 😀

10 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Love, Message, Multicultural/Interracial, Mystery, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, romantic comedy, Science Fiction, Time Travel, western, Young Adult

A to Z Challenge: Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

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Genre: Fantasy Romance

Blurb:

In the conclusion to her acclaimed Three Sisters Island trilogy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts masterfully evokes the quaint charm of New England, weaving a spellbinding tale of true love—and sheer magic…

Mia Devlin knows what it’s like to love with your whole heart—and then watch your love walk away. Years ago, she and Sam Logan shared an incredible bond built on passion, legend, and fate. But then one day he fled Three Sisters Island, leaving her lost in memories of the magic they shared—and determined to live on her own…

As the new owner of the island’s only hotel, Sam has returned to Three Sisters with hopes of winning back Mia’s affections. He is puzzled when she greets him with icy indifference—for the chemistry between them is still sizzling and true. Angry, hurt, and deeply confused, Mia refuses to admit that a desire for Sam still burns in her heart. But she’ll need his help—and his powers—to face her greatest, most terrifying challenge. And as the deadline for breaking a centuries-old curse draws near, they must take the first step toward destiny—and come together to turn back the dark…

Don’t miss the other books in the #1 New York Times bestselling Three Sisters Island trilogy…
Dance Upon the Air
Heaven and Earth

A few choice lines from the book:
From across the street, he studied Café Book. He should have known Mia would have taken what had been a neglected building and turned it into something lovely, elegant, and productive. The front window held a display of books and potted spring flowers scattered around a lawn chair. Two of her deepest loves, he mused. Books and flowers. She’d used them both in a way that suggested it was time to take a break from the yard work, sit down and enjoy the fruits of the labor with a ride in a story. He stood where he was, hands in his pockets, until he realized he was procrastinating. There was little more turbulent than Mia Devlin in full temper. He expected her to lash out at him in blistering fury the minute she laid eyes on him again. And who could blame her? Then again, he thought with a grin, there was little more arousing than Mia Devlin in full temper. It would be…entertaining to strike words with her again. Just as it would be satisfying to soothe that temper away.

He crossed the street and opened the door to Café Book. Lulu was behind the counter. He’d have recognized her anywhere. The tiny woman with a gnome’s face almost swallowed up by silver-framed glasses had, essentially, raised Mia.
Because Lulu was ringing up a customer’s purchases, he had a moment to look around the store. The ceiling was pricked with lights for a starry effect and made the prospect of browsing through books a festive one. A cozy seating area was arranged in front of a fireplace with a hearth, scrubbed and polished, used as a haven for more spring flowers.Glossy blue shelves held books—an impressive array, he reflected as he wandered through, and as eclectic as he would have expected of the proprietor. No one would ever accuse Mia of having a one-track mind. His lips quirked as he saw that other shelves held ritual candles, Tarot cards, runes, statues of faeries, wizards, dragons. An attractive arrangement of another of Mia’s interests, he thought. He’d have expected nothing else there, either. He plucked a tumbling stone of rose quartz from a bowl, rubbed it between his fingers for good luck. Though he knew better. Before he could replace it, he felt a blast of frigid air.

Smiling easily, he turned to face Lulu.

“Always knew you’d come back. Bad pennies always turn up.”

This was his first barrier, the dragon at the gate. “Hello, Lu.”

“Don’t you hello-Lu me, Sam Logan.” She sniffed, skimmed her gaze over him. Sniffed a second time. “You buying that or do I call the sheriff and have you hauled in for shoplifting?”

He laid the stone back in the bowl. “How is Zack?”

“Ask him yourself, I don’t have time to waste on you.” Though he had her by a foot in height, she stepped forward, jabbed her finger at him, and made him feel twelve years old again. “What the hell do you want?”

“To see home. To see Mia.”

“Why don’t you do everybody a favor and go back to where you’ve been gallivanting these past years? New York City, Paris, and oo-la-la. We’ve all done fine without you taking up space on the Sisters.”

“Apparently.” He gave the store another casual look. He wasn’t offended. A dragon, in his mind, was meant to be devoted to its princess.

In his memory, Lulu had always been up to the job. “Nice place. I hear the café’s particularly good. And that Zack’s new wife runs it.”

“Your hearing’s just fine. So listen up. Go on and get.”

Not offended, no, but his eyes turned edgy, the green in them deepening. “I came to see Mia.”

“She’s busy. I’ll tell her you stopped by.”

“No, you won’t,” he said quietly. “But she’ll know in any case.”

Even as he spoke, he heard the sound of heels on wood. It could have been a dozen women, descending the curving steps in high heels. But he knew. As his heart stumbled in his chest, he stepped around the bookshelves and saw her just as she made the last turn. And the look, that one look at her, sliced him into a thousand pieces.The princess, he thought, had become the queen.

My Score:

This novel is part of the Three Sisters Island Trilogy. It’s actually the third book in the series, and I have all of them on my shelf at home. I just adore Nora Roberts’ style. She tells it like it is, no holds barred.

Mia and Sam have a troubled romantic history, and when Sam returns to the island, they are both in for some big surprises. There is so much tension between these two, and the sparks literally fly. I love a good second chance romance. Add to that a trio of powerful witches, and you’ve named my weakness! I love witch stories. I would seriously recommend the whole series!

Threesisters island trilogy

I give this one five hearts, for creativity, lots of passion and heart-stopping supernatural danger to keep things really interesting. Grab a copy if you can! I doubt you’ll regret it! 🙂

five hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Writing

A to Z Challenge: Devil’s Embrace & Devil’s Daughter by Catherine Coulter

As you must know by now, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give  a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we? And today, is a double trouble feature with two romance novels! 🙂

Devil’s Embrace and Devil’s Daughter by Catherine Coulter

devils duology

Genre: Historical Romance

Blurb for Devil’s Embrace:

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The #1 New York Times bestselling author’s first historical romance.

Kidnapped and taken to the beautiful city of Genoa, Cassie Brougham finds love in the arms of her captor, while she is betrothed to another man.

A few choice lines from the book:

Her forehead knitted into a thoughtful frown, and her eyes wavered from his set face. She drew a deep breath. “Though I am not one of your crew, what you have said is just. A captain’s orders cannot be ignored. I will submit to whatever punishment you deem fitting for what I have done.”

“The punishment, madam, is at the very least a flogging that would take the flesh off a man’s back.”

She paled visibly.

He pressed his point, wanting to assure himself that would never again do something so foolish and dangerous. “If a man were not to bey my order in the face of impending battle, I would seriously consider hanging.”

There was silence between them for some moments. Finally, she said, “I think it would be wasteful of you to hang me.”

A slight smile hovered at the corner of his mouth, and he sternly repressed it. “I doubt not that you are right. I have never cared for wasteful hangings. The offense, however, remains the same.”

The earl found that his anger was rapidly dissipating. He had made his point well, and she had clearly accepted his reasoning. He thought to remove her obvious fear when she squared her shoulders and said in a calm voice, “I would ask only that you do no demean me by flogging me in front of the men. Nor do you have to tie me up, for I will submit to your flogging.”

he stared at her, at a loss. Although he greatly admired her courage, he wanted to enfold her in his arms and reassure her, to see the fear disappear form her eyes. But she would see that as an insult to her courage, condescension to her as naught but a weak woman. He would well imagine that she would be enraged, and justifiably so, for everything that he has said to her would have a hollow ring. He was struggling to find an answer to this ridiculous situation when she asked in the same calm voice, “What kind of whip will you use, my lord?” She added, poised still, “Do I take it from your silence that I must be flogged in front of the men? And tied to the mast?”

“No,” he said finally. “I shall not beat you in front of my men, nor will I tie you down.”

“Thank you,” she said, her mouth now quite dry with fear. She closed her eyes a moment, praying that she would neither cry out nor faint. It was on the tip of her tongue to apologize to him, to bet him not to whip her, but she could not bring herself to do it.

“Will you do it now, my lord?”

“No, I think not,” he said. I will leave you, Cassandra, to think about what you have done. It will be settled when I return.” Since he had no idea of what the devil he should do, he knew he had to have some time alone, to try and untangle this mess. He gazed a moment longer at her pale, set face, and left the cabin.

My Score:

My naughty sixteen year old self stumbled across this book while on a vacation in Tennessee. I found the book in my cabin, most likely left behind by a previous tenant or perhaps one of the maintenance staff.

I have to partly blame this novel for not only my fascination with historical romance, but also my interest in romance writing. Before that point, I never knew romance novels could be so hot! Call this one an old-fashioned “bodice ripper”. With two willful people encountering every obstacle imaginable, it does not disappoint. I give this one four hearts.

four hearts

Blurb for Devil’s Daughter:

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Devilish romance from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

Golden-haired hellion Arabella goes to Naples, Italy, to solve the mystery of her father’s missing ships and cargo. But soon she discovers that the man behind the thievery is a man she can’t resist.

A few choice lines from the book:

“Lady Arabella Welles, your highness,” said Raj, and gently pushed Arabella forward.

“Ah,” Kamal said slowly. He could not prevent himself studying her. In the soft candlelight her hair looked like spun gold. It flowed long and silky down her back, held off her forehead by a simple gold embroidered band. She was dressed in the Turkish fashion, and the gossamer veils did nothing to hide her. He finally met her eyes and smiled reluctantly, for she was staring at him as closely as he was her.

Arabella stood stiffly, her hands fisted at her sides. She would not show fear; she must not. She studied the man lounged on the soft cushions before her. She had not remarked earlier how very fine-looking he was. Not that it mattered. He was her enemy, the son of the vicious contessa. She heard Raj say, “It was walnut stain, highness, doubtless used to protect her on her voyage here. She is again as she was.”

A beautiful whore, Kamal though, wishing perhaps that she weren’t so lovely. He could picture her dressed in her European finery. He wondered if she woudl try to seduce him to gain her ends.

Hassan said, “She does not wear a veil, Raj, nor does she kneel to his highness.”

Arabella felt a quiver of anger, and her fists clenched harder. She felt Raj’s soft fingers lightly touch her arm. “Lady Arabella is not Muslim,” he said.

She drew herself up straighter, narrowing her dark eyes at the old man, who was regarding her speculatively.

“Still-” Hassan said, taken aback by the fury in those dark eyes.

“I do not kneel to animals,”Arabella said in a loud, clear voice, “even though they pretend royalty.”

“I see that you could do nothing about her tongue, Raj,” Kamal said. He uncoiled his powerful body to stand in front of her. She raised her eyes to his face and looked at him with contempt. So, he thought, she was still bent upon her insults. He had planned to treat her as a European lady, to speak to her gently and try to explain why she was here. Evidently, as a Muslim, he was worthy only of her insults. It angered him. Without warning, his hand shot out and wound about a thick mass of hair. Slowly he wrapped it about his hand, drawing her toward him.

“Kneel before your master,” he said pleasantly.

“Go to hell,” Arabella said.

My Score:

I didn’t even know there was a sequel to Devil’s Embrace until several years later. When I found Devil’s Daughter, I had to have it!

Throw a daughter born of two strong people into a harem situation with a very sexy Eastern prince? What could possible go wrong? I think the title speaks for itself. Another “bodice ripper”, so to speak, the book also entails the story of Arabella’s brother, and the woman he cannot help but be drawn to. Couple all of this with some sinister plots and it makes for a compelling story.

I also give this book four hearts.

four hearts

My recommendation? Check out the whole series!

devils duology

 

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The hard work of being an author

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be an author these days…

katemariecollins

Morning, everyone! It’s spring! Which, around here, means it’s raining. Still. Just a little warmer than it was last week.

People often imagine the life of a published author as one filled with red carpet invites, cavernous offices where we sit in a comfy chair. A maid or butler bringing us lunch on a silver tray so we remember to eat. And so much money in the bank that we don’t blink if our children want to go to Europe for a summer. Or Yale for six years.

Um, nope. This is work. Hard work. Our house is modest. My husband’s job pays the bills. Mine helps with groceries and, currently, the rest is being funneled each month to help make it so our daughter doesn’t start college knowing she’ll graduate with a mountain of debt. That’s the COO salary, anyway. The royalties? I get to go to my favorite…

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