Sunday, December 27, 2009

RBTB Winter Staycation 12.25 Thru 01.03!

Hey! RBTB's on Winter Staycation! But you're welcome to hang here to chill while we're keeping toasty and spending time with our families.

Anybody commenting between now and 01.03's entered to win a $25 BN gift card! Leave a note about what romance you're reading and what you're liking about it. Have your email addy available in your comment or blogger profile.

Please join us in 2010:

Jan 4 -- Liz Maverick rocks the New Year "Crimson and Steam" style
Jan 5 -- Show Michelle the Love Day returns! U can win swag by celebrating Michelle's birthday and self centeredness!

Then, Jan 6, RBTB's honored and jazzed to host
Laura Kinsale's Kick-Off to her "Lessons in French" cyber tour!

So, what are you reading and what are you loving about it?

During winter staycation, you still can read Michelle at H2H and Tuesday at Unabashedly Bookish ,catch Becke at BN's Mystery boards , Melanie at BN's Romantic Reads and Gannon/PJ at TheRomanceDish.com.

Congrats, Winners: Hunt Her Down/marlene; Highlander Christmas/gina; Seducing the Heiress/LisaK

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rocki St. Claire Christmas EveBlog: Feast On This!

CONTEST TODAY!!! One randomly chosen commenter wins a copy of "Hunt Her Down" from Rocki! Pls have your email addy avlble in comment/blogger profile.

Buon Natale, Bellas! The halls are decked, the presents are wrapped, the cookies are baked, the cards are sent. Is it possible…we’re done? There’s only one thing left for me to do: my annual Christmas Eve Blog at RBTB!

Four years ago, I whispered my darkest secret as an RBTB GuestBlogger (so maybe not such a whisper, and not so secret)…that I didn’t completely love Christmas. Not in the way I loved, say, George Clooney. That morphed into my first RBTB Christmas Eve blog (still lovingly known as “Christmas and Clooney”) and I’m just tickled that Michelle has asked for an encore year after year. I love tradition – but never thought I’d be one.


Of course, we all have special traditions at this time of year, but none is stronger for the Italians than La Vigilia. And since we Bellas are all Italians -- some by marriage, some by birth, some just by association, I wanted to use this year’s blog to share the most magical night of the year that takes place every Christmas Eve at our (mostly) Italian home.

Let’s just get this out of the way right now so you can hate me. My husband is an incredibly gifted cook. But that’s not all. He happens to look like this:

Okay, stop hating me. He snores. But he does give ol’ George a run for his money in most rooms of the house….including the kitchen. Especially on Christmas Eve when we celebrate what Italians call The Feast of the Seven Fishes or La Vigilia. This is a multi-course affair that must include at least seven different kinds of fish. No one really knows why seven is the magic number, but theories include the possibility that they represent the seven Sacraments or the Seven Hills of Rome. I suggest the number is for famous Seven Pounds of December that we all gain.

Whatever the history, La Vigilia (the vigil) is the biggest food night of the year for us, a gathering of about twenty friends and family a group of about 20 who eat, drink, and make merry until the kids crash and Santa arrives.


Just to get you salivating, the menu's to the left.

As a special gift to those of you who love food as much as romance, my husband has offered up his recipe for the Scampi Fa Diavolo on the right, a huge hit with anyone who prefer things on the spicy side. And what Bella doesn’t? Click on it for a larger version.

Let’s talk holiday feasts! What is your absolute favorite Christmas food? Leave a comment and one lucky winner will start the new year with a copy of HUNT HER DOWN, a fan favorite in the Bullet Catchers series. (This one has the real honor of being selected by Michelle for Barnes & Noble's Best of 2009’s Hottest Love Scene…AKA “the shed scene.” Trust me, this is a whole different kind of feast.)

Buon Natale, Bellas, and thank you again for letting me share the holiday spirit with you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Feature Review: "Holiday Brides," By Amethyst/Rochon/Worth

By Tracy Montoya, RBTB Contributing Editor

Everyone has their holiday traditions, and here are some of mine: decorating the tree the minute Thanksgiving is over, choking down and loving my grandmother’s hard-as-a-rock Christmas bread, and indulging in a holiday-themed romance novel as a reward for finishing my shopping.

This year’s book is “Holiday Brides,” an anthology from Farrah Rochon, Stefanie Worth, and Jewel Amethyst that doesn’t disappoint. The authors deliver a holiday confection as warm and satisfying as a cup of hot chocolate after a day in the snow.

Jewel Amethyst’s “From SKB with Love” is as much of a love letter to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts as it is a poignant love story. Five years ago, Venetta David lost her childhood sweetheart to leukemia, and she’s still mired in grief. In an attempt to help her get her groove back, a group of friends whisks her from New York to St. Kitts for Christmas, where she has a brief flirtation with a gorgeous stranger she calls “the phantom of the beach.” She’s pretty sure she’ll never see him again, but fate has other plans.

When Sean Kevin Bryan—whose initials are also cleverly the St. Kitts airport code—shows up at an island dinner party she’s attending, sparks fly. But Venetta isn’t sure she’s ready to love again, especially since she knows they’ll have to face the challenge of a long-distance relationship once she leaves both SKBs.

Farrah Rochon shows off her flair for snappy dialogue and jump-off-the-page characterization in “No Ordinary Girl.” When Tyson Crawford broke up with Kemah Griffin via text message, her head wrote him off for good—but her heart mourned the fact that she’d been in love with the jerk.

Her heart also couldn’t let her walk away from him completely. He’s the director of the community center for which she volunteers, teaching dance to underprivileged children in New Orleans. She won’t leave the kids because of a bruised ego, especially when a lonely looking girl who reminds her of herself as a child starts hanging around the center’s front gates.

As she helps plan the center’s annual Kwanzaa ceremony, Kemah’s stunned when Tyson starts turning his charm level up to smoldering. She’d like nothing better than to fall back into his arms, but how far can she really trust a man who crushed her emotions with a Blackberry?

Finally, Stefanie Worth delivers “HeavenSent.com,” a sexy and fabulously fun take on “It’s a Wonderful Life,” complete with two angels who need to earn their wings by persuading two jaded professionals that they belong together.

Brenna Campbell seems to have it all: a high-powered job, a great group of friends, and excellent clothes. But as the holidays approach, the fact that she doesn’t have a gorgeous man waiting under her tree leaves her feeling melancholy.

She tries online dating, with disastrous results, and soon realizes that her handsome coworker Evan Shephard might be just what Santa ordered. Unfortunately, she finds herself downsized out of a job shortly after that revelation.

Evan’s there to offer a supportive arm—and the casual flirtation they’d shared in the office quickly turns hot. But Brenna’s luck continues to go south. The Morning After, he doesn’t call, he doesn’t write, and he mildly freaks out when they run into each other at a party. It doesn’t take long for strong-willed Brenna to walk away. Which leaves wingless angels Kay and Jay frantically trying to figure out how to make these two stubborn souls realize they’re meant to be.

By turns funny, steamy, and sigh-worthy, “Holiday Brides” is the perfect antidote to the frenzied crush of last-minute shoppers at the mall. So take out that credit card one more time and …

Buy the book.

Do you like to read holiday-themed books? What are some of your favorites? And while we’re at it, what’s your number-one favorite holiday film or TV show?
***
Exclusive: Laura Kinsale kicks off her "Lessons in French" cyber tour here at RBTB Jan 6! Win a copy of the read that's well worth the 5-year wait, and check out Laura's hot-button topic.
***
TOMORROW/DEC. 24: Roxanne St. Claire rocks her
Annual Day Before Christmas Visit!


Dec 24 - Jan 3: RBTB Winter Staycation! The RBTB team takes time off to hang w/our families and looks forward to hanging w/you in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feature Review: "A Highlander Christmas," By Halliday/Renwick/Miles

By Amy Kennedy, RBTB Contributing Editor

I thought I wanted a sweet 1962 cherry red Gibson Les Paul guitar for Christmas – but, in these times, I need to simplify. So…I simply want a brawny warrior with dark braids at his temples and wrapped in a plaid – a simple plaid, for a simple girl. See? Is this too much to ask?
None of the heroines in this sweet-to-smokin’-hot anthology, “A Highlander Christmas,” thought it was too much to ask for either.

In Dawn Halliday’s lusty medieval “Winter Heat,” Logan Douglas saves Maggie MacDonald who’s on the brink of a frozen death. Abducted by the man she’s pledged to, Maggie uses her clan pin as a weapon to escape into a blizzard, and it’s this same pin that catches and draws Logan’s eye to the sight of Maggie’s body. They find warmth and discover each other in a cottage as the blizzard rages on. Logan will have Maggie as his own, if only for this short time.

Like a favorite fairytale all grown-up, Sophie Renwick’s lush Victorian “Yuletide Enchantment” is laced with magic and myth. Isobel MacDonald always sees her stag, the white hart, at every turning point in her life; she’s sure it’s magical and she’s right. Prince Daegon of the Sidhe -- magical Celtic fey -- would like to claim Isobel as his own, but he endangers the other Sidhe and her if he does. Her clan pin is the key to being with him…again and again and again.

Paige MacDonald is nobody’s fool in Cindy Miles’ tenderly sexy and funny contemporary, “A Christmas Spirit.” Paige reacts exactly the way any of us would when faced with dead (as in ghost) sexy highland warrior Gabriel Munro – she runs like hell, becomes a klutz, falls down and then wonders: What’s really so bad about a ghost? He wants her to stay, there’s a blizzard (yay!) and she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. But will he find out she’s one of “those MacDonalds” the ones who killed him? He will, if he sees her antique clan pin.

“A Highlander Christmas” is a great “light paranormal,” if you will, tied together by the MacDonald women and their clan pin handed down through the generations. Each story lends itself to the time period: the medieval story, earthy and harsh yet romantic, the Victorian, a bit more dressed-up, and the contemporary funny and full of banter. You’ll want your own Highland Warrior wrapped-up under the tree as soon as you –

Buy the book.

Who would you wish for all wrapped-up and waiting under the tree for you?
***
Tomorrow: Tracy Montoya brings you one more reason to add to your holiday-heavy credit-card bill: Treat yourself to the new anthology, "Holiday Brides!"
Thursday: Rocki St Claire joins us for her annual "last day before the holiday" visit!
Dec 24 thru Jan 3: RBTB Winter Staycation -- We're closing shop to hang with our families while you hang with yours! Comment over staycation and we'll choose a winner of a $25 BN card! We'll be back in '10 w/:

Liz Maverick, Jan 4
Show Michelle the Love Day, Jan 5 (Exchange flattery 4 prizes)!
Laura Kinsale's "Lessons in French" Cyber-tour Kick-Off, Jan 6 (Win a copy of the read)!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Exclusive: A(n Ivy) League Of Their Own: Elliott/Willig Bring Romance To Yale!

By Michelle Buonfiglio

What began as a playful “wouldn’t it be funny if…” between two bestselling romance-author friends sharing some pretty good wine and a couple of laughs comes to fruition January when Cara Elliott and Lauren Willig present at their alma mater, “Reading the Historical Romance Novel,” the first seminar on romance fiction taught at Yale University and within the Ivy League.

According to Willig, author of the popular Pink Carnation series, the class is tailored around the Regency romance. “We didn’t do this only because we both write it and men in knee breeches are always a Good Thing,” said Willig, “It provides a self-contained field through which we can track the development of a genre in a comprehensive way.”

Beginning with Jane Austen’s “Northanger Abbey,” Elliott and Willig plan to examine some of the tropes and changes which are unique to the Regency romance, and those which, according to Willig, “mirror developments in the romance community as a whole.” From Austen, the course moves through Georgette Heyer and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, looks at changing attitudes towards sexuality and heroism in a variety of authors over a thirty-year time span, then continues through Regency paranormals to chick lit.

Elliott’s and Willig’s course syllabus and formal proposal to the University wended through a rigorous application process which culminated with their presenting both to a panel consisting of Yale faculty and students. While they describe the experience as “a bit surreal and incredibly invigorating,” it’s clear their academic creds and innate understanding of all elements of the romance fiction genre quickly won over panel members. Elliott – who’s written award-winning Regencies as Andrea Pickens, and an upcoming Circle of Sin series "as" Cara Elliott -- says panel members were “Incredibly enthusiastic, even the men!”

To that end, one of Elliott’s and Willig’s memorable moments from the interview came when they were asked whether they expected only women to register for the course. When they explained both male and female academics study romance fiction – indeed, that a man is among those at the forefront of the movement in the United States – the group took notice.

“That was a really interesting moment,” recalls Elliott. “You could see something click in both the men and women [on the panel]. The question had been asked half in jest, but I think the answer made them think—and in a very good way.” Elliott and Willig believe – and their proposal’s having been accepted seems to suggest – the Yale panelists came away thinking of romance as less of, as Willig puts it, “just a monolith known as ‘Oh, romance novels,” and instead, a serious literary genre and collection of sub-genres, “each with its own traditions and trajectory.”

Elliott’s and Willig’s ground-breaking seminar places Yale among the many universities and colleges in the United States and around the world which already offer romance fiction courses.
***
Exclusive: Laura Kinsale kicks off her "Lessons in French" cyber tour here at RBTB Jan 6! Win a copy of the read that's well worth the 5-year wait, and check out Laura's hot-button topic.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Short Story: "Silver And Gold," By Becke Martin

Small-town bookseller Aiden Flynn doesn’t realize he’s put his life on hold until a pretty waitress and her little man remind him he’s got some hope left where his heart used to live. Golden memories are rekindled along with glittering optimism in this slightly sassy take on holiday heartwarming.

“Please, Mommy – please!”

Aiden looked up from his bowl of spicy goulash. The new waitress knelt down, shushing the boy who must be her son. “I’m sorry, Joey. The mall will be closed before I get off work. I’ll get you a sheet of paper and a pen – you can write a letter to Santa instead.”

The boy chewed his lower lip. “Grandma would’ve taken me.”

Man, the kid was good. What mother could resist that soulful expression? Joey’s mother, apparently; she closed her eyes briefly, but she didn’t respond.

“But this is important,” the young boy whispered loudly, emphasizing almost every other word. “Santa gets millions of letters. What if he’s a slow reader, like me? I need to tell him in person.”

Aiden was always intrigued by human drama, but the boy’s mother was clearly distressed to have an audience. Fair Meadows, Ohio was such a small town, anyone new was bound to attract attention. He took another bite of goulash and pretended to ignore them.

His waitress moved as if to push back her dark blonde hair, then stopped as her hand met the lacy headband that was part of her uniform. Her fingers flailed for a second as if at a lost where to go next, then she reached into her apron pocket and tore a page from her order book. “Here, you can write the letter on this.”

“But Mom . . .”

“Hush, Joey – Santa won’t care that your letter’s not on fancy paper. And I happen to know he’s a speed reader.”

The boy, who looked to be six or seven, had big blue eyes like his mom’s and hair several shades lighter – baby-fine, flaxen and softly curling around his nape. He’d bet the boy was teased about it unmercifully at school.

Aiden pointedly opened the local paper and flipped to the sports section before returning to his dinner. The high school scores weren’t nearly as interesting as his waitress, though, and the realization came as a shock. It had been years since he’d noticed a woman – really noticed her, down to his gut. Why now, and why this woman?

Well, there was the kid. He was a sucker for kids. These days, if a man admitted that out loud people thought “pedophile,” but Aiden had always been fascinated with the intelligence and curiosity of children. He missed kids. He missed being a dad most of all.

Tears swam in front of his eyes, blurring the headlines he pretended to read. It was just Christmas, damn it. He wasn’t normally this maudlin. He’d had ten years to get over his son’s death, eight to adjust to the loneliness, abandonment and guilt after his wife killed herself. There was nothing wrong with him that getting past Christmas wouldn’t cure.

He heard the rustle of paper as the boy slid into the booth in front of his, sniffling quietly and muttering to himself. “I’ll never get the book now.”

At the word “book,” Aiden’s attention was caught again. It could be any book, but he was willing to bet Joey was going to ask Santa for the next installment of "The Adventures of Billy and Buster," an incredibly popular series about a smart six-year-old and his Golden Retriever. Buster was really an alien from the Dog Star who helped Billy solve mysteries and save their town from an evil villain in every volume. The series had a special place in Aiden’s heart.

Every book ended with the boy and dog strolling through the front door of their small suburban home, where smells of a hot dinner wafted out to greet them. Billy’s mother’s question – “What have you two been up to now?” – was such a popular catchphrase, it had been co-opted on every show from "SNL" to "The Family Guy," as was Billy’s response: “Nuttin’, Mom. What’s for dinner? We’re staaaarving.”

As the owner of Chapters, the only book store town, Aiden was... Read On...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Feature Review: "A Highlander Christmas," By Janet Chapman

By Gannon Carr and PJ Ausdenmore, RBTB Correspondents

CONTEST!!! One randomly chosen commenter wins "A Highlander Christmas!" Pls have your email addy available in your comment or blogger profile to enter.

PJ and I are big fans of Christmas romances and Janet Chapman’s “A Highlander Christmas” is a perfect “curl up by the fire” holiday read. Camry MacKeage has quit her job as a NASA physicist to tend bar and dog sit in Go Back Cove, Maine. Her family has no idea that she’s no longer working for NASA and she has no intention of letting them know why. Little does she know that her rival, hunky scientist Luke Pascal, has come to the States to talk to her, and he’s let the cat out of the bag about her leaving her job.

PJ: Talk about three strikes! Luke (using his real name Lucien Renoir) has been driving Camry crazy via email for the past year. Now he’s revealed her closely guarded secret to her parents and, if that isn’t bad enough, her mother’s decided Luke should be the person to travel to Go Back Cove and convince Camry to come home for the family birthday celebration. Did I mention that Camry and her six sisters were all born on the Winter Solstice and not one of them has ever missed their joint party? Poor Luke has some huge hurdles to overcome if he has any hope of getting close to Camry. Then there’s the fact that what we have here are two hopelessly analytical scientists who are so tuned in to their minds that their worlds are ruled by facts and figures. It’s going to take some mighty powerful magic to get them to listen to their hearts.

Gannon: Well the MacKeage family is certainly full of magic, but Camry’s spent the last few years running from it. What she doesn’t realize is that she can’t avoid what’s in her blood, in her heart, her destiny. Little does she know that her destiny is the tall, dark and handsome man she’s serving at the Go Back Grill while she’s wearing an embarrassingly revealing pirate wench uniform. When Luke comes face to face, or rather face to cleavage with Camry, he has no idea that it’s her. But when he realizes that Camry, the woman who he’s battling via the internet, is his beautiful, if somewhat surly pirate waitress, he thinks that maybe his luck has taken a turn for the better.

PJ: That’s what I thought too, Gannon! But, instead of the hot seduction of his dreams, they both end up injured, on pain killers and at the tender mercy of a well-meaning, teenaged matchmaker. Talk about your well-laid plans gone awry! The first half of this story is so much fun but it’s the second half that really touched my heart. Camry’s always believed in the magic but that same magic that she’s grown up with is at the root of deep fears she has to overcome if she’s to have any hope of opening her heart to love. Luke, on the other hand, believes only what he can see and touch. His scientist’s brain scoffs at the idea of “magic”, of an unseen power beyond his control. Will his inability to believe cost him the love of his life? Or worse, will it cause Camry to lose her life?

For a fun and emotional journey this holiday season, Gannon and I recommend you put a little Highlander magic in your life and --

Buy the Book!

Are you the logical type, believing in only what you can see? Or do you follow your instinct, that little voice inside you, even if it doesn't seem like the most logical path?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Exclusive Interview: Marjorie Liu's "Tiger Eye" Game A Reality!

Today, our pal Marjorie M. Liu and PassionFruit Games announce the debut of Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box, the romance casual* game that launches the dynamic new PassionFruit Games company and caters to gamers and genre fans jonesin' to get a little more interactive with their happily ever afters.

Liu’s right there with the rest of us on that last part. “Nothing can ever replace the power of words when telling a story,” she said yesterday in an exclusive interview. “But at the same time -- as a voracious reader myself -- I'm always hungry for new opportunities to experience the books I love, especially romance novels. Adapting ‘Tiger Eye’ into this new format gives readers -- and gamers -- a unique opportunity to engage with the story.“

But knowing Liu – and you’re well acquainted with her sweetness, intelligence and earnest nature pretty well by now – she’s not just handing off her novel to some “corporate types” and letting ‘em have their digital way with it. Marjorie’s involved every step of the way and even wrote the script for Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box (TE:COTRB), in which a woman with psychic abilities buys a riddle box in Beijing’s Dirt Market and opens it to find an ancient warrior bound to serve as a slave to the person who has opened the box. The action moves between China and the U.S.


” It's been incredibly fun! I've already played parts of the game, listened to the voice actors record lines from the book -- seen the art and storyboards. I believe this is a wonderful new world for romance fiction, and those who love it.”

PassionFruit Games Studio Director Melissa Heidrich believes there may be a lot of similarities between romance readers and casual gamers, since the majority of the latter are women aged 25 to 65. That correlation, says Heidrich, may make the market “ripe” for PassionFruit Games. “[It’s] surprising that there are currently so few romance casual games on the market. That’s why we’re excited to bring ‘Tiger Eye’ to life as interactive entertainment.”

Of that interactive love play, PassionFruit Games designer Mari Tokuda – who helped translate Liu’s book to game format – says, “[We] are giving players a chance to experience the romance through fun gameplay and sensual cut scenes that further the relationship. And of course, we'll have a sexy leading man heavily featured in the game. ”

Liu is jazzed about the creatives team working on TE: COTRB. "I'm very excited and grateful to be part of this wonderful team of people who are truly dedicated to romance novels, and who are bringing them to life for both readers and gamers."


While the folks at PassionFruit are making sure TE: COTRB follows a romance-novel storyline in which the main characters’
relationship deepens, don’t expect any hard-core sex scenes. TE:COTRB's about casual-gaming fun for anytime escapist play.

You can pre-order Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box in 2010, and some readers will even be chosen to test the game in beta. In the meantime, you can get more deets about it – and PassionFruit Games -- at PassionFruitGames.com.

Oh. While you're a-waiting, I suggest you scarf up "Tiger Eye" and the rest of Marjorie's Dirk & Steele reads. Follow 'em up with her NYX and Dark Wolverine comics, then move on to her paras. I know you'll read each/every one. For while you may be a casual gamer, there ain't no such animal as a casual Marjorie Liu fan. Least not round these parts.

Are you a gamer? What kind, and what's your poison? How much time to you spend playing vs reading romance? Which are your fave Liu titles?

*A casual game generally is defined as a non-violent game that can be played in drips and drabs, again and again and one which doesn’t have a "finite" ending.

***
Thursday: Gannon and PJ are back 12. 17 to celebrate the “magic” of the holidays with their best-girlfriends take on Janet Chapman’s “Highlander Christmas!”
Friday: RBTBs Holiday Exclusive Gift for You! Read Becke Martin’s sweet n’ just-a-teensy-bit-sexy short story, "Silver and Gold!" The promise of healing love when one least expects it – and a little boy’s Christmas expectations fulfilled in just the right way – reminds us that hope still can glitter in anyone’s heart at Christmastime.
Dec 24: Rocki St. Claire returns for her Annual Holiday Kick-Off! We love to spend a few moments before everything goes holiday haywire to wish each other happy, and to Win Prizes!

PLUS: Jan 4 Liz Maverick visits to talk “Crimson and Steam” her wicked-cool upcoming release. I glommed it recently and now have to read the rest of the series!
– and – A huge RBTB contest is on the way w/deets soon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Feature Review: "Seducing the Heiress," By Olivia Drake

By Melanie Murray, RBTB Correspondent

CONTEST Today!!! One randomly chosen commenter wins a copy of "Seducing the Heiress!" Please have your email available in your comment or your blogger profile.

If I had a nickel for all the historical romance heroes who are described as “rogues,” “rakes” or “libertines,” well, let’s just say I could afford my own carriage. And if I were given a penny for each of the heroines who don’t quite fit in, there’d be a team of six to pull said carriage along.


We, as romance readers, are used to recurring character types. This isn’t to say that we don’t whole-heartedly love them, because we do. But don’t you feel just giddy when a book comes along that breathes new, wondrous, I-feel-like-I’ve-never-read-this-before life into these types of premises?

For this reason, Olivia Drake’s “Seducing the Heiress” will land on your keeper shelf. The author takes what could be a been-there, read-that story of a scheming scoundrel and a headstrong hoyden, and weaves a tale of wit, seduction, secrets, and sensuality that’s as vibrant as it is refreshing.

Despite her common birth and unusual upbringing in India, Miss Portia Crompton is the most sought-after heiress of the Season, thanks to her massive dowry. Her parents plan to make her a good match, thereby ensuring their family’s status. Except Portia isn’t interested in any of London’s eligible suitors, who are clearly after her money. Instead she has dreams of her own: to return to India as soon as possible.

Enter Colin Byrd, Viscount Ratcliffe, a true ne’er-do-well. He’s notorious for bedding and abandoning women. He’s famously in debt and desperate to get out of it. And there are troubling, horrible rumors about his treatment of his own family, stories so awful that he’s been effectively shunned from society.

But Colin’s not as stuffy as Portia’s other gentlemen pursuers. He’s honest about his reasons for courting her. He’s genuinely curious about her past and moved by her sense of humor and spiritedness, two attributes that get her into trouble with the other members of society.

Not to mention that his very glance has her dreaming of things most English misses would be shocked to speak of, things like kisses and embraces and other acts of passion. Portia finds herself wondering if she can change her life’s plans for a man who may not be worthy of her. And Colin has to come to terms with the fact that, despite his best intentions, he’s falling in love.

Colin and Portia’s romance isn’t the only intriguing part of “Seducing the Heiress.” These are fascinating characters. Colin’s heart truly does have some black in it, and Portia never for a moment questions why she doesn’t fit in. They are each fabulously content with whom they are as people – no insecurities to overcome here. And this is why, when they get together, there are true, honest-to-goodness sparks. I think you’ll agree that reinventing the wheel was never so satisfying, after you --

Buy the Book.

Are there character types in romances that you never tire of reading? What is it that makes the rake so darn appealing? And who are your favorite unconventional heroines?
***
EXCLUSIVE SCOOP TOMORROW!
Two romance authors boldly take the genre where it's not gone before! Don't miss the news!

***
Thursday: Gannon and PJ are back 12. 17 to celebrate the “magic” of the holidays with their best-girlfriends take on Janet Chapman’s “Highlander Christmas!”
Friday: RBTBs Holiday Exclusive Gift for You! Read Becke Martin’s sweet n’ just-a-teensy-bit-sexy short story, "Silver and Gold!" The promise of healing love when one least expects it – and a little boy’s Christmas expectations fulfilled in just the right way – reminds us that hope still can glitter in anyone’s heart at Christmastime.
Dec 24: Rocki St. Claire returns for her Annual Holiday Kick-Off! We love to spend a few moments before everything goes holiday haywire to wish each other happy, and to Win Prizes!

PLUS: Jan 4 Liz Maverick visits to talk “Crimson and Steam” her wicked-cool upcoming release. I glommed it recently and now have to read the rest of the series!
– and – A huge RBTB contest is on the way w/deets soon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where In The World Is Me?

Despite what you think, many, many days pass during which I don’t give myself a third thought, let alone a second. But for the two of you who’ve been wondering where I’ve been (Hi, Mom and…you other person), like so many, nothin’s doin’ other than I’ve been caught up in the pre-holiday rush, and those end-of-year kid things.

But there are cool things coming to RBTB, not the least of which – sorry, we’re going right back to me again – is the approach of 3rd Annual Show Michelle the Love Day, Jan. 5, 2010! It’s more than just a celebration of my birthday, and an op for you to pay homage to my self absorption. You can win prizes too!

But before then, check in at RBTB:

Monday: We already love the rake-woos-heiress romance theme. But 12.14, Melanie Murray brings you the skinny on Olivia Drake's, "Seducing the Heiress. " Melanie says it's anything but your usual been-there-read-that, rake-chases-an-heiress novel.. and it’s keeper-shelf worthy, too!
Thursday: Gannon and PJ are back 12. 17 to celebrate the “magic” of the holidays with their best-girlfriends take on Janet Chapman’s “Highlander Christmas!”
Friday: RBTBs Holiday Exclusive Gift for You! Read Becke Martin’s sweet n’ just-a-teensy-bit-sexy short story, "Silver and Gold!" The promise of healing love when one least expects it – and a little boy’s Christmas expectations fulfilled in just the right way – reminds us that hope still can glitter in anyone’s heart at Christmastime.
Dec 24: Rocki St. Claire returns for her Annual Holiday Kick-Off! We love to spend a few moments before everything goes holiday haywire to wish each other happy, and to Win Prizes!

PLUS: Liz Maverick visits to talk “Crimson and Steam” her wicked-cool upcoming release. I glommed it last weekend and now have to read the rest of the series!
– and – A huge RBTB contest is on the way w/deets soon.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Naked Truth

When Philippe Devereaux sees Chastain Thibodaux all grown up and fronting her first NYC fine-art exhibition, he's struck by three things: She's become even more dynamic and beautiful; he still loves her; and he's going to sue her blind if she doesn't remove from the exhibition three life-size nudes she's painted of him in living color for God and everyone to gawp at. READ MORE, BELLAS!
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WINNER: Congrats, jedisakora, you've won a copy of Lisa Dale's "It Happened One Night!"

Friday, December 04, 2009

Feature Review: "It Happened One Night," By Lisa Dale

By Becke Davis, RBTB Contributing Editor

AMAZING: Click here to check out an Exclusive Excerpt from "It Happened One Night!"

CONTEST: One randomly chosen commenter wins a copy of IHON. Please have your email addy available below or in blogger profile.

“Spit Happens”

Babies are wonderful, but they have a way of taking over your life. Their tiny socks multiply like rabbits and the laundry never ends. By the time they’re toddlers, you can change a diaper in your sleep. When the baby spits up pureed spinach all over your only remaining silk blouse, you don’t even blink. It’s a good thing they’re cute, or we’d never have more than one.

One is more than Lana Biel ever wanted. In Lisa Dale’s vividly portrayed “It Happened One Night,” Lana is faced with a heart-wrenching decision. Her fun, sexy fling has clipped her wings; she was supposed to be a world traveler, not a mother. No, that’s her sister Karin’s obsession. When Karin – who has been trying for a baby without success – offers to adopt Lana’s baby, Lana is torn. It feels like the right thing to do, but something is stopping her.

Eli Ward has been in love with Lana for years. Their one night together back in college ended disastrously and he’s had to settle for being her best friend. When Lana reveals her pregnancy, he’s afraid he’s left it until too late to declare his love. He’s furious when the baby’s father abandons Lana, but is quick to step in. As always, he’s there for Lana when she needs him. Will Lana accept all that Eli has to offer, or turn away from him – and her baby – to chase a dream?


Eli is the kind of hero you want to take home with you. It’s Lana’s story, but Eli will capture your heart from the very first time he appears on the page. You’ll share Lana’s panic when her world falls apart, and Karin’s well-intentioned interference will drive you as crazy as if she were your own sister.

Lisa Dale has created such fully-formed, fascinating characters, you’ll feel like they’re old friends. Floral motifs add color and charm to the story, and the Vermont setting was so inviting I wanted to visit Lana and Karin’s wildflower store and chat with them about plants. Eli and Lana’s heart-warming story will stay with you long after you --

Buy the Book!

I married my best friend, and I clearly remember my confusion when our friendship began to change. Could I risk losing his friendship by admitting I wanted more? “It Happened One Night” hit home with me, as best friend-to-lover stories always do. Did any of you end up with your best friend? Did you work up the nerve to declare your feelings, or did he? Tell me about your real life love stories!
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Encore! In the holiday mood? Becke's got Christmas Tree dish to check out B4 you buy (or chop or put together) at her BN.com Garden Variety post, "O Christmas Tree!"
Encore due! Coming Soon:
An exclusive, heartwarming holiday short story from Becke...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

BN Best Of 2009: Romance

As far as I'm concerned, 2009 was the Year of Uniform Fabulousness (YOUF) in romance. Perhaps better stated, it was the year in which so many great romances were released, it was miserably difficult to separate front runners.

So when faced with the task of offering up a list of my fave romances for BN's Best of 2009, I reengineered, if you will, my compulsively methodical approach to "year's best" list making, and...READ MORE, BELLAS!
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Friday: RBTB Contributing Editor Becke Davis brings you her take on Lisa Dale's charming and sassy, 'It Happened One Night!" - and - Becke's rooting out the skinny on Christmas trees and branching out into facts vs fiction on those holiday favorites in her BN Garden Variety blog, "O Christmas Tree." Check it out!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Novak Winner And Hacky Hookers

It'd be quite enough if this were just another "Duke sells his inconvenient girl child to commoner" romance. Sigh.

Yet Karen Ranney's spun that old hook into gold by way of an out-of-the-ordinary everyday hero who's got his heart -- and his taut 'n toned alpha -- in all the right places. READ MORE, BELLAS!
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NOVAK WINNER: Congratulazione, Kara! You've won Brenda's Perfect Thanksgiving Tote and Books!