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All Alphas, All the Time: A Guest Post by Megan Crane

3 Jul

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Happy Independence Day, Lady Smutters! Okay, so I’m one day early, but given the greatness of my usual lateness, I’m gonna go with that. I hope you’re enjoying your long, holiday weekend, celebrating our great country and reading lots of hot romance.

Due to day job crazy and book deadlines, I will be taking the month of July off from blogging here at Lady Smut. But fear not! We have some fab guest posts for you and lots of Lady Smut smexy to keep the heat of summer raging high.

For starters, USA Today bestselling author Megan Crane is back with us today on Lady Smut. Last week, I set aside my regular alpha love to extol the goodness of the beta male hero. Today, Megan Crane reminds us why it’s still good to be all alphas, all the time.

Take it away, Megan!

Author Megan Crane

Some people are sick of alpha males, or so I read on the internet, but here’s a confession for you: I’m not one of them.

I think the classic alpha male—the reason I, personally, fell deeply in love with romance novels when I discovered them at age twelve, which did not exactly help me navigate the rocky and treacherous social life available to me in middle school—is unfairly maligned.

If you don’t like “alphaholes” or smug, dictatorial jerks, well. Who does?  Those aren’t classic alphas, as far as I’m concerned.  Alpha heroes can certainly be awful, because everyone needs a character arc, but the strong alpha heroes I love the most have a soft spot down deep inside all that powerful, compelling masculinity they wear so easily. Some call this their protective side. They’re usually possessive and laser-focused on whatever it is that’s given them their power, because those are the qualities that put them in their exalted positions (whether that position is King of the Universe or a quietly confident farmer) in the first place.

They’re usually unapproachable in one way or another. Sometimes stern and grim, sometimes charming and fun, but always in control. Of themselves. Of their world. Of the people and things around them.

The heroine—and his feelings for her—is the one thing this man can’t control and he’s not going to like it. At all. The heroine is the only person alive to see that soft spot lurking there inside of this man, and she’s going to have to work for it. Especially because the fact the soft spot exists—and that this woman is aware of it—is likely to make this man deeply, deeply unhappy.

Click on image to buy!

Click on image to buy!

But then, you know. He decides that rather than make himself unhappy, he can make her his.

Or try.

And I am always thrilled to be along for this journey as a reader, because nothing makes me happier than that moment of realization on the part of an alpha hero. It’s when he finally understands, with shattering certainty, that he can never be happy without the heroine. He can’t be complete without her, he can’t be himself without her, and he needs her the way he needs nothing else in his life.

Magic.

However hard and ruthless and possibly awful the alpha hero is at the beginning of a book, especially to the heroine, that’s how hard and ruthless and awful the fall for him is going to be. The fall into love and usually, flat on his face besides.

It makes me smile just thinking about it!

In addition to reading as many books featuring tough-as-nails alpha heroes, I write them. This means I get to play with power dynamics and tough guys feelings and all sorts of alpha goodness as my job. Lucky me!

Click on image to buy!

This summer I have a whole bunch of books out for you to try, should you want to get your alpha on.

If you like your alphas oozing wealth and consequence and all kinds of arrogance, I’d suggest my pair of separated-at-birth princesses who switch places and find love—while pretending to be each other! Shenanigans ensue, as your run of the mill alpha hero generally tends to dislike being lied to. The Prince’s Nine-Month Scandal and The Billionaire’s Secret Princess are Harlequin Presents written by my alter-ego, Caitlin Crews.

A significantly hotter and more dangerous option is Devil’s Own, the third in my biker series featuring outlaw bikers and the women who…well, love them, because taming them isn’t an option! Devil’s Own features a club enforcer who terrifies the most dangerous men, his teenage daughter’s high school teacher who isn’t afraid of him at all, and what happens when the two of them give into a passion neither one of them wants… or can deny.

Or you could try Cody, which is my take on a veteran bull rider, his last year on the circuit, and the woman who should have been nothing more than a buckle-bunny… but isn’t. Skylar Grey is looking to change her life after the tragedy that killed her fiancé two years ago, and she expects absolutely nothing from the too-hot bull rider she decides to get a little crazy with. But Cody Galen is used to winning—and after riding bulls professionally for over ten years, he’s not afraid of a fall or two en route to getting what he wants…

Click on image to buy!

And coming next month is Edge of Ruin, a boxed set of alpha goodness set in my post-apocalyptic, dystopian world of futuristic Vikings. My raider warriors redefine alpha-ness. Hallelujah!  In this collection of three novellas, we experience my fierce and uncompromising raider warriors in a variety of situations.  There’s the raider who finds himself swept out to sea in winter, surely a death sentence…until he finds himself nursed back to health on the floating city he thought was a myth by a woman who’s all too real. There’s the raider who betrayed his clan and relocated to what’s left of the European Alps, where he lives a quiet life as a farmer—with a new mail order bride every fall to ease him through the long winters.  Imagine this gruff, commanding raider’s surprise to discover that his latest mail order bride has no intention of leaving, no matter how hard he is on her. And then finally, a fan favorite raider who’s appeared in all the previous books finally gets his happy-ever-after… assuming he can finally convince the woman in question to accept what he and everyone else has known from the start: they’re made for each other.

Still not convinced that alphas are for you? Feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll happily draw you up a reading list: All Alphas, All the Time.

Because as far as I’m concerned, alphas really are love.

USA Today bestselling, RITA-nominated, and critically-acclaimed author Megan Crane has written more than fifty books since her debut in 2004. She has been published by a variety of publishers, including each of New York’s Big Five. She’s won fans with her women’s fiction, chick lit, and work-for-hire young adult novels as well as with the Harlequin Presents she writes as Caitlin Crews. These days her focus is on contemporary romance from small town to international glamor, cowboys to bikers, and beyond. She sometimes teaches creative writing classes both online at mediabistro.com and at UCLA Extension’s prestigious Writers’ Program, where she finally utilizes the MA and PhD in English Literature she received from the University of York in York, England. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with a husband who draws comics and animation storyboards and their menagerie of ridiculous animals. Find out more about her and her books at http://www.megancrane.com.

Now available exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, is a finalist for InD’Tale Magazine’s prestigious RONE award! Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

 

Guess the Lady Smut TBR Stack–Win $10 Amazon Gift Card!

4 May

Hi RT Orphans! Does your TBR pile have some of the same titles as ours? Let us know–leave us a comment below. 🙂 Want to buy the book on our TBR list? Click the link.  Meanwhile, here’s another fun game you can play at home.

FIRST Read the TBR lists. THEN guess which list belongs to which blogger. Your blogger choices are below & we’ve abbreviated the longer names for you. We also provided some hints.  THE FINAL STEP IS TO email us at LadySmutBlog@gmail.com with your guesses. The first reader to email us the most correct answers wins a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

CONTEST ENDS FRIDAY MAY 5th AT 12PM PST!!!!!

OUR BLOGGERS:

Elizabeth Shore

G.G. Andrew

Kiersten Hallie Krum (KHK)

Alexa Day

Rachel Kramer Bussel (RKB)

Elizabeth SaFleur (ESF)

Isabelle Drake

Thien-Kim Lam (TKL)

Madeline Iva

Ready to play? Here we go——

Lady Smut TBR List #1

Hint: This blogger is a foodie who loves diverse romances & sex toys

  1. Alpha by Jasinda Wilder
  2. Nine Kinds of Naughty by Jeanette Grey
  3. The Muse by Anne Calhoun
  4. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
  5. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

Lady Smut TBR List #2

Hint: This blogger likes to share all after a few dirty dates. ; > 
  1. The Pawn by Skye Warren
  2. Trophy Wife by Alessandra Torre
  3. The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke
  4. An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
  5. The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

Lady Smut TBR List #3

Hint: This blogger is a big fan of New Adult romances, secrets, and other crazy, sexy topics.

  1. Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
  2. Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole
  3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  4. Deadly Testimony by Piper Drake
  5. Ghostland: An American History of Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Lady Smut TBR List #4

Hint: This erotica author loves blogging about TWD, kidnapping & a few other illicit topics.

  1. Truly Helpless by Joey W. Hill
  2. All the Lies We Tell by Megan Hart
  3. Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Chorderlos de Laclos
  4. Slow Surrender by Cecilia Tan
  5. The Infamous Miss Rodriguez by Lydia San Andres

Lady Smut TBR List #5

Hint: This blogger is wild about reviewing her fav authors.

  1. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
  2. The List by Tawna Fenske
  3. Madly by Ruthie Knox
  4. Beyond Doubt by Kit Rocha
  5. Edge of Ruin (set of 3 Viking Dystopian Novellas) by Megan Crane

Lady Smut TBR List #6

Hint: This author blogs about edgy topics of desire including: swallowing, tattooing, cross-dressing–even Jewish Swingers. 

  1. Purity by Jonathan Franzen
  2. The Fireman by Joe Hill
  3. Finders Keepers by Stephen King
  4. The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose
  5. Beyond Ruin by Kit Rocha

Lady Smut TBR List #7

Hint: When this author wasn’t all tied up, she’s blogged about CW’s Riverdale.

  1. Lilith’s Brood by Octavia E. Butler
  2. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
  3. DC Comics Bombshells: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett & Marguerite Sauvage
  4. Initiates of the Blood by Cecilia Tan
  5. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Lady Smut TBR List #8

Hint: This blogger is a capital BDSM Erom author

  1. Bombshell by CD Reiss
  2. Truly Helpless by Joey W. Hill
  3. Royally Matched by Emma Chase
  4. The Chosen by J.R. Ward
  5. The List by Anne Calhoun

Lady Smut TBR List #9

Hint: This author loves blogging about wicked villains & paranormal television shows.

  1. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  2. The Unlikeable Demon Hunter by Deborah Wilde
  3. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  4. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
  5. A Darker Shade of Magic V.E. Schwab
Send off those answers and follow us at Lady Smut. If you want to know the about the latest fun when it comes to sex, romance books, and pop culture–we won’t leave you guessing.
Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

“Up On the Hog Babe, Let’s Go For a Ride”: The Hot Men & Sexy Voices of Male Audio Narrators

27 Mar

HOT MEN, SEXY VOICES: Last Saturday was #VALoveFest at Virginia Festival of the Book 2017.  Among the excellent panels during the day by far the most popular was THE MEN OF ROMANCE panel where audio narrators shared their experiences about the work, a bit about their backgrounds, and their appreciation for the romance genre.  Below is a video that you must watch/listen to if–like me– you twitch involuntarily at any real man who is into romance.

Andi Arndt was the fabulous moderator. She spoke with David Brenin, Luke Daniels, Will Damron, Derek Perkins and Aiden Snow. Jennifer Dodde Conner captured this video of the event. (Caution! It looks like the video goes sideways for a second–but it’s just for a moment and then gets righted again.)

Details of note:

Luke Daniels has done audio for Heather Graham and Sylvia Day among many, many, others.

When Will Damron does the really sexy stuff he uses the name Jeremy York.

Aiden Snow mostly does military romances, but he likes romances that play out deep gender and relational dynamics.  Most of the time, however, he said “it’s like: ‘Up on the hog babe, let’s go for a ride.'” And all the women in the room about fainted.

Speaking of Aiden Snow —  I saw him walking across the lobby at the festival — and having been converted by my friend Adriana Anders to beardy hot goodness, I said to myself ‘Damn, who is *that* guy?’ (Shoulda stopped him and gotten a picture.  I’m just kicking myself now. Oh well!)

Derek Perkins is British and does a mean Scottish Accent.

I, for one, find a man’s voice at the top of the list for the sexiness factor.  I think that romances often neglect the serious ear appeal of the right voice.  There are men who I find reasonably attractive, but when they speak and their voice is like low thunder, I’m suddenly riveted by their whole being.  I want to chitter like a cat at the window watching birds fluttering around outside.

Perhaps it’s because there is something fundamentally right and reassuring to me about a relaxed, warm male voice.  It’s a verbal embrace, a reassuring caress in my ears that everything is going to be all right.

I’m so curious to find out if any of you listen to audio books and if you do listen to audio books, are you aware of who the audio narrator is? I know Richard Armitage narrated two Georgette Heyer book, but do you actively seek certain narrators?

Are you like me? Does the right male voice send you?

If you want to listen to more of the panels from Love Fest, including HEROINES OF DESTINY — which is the panel that I moderated–go here on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1905127766399699/permalink/1909010616011414/

Kiersten Hallie Krum will be back next week — and I’ll be blogging more on Thursday about other fascinating & fun parts of Love Fest.

Meanwhile, get on the hog, babe, and follow us at Lady Smut. ; >

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bikers for Christmas

25 Dec

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Wouldn’t *that* be something to find under your tree on Christmas morning? Alas, there was no bearded, growly, alpha yet somehow feminist-supportive, muscled, steaming hot biker stud awaiting me this Christmas morn. (Next year, Santa!)

Thank God for biker romance! Let me help you end your holiday of joyous over-eating and being nice to people you only see a few times a year with a taste of Megan Crane’s upcoming biker romance Devil’s Mark.

Look! A blurb!

Holly Chambless is tired of being the squeaky clean daughter of Lagrange’s holier-than-thou mayor. When her father is charged with corruption, she realizes that her whole life’s been a lie. Now’s her chance to do all the things she never dared, like scoring a job at a bar where reputations go to die, or reconnecting with the biker who sparked a secret hunger in her all those years ago. Holly isn’t a wide-eyed girl anymore—and this time she wants a taste of what has always been denied.

Killian “Uptown” Chenier has no time for stuck-up princesses. He likes fast bikes and wild sex. Sure, he remembers Holly. He sent her running with a wicked smile and a lesson about prying eyes. And sure, she’s grown up smoking-hot, with a body he’d like to personally desecrate. But Devil’s Keepers business is real and intense. Her daddy stole from the club, leaving his pretty blonde daughter a walking target. And when Uptown takes aim at what he wants, he never misses.

You can start your new year in the Lagrange bayou with the Devil’s Keepers motorcycle club when Devil’s Mark releases on January 3rd. Meanwhile, get started with this teasing excerpt and be sure to check out the first book in the series, Devil’s Honor, reviewed earlier this year here on Lady Smut.

Click on image to preorder!

Click on image to preorder!

Hope you had a happy and healthy Christmas day and start of Chanukkah celebrations! Be sure to check back with Lady Smut for a wild and sexy 2017!

“Here’s how this works,” Uptown said, very calmly, but being this close to him again made her a little bit dizzy.  She could see the way his dark chocolate eyes gleamed.  It did not exactly make her think of candy.  “You’re under my protection.  That’s what you tell anyone who comes at you or tries to cop a feel, okay?”

Holly bristled.  “I don’t need to be protected.”

“Baby, please.  They’ll eat you alive.”

“Well, so what if they do?” she demanded, glaring at him, that odd thing in her stomach that shouldn’t have been shame—because what did it matter what a biker thought of her—pulling into a taut, hard knot.  “What do you care?  And besides, Katelyn seems perfectly happy being consumed by the biker world.”

“You don’t want to be Katelyn.”

“I love Katelyn,” Holly snapped, because weirdness between them didn’t mean Holly should be disloyal.  “She’s been my best friend since we shared a coloring book in kindergarten.”

“This isn’t fucking kindergarten, babe.  Christ.”

“I’m sure that whatever makes Katelyn happy is good enough for me.”  She might have been talking from between her teeth, but she meant it.

“You know how your girl got her job here?” Uptown reached over then and took the end of her ponytail in his fist, tugging gently on it.  It should have been annoying, like a mosquito buzzing around her.  It wasn’t.  Instead, she could feel that faint pulling sensation… everywhere. “She blew Bart, right here in this office.  That was her warm up, but you know, nothing new for her since she’d been hanging around the clubhouse for a while.  Then she banged a couple of brothers on the couch to show her appreciation for being considered.  But we doubted her commitment because she always seemed more about the party than getting any work done, so the next night she came back and blew a line of brothers, then let Bart fuck her in the ass over the desk while anyone who wanted to watch hung out.  She started later that night.  Big tips all around.”  His head tilted to one side and she couldn’t have described that gleam in his gaze if her life had depended on it.  But she could feel it like a punch to her belly.  “That about what you had in mind tonight?  Because I should tell you, we already knew and liked Katelyn.  That was why we kept it mellow.  Some of the other girls who work here had a lot more to prove when they came in.”

Holly thought it was lucky that she couldn’t really process a single thing he’d said.  Because it was too much.  She remembered hunching over that coloring book with Katelyn when they were little, sharing their crayons even though they’d both wanted the green.  She remembered all their sleepovers over the years, lying huddled up in the same bed whispering secrets and dreams into the dark.  She didn’t want to think about her friend dispensing blow jobs or anything else.  Because if she did, she might have to pay attention to the things her body was doing, as if it was imagining her in all the positions Uptown had described so nonchalantly.  She felt… weird.  But she couldn’t let herself think about that.

“I thought Katelyn belonged to the club,” she said instead.

“Sure,” Uptown agreed, lazily.  Or maybe he was just amused at how little Holly knew about his world and Katelyn’s place in it, despite how close she’d claimed she and Katelyn were.  Worse, she was sure he could see exactly how red her cheeks were.  She could feel the crisp heat in them and had to force herself not to put her hands there and make it worse.  “She takes care of us, we take care of her.”

“And I notice that you left yourself out of that story.”  She ignored the flare of heat in her cheeks, particularly when his gaze seemed to sharpen.  “Is that a sudden fit of modesty?”

He tugged on the end of her ponytail, making her chin rise against her will.  But when he eased off the pressure, she didn’t lower it.

“Nothing modest about me.  You want to hear who I fuck and how?  I’m not shy, princess.  But I think you are.”

1st-3-covers-dkmc

Hot Picks for Fall

19 Sep

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Despite the 80 degree days here in New Jersey, Autumn is definitely beginning to creep its way in, thank sweet baby Jesus. I actually lowered the two kitchen windows yesterday because the nights have been too cold to keep them open. (Other windows will stay open till the first frost. What can I say? I like a cool house.)

Those of you with children have already been through the hell that is September back-to-school. I heard more whinges about school forms and activity sign ups from my parented friends in the last three weeks then I can ever remember hearing before. I gather email has made things worse, not better, on that front. Bless.

Being child-free, my September angst has taken the form of parenting my parents in various, fluctuating ways. Such is the course for this era of my life, as it often is for many people. In these times of angst and declining temps, we need something to heat up the home fires and keep us burning in the right ways. Can I get an amen?!

Fear not! I am here for you with a pair of hot reads for the fall.

DEVIL’S HONOR by Megan Crane

This is the first book in Crane’s new biker series for Loveswept, The Devil’s Keepers. Rooted deep in the Louisiana bayou, the Devil’s Keepers biker gang first had a cameo in Crane’s novel, Make You Burn, part of The Deacons of Bourbon Street series, and one of my top picks for 2015. I’ve personally been hot and heavy for this series ever since (this may have included some author nagging), mostly because I’m a sequel bait whore, but also because my biker book jones is motoring on hard and strong (much like those bikers), fueled by such excellent fare as DEVIL’S HONOR. It’s a reunion romance too, so I’m essentially in Romancelandia hog heaven on multiple fronts.

devils-honor

Available November 1, 2016. Click image to preorder!

Look! A blurb!

Merritt Broussard grew up knowing she had two choices if she stayed in Lagrange: run with the outlaws or get left in their dust. So she got the hell out, leaving behind a bad-boy biker and scorching memories of their summer fling. Now Merritt’s back, with trouble on her tail, and the sergeant-at-arms of the Devil’s Keepers is the one person she can still trust. But Greeley isn’t the boy she remembers. He’s harder now, more dangerous—and even more alluring.

Joseph “Greeley” Shaw loves two things: his bike and his club. At eighteen, he escaped a rough life, found the Devil’s Keepers on the wrong side of a bad weekend, and never looked back. Greeley swore to live and die by their code: Devil’s Keepers first, Devil’s Keepers forever. No one comes between him and his brothers—except for the tantalizing woman who touched his soul. Greeley’s the kind of man who honors his commitments . . . and Merritt is one promise he’s determined to keep.

Merritt returns to Lagrange after the death of her father, a man who’d spent most of her life as the back-door doctor for the Devil’s Keepers–and sheltering Merritt from the same. She still managed to fall in love with Greeley one hot summer after college ended and before leaving for an east coast law school and life far from home. Now that she’s back, she’s desperate to avoid Greeley, now sergeant-at-arms for the club, and the ex-lover who’d promised that if she returned to the parish after leaving him wounded and broken-hearted (that very much not being typical biker response) he’d either claim her or kill her.

Faced with a major crossroad in her life and pursued by a man who refuses to comprehend the meaning of “no”, Merritt has come home despite knowing what will happen should Greeley discover she’s there. It’s not long before he does just that. Cue the sexy hijinks and emotionally wrenching self-discovery, all of which makes DEVIL’S HONOR typical Crane fare. Once again, as in her EDGE series, her world-building is spot on. The sultry Louisiana environs may seem drawn with familiar strokes, but Crane makes them feel freshly painted with a tangible feel so that you’ll want to swim in all that sticky bayou heat.

One of the things I love that’s a staple in Crane’s books is how the hero softens without losing a hint of his badass-ness (I swear that’s a word). Greeley starts the book knowing full well how much Merritt means to him–and then she destroys him. He hates that he let himself be so vulnerable to anyone, much less to a woman, talking about a future together while she was planning her escape. He’s not about to let that happened to him again just because she’s run home with trouble on her bones and grief in her heart. Despite his deep resentment and simmering anger, faced with Merritt in the flesh, Greeley can’t resist that same pull she wrapped him up in the first time around–and this time, he’s not letting her go. The journey he takes to be what they both need so they can become the unit they were meant to be is one you shouldn’t miss. DEVIL’S HONOR is super sexy hot and emotionally wrenching with moments of humor sprinkled like sips of Jack D, and enough sequel bait to make you wish the calendar would hurry the eff up and so you can get to the next one. I mean, just look at the covers for the books yet coming our way!

Click on image to preorder!

Click on image to preorder!

Click on image to preorder!

Click on image to preorder!

 

 

 

 

Strewth. DEVIL’S HONOR will be released November 1, 2016, Devil’s Mark on January 3, 2017, and Devil’s Own on May 16, 2017 (*MAY?!*), but you can pre-order all three of them now.

INDECENT PROPOSAL by Katee Robert

Trading the heat of the bayou for the cool of New England brings us to Robert’s dark romance, Irish mob series, The O’Malleys. INDECENT PROPOSAL is the latest installment of the series, and, as usual, Robert delivers with a twisty, layered, story of what happens when the Irish and the Russian mobs butt up against one another–and when two of their children inconveniently fall in love.

Look! A blurb!

Greed. Ambition. Violence. Those are the “values” Olivia Rashidi learned from her Russian mob family-and the values she must leave behind for the sake of her daughter. When she meets Cillian O’Malley, she recognizes the red flag of his family name . . . yet she still can’t stop herself from seeing the smoldering, tortured man. To save her family, Olivia sets out to discover Cillian’s own secrets, but the real revelation is how fast-and how hard-she’s falling for him.

Plagued by a violent past, Cillian is more vulnerable than anyone realizes. Anyone except Olivia, whose beauty, compassion, and pride have him at “hello,” even if she’s more inclined to say good-bye to an O’Malley. While his proposal of sex with no strings seems simple, what he feels for her isn’t, especially after he learns that she belongs to a rival crime family. Cillian knows that there is no escape from the life, but Olivia may be worth trying-and dying-for . . .

 

Click on image to buy!

Click on image to buy!

First of all, THAT COVER. Cillian wears those tight vests in the story too, so this is definitely a case of the cover reflecting the goodness within. And, hel-lo goodness!

Olivia is the bastard child of the now dead head of the Russian mafia. Her scary half-brother wants her (and her daughter) back in the familial fold to fulfill his deathbed promise to his father while keeping them under his control–whether Olivia likes it or not. And she really doesn’t like it at all. The last thing she needs is to tangle with the brooding son of the Irish mob, with his sexy vests and rolled up sleeves out of which glimpses of his many tats can sometimes been seen. But Olivia is losing her battle to resist the charmer who makes dirty alley sex seem somehow pure and special. All this while she tries to keep her enforcer ex from laying claim to their daughter–and falls deeper and deeper into the lure of Irish eyes.

After the death of his younger brother, Cillian has done an about face in his life–not that his family has noticed. Gone from drunken, brawling lout to tortured, loner accountant, Cillian has slowly been taking up maintenance of his family’s legitimate enterprises–and those books less open to the light of day. His only solace are the hours he spends at the local pub sipping apple juice and sparring with Olivia. He’s seen her hard veneer crack, revealing the soft, welcoming woman who is the real draw to Cillian’s guilt-ridden soul. But the wrong marriage of mob families has already ripped The O’Malley’s apart and hooking his future with an enemy’s sister is a sure way for Cillian to find himself equally ejected from the family.

Like Crane, Robert uses her setting as it’s own character, wrapping Cillian and Olivia’s story in the dark alleys and mansions of Boston, it’s unforgiving streets offering both succor and jeopardy whether it’s the open lawns of the Boston Common or the opulence of Beacon Hill or the shadowy nooks of Southie.

Olivia and Cillian have been sparking since they first clashed in The Wedding PactOlivia knows all too well the dangers of being deep with a mob family and is not eager to jump feet first into another one, buy Cillian is unlike any man in her experience, treating her with gentleness and affection when she least expects it. Cillian’s demons haven’t let him rest since he watched his brother bleed out in the street. The only quiet in Olivia’s presence and that makes her worth any risk she might bring with her–be it from her family or his.

Click on image to preorder!

Click on image to preorder!

An Indecent Proposal is currently available and there’s more dark, twisty romance goodness coming in the new year as Forbidden Promises, The O’Malley’s Book Four, is scheduled to release next May (again with the May?!) sporting a cover that drove me to ask Robert where her Forever Romance publisher was finding these guys and, more importantly, are they single?!

Forbidden Promises will feature a runaway O’Malley as Sloan O’Malley flees her father’s machinations for her future to a cottage by the sea…never knowing her new, surly neighbor is a hit man (named Jude. How awesome is that name?!) with a vendetta against all things Sheridan, the competing Irish mob family whose queen is married to Sloan’s brother Teague (of The Marriage Contract).

So settle in, cozy up, and keep hot and bothered with these prime choices from a pair of authors burning up Romancelandia this fall.

Follow Lady Smut. We’ll promise to keep your home fires burning.

 

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel Wild on the Rocks is now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

All titles reviewed in this post were provided to the reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Favorite Trends in Romance: A Guest Post by Michele Mannon

15 Aug

by Michele Mannon

The Romance Writers of America conference this summer held a discussion about hot trends within the romance genre. For this post, I decided to address this topic and share five trends I think are both prevalent in many new releases as well as trends I gravitate toward as a reader.

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Guest Poster Michele Mannon

Bikers, Mobsters, Criminals, and Hit Men

I’ll be the first to admit, I love a bad boy hero. I love reading them. I love featuring them in my books. These mega Alpha heroes typically run against the grain of society, are often defiant, violent and like to be in control. Ever since Kristen Ashley released Motorcycle Man, with a surly bad ass biker hero named Kane “Tack” Allen, I’ve been hooked. Another book I recently read is Dark Mafia Prince by Annika Martin. The hero is a mobster…a hot as sin Russian bratva, and man is he naughty.

Tattoos

What began as bad boy heroes with tribal tattoos seems to have morphed into an entire subgenre within contemporary romance. Laura Kaye has a great series, The Hard Ink Novels, which are set in a tattoo parlor. And authors are getting creative with what their hero’s and heroine’s tats say and where they’re located. The best example of this is in Molly Joseph’s Diva. Sorry I can’t give it away but let’s just say you’ll feel like you’ve been struck by lightening after the author so expertly reveal it.

Dirty, Filthy Sex

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Remember when in almost every romance you’d have to wait until page 100 for the characters to get it on? Just like the pacing in stories is changing—becoming much more like television, fast and always moving forward—sex within romances is happening a lot sooner, and with much more yummy, explicit detail. Spankings, rough, dirty-talking heroes, and a whole lot of intense foreplay seem to be the norm right now. And I really love a good, dirty sex scene. Yet crafting one where love sex that drips off the pages and that has the right balance of angst, love and sexual tension is hard work. I recently had a reviewer comment about my new release, Rogue, the first book in The Deadliest Lies Series: “Mannon really knows how to craft a love scene-scintillating and yet tender.” A comment I love, of course. The truth is I write scenes I want to read. And hopefully, you do too! (BTW, I featured an excerpt below. Warning: heat level high.)

Crossing the Border

Scenes, and stories, set outside of small town America seems to be an “up-and-coming” trend. In The Professional, Kresley Cole took us on an amazing, and highly erotic, journey to Russia. There’s a great scene inside a banya that I love. In case you’re wondering, a banya is an outdoor sauna the Russians favor. Inside, visitors escape the cold and partake in the custom of smacking each other across the body with bound twigs and leafy branches dipped in cold water. See, there’s something new to be learned in these globe-trotting stories.
And characters are also taking on more of an international flavor. Ilsa Madden-Mills, Dirty English, features a British street fighter. In my book Hit Man (coming 11/16), Diego is Mexican/Danish…with a filthy, Spanish-speaking potty mouth. 

Mercenary Promo Image

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Man Buns

Okay, I haven’t read a single romance with a hero with a man bun. And I’m talking about the curled up ponytail kind, not buns of steel. But I’m giving everyone an official heads up. If you read The Deadliest Lies series, the ruthless CEO of this group of hit men has a man bun. You’ll see it described through the main characters eyes in every book. But I promise you, when Hayden’s story is revealed, great things are going to happen to that man bun.

So what are trends you’re reading in romance? Which ones do you like? Are there any driving you crazy? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading!

Blurb for ROGUE

My lover is dead.

And they think I killed him.

I’m running rogue. Hell bent on both revenge and redemption. Whatever it takes, I’m going to finish a job that began nine months ago. An unauthorized assignment that turned horribly, devastatingly wrong.

My miscalculation.

My fault.

My heart left shattered into incomplete pieces which will never wholly fit back together again.

But first I have to outsmart my former organization and the hired killer they’ve sent after me; a ghost from my past who knows my every move, who’s been inside my head, my heart, my dreams and memories: Jaxson.

I’m the traitor, Kylie. The rogue mercenary, Jaxson’s newest assignment.

And this is our love story.

Rogue Promo collage

Click on image to buy!

Excerpt from ROGUE: Warning ~ Spice Level HOT

Kylie and Jaxson are on the run and things get a bit wild.

Terrific. He’s going to flirt with me and tease me to death.

“You up for a challenge?”

“It depends on what it is.”

“Smart girl. How about I give you a play by play? Then you can either tell me to fuck off or to go for it.”

“What if I tell you to fuck off right now?” I sweetly ask.

He chuckles. “It’s your dime, fireball. Your call.”

I arch my eyebrows. He’s got this naughty, devilish look in his eyes and, God knows, not only should I resist him but I should roll myself out of our hiding place and run as fast as my legs will carry me into the woods.

“If this will help me survive Hell Camp, I’m up for a challenge,” I hear myself say.

“Believe me, it’s going to be a lesson in restraint for me as well. So here’s the deal. I wanna tease that sweet pussy of yours. Fuck you with my fingers. See how quiet you can be, how still you can be, how in control you can be when all hell is breaking loose around you. A shame I can’t lick you like I want. We’ll save that for a better time.

What do you say?”

What do I say? I open, close then open my mouth. Nothing comes out. Not “Yes, make me come beneath this decomposing tree while Hayden’s hellions run amuck around us.” Not “No, how about courting me with a few flowers first? Or at the very least, getting me tipsy on a bottle of good wine?”

I swallow hard. “I say this is you being unpredictable. Go figure.”

His hand slides downward and across my belly.

“Don’t you dare,” I whisper.

“Oh, I dare. But . . . do you?”

“Seriously?”

“I’ve been thinking about this for days. Fuck, since you sank that knife into my thigh.”

I squeeze my eyes shut. Hating that memory.

Jesus. He’s lost his freaking mind right along with me losing mine.

“Listen. You think I haven’t noticed the way you’ve been eye-fucking me? Damn, I love the way you bite then lick your lip while you think I don’t know that you’re watching me.” His hand moves across my lower abdomen, the tips of his fingers sliding beneath the waistband of my sweatpants and my panties.

“Jaxson who?” I reply. Yeah, right. I’ve had eye-gasms over him for weeks.

This is crazy. Beyond crazy . . . insane. My whole experience at Hell Camp, the fights, the knives, is surreal. One adventure after another. Nothing prepared me for him. The pad of his pointer finger flickers over my nub, tempting me. I think, Why not give into this wild need to go a little nuts? Besides, I’m with the right man to push me over the edge—literally. Just looking at him . . . oh my . . .

He’s curled a finger inside my folds.

The bony part of his palm rubs across my sensitive hood.

And I’m wet, and growing wetter with each subtle caress.

“Bend your leg and put it up on my outer thigh.”

I stare at him like he’s talking gibberish.

“I need this as much as you do.” He grins like a madman, a daredevil, a man who can steal your breath away then have you begging he steal more of it. And just like that, I’m a goner.

I bend, lift my leg, and anchor it on top of his thigh. “Stop . . . talking. Or they’ll hear you,” I whisper, my tone hoarse with excitement.

Naughty. Oh so naughty, and I want it.

“Fireball,” he murmurs, “I’m going to be struggling right along with you not to give our hiding spot away. I promise you that.”

“Misery loves company,” I add, then moan as he thrusts a digit into my slick channel.

“The best kind of misery.”

Slowly, so very slowly, he slides his finger in and out, and I’m in heaven. I feel his thumb pressing into my nub as his finger drags along the walls of my channel.

“You’re wet but tight,” he breathes into my ear, “I’m going to work another finger inside. Nod if that’s okay.”

“Do it,” I demand.

As promised, he pushes a second in alongside the first. Slowly at first, then quickening the pace. I can’t help but tilt my hips along with each stroke. It’s not long before I feel the climax building up inside me.

I moan.

“Coming,” he whispers so quietly, I barely catch his question.

“Almost. Sweet Mary . . .”

“No. They’re coming. Footsteps.” He winks at me, rolling his thumb once again over my sensitive hood while his fingers plunge into me and withdraw. Once. Twice. Three times. Until my body is shaking with need.

I jerk at the sound of a voice close by. “The trail Jaxson left behind was goddamn amateurish. Like he wants us to find him. He’s around here somewhere.”

My eyebrows lift high enough to touch the tree overhead.

His smirk is full of mischief.

And, holy sweet Mary, if his tongue is anything like his fingers . . . I clamp my lips shut, holding back my moan. Yes, oh yes.

“Check around.”

No, oh no.

“Over here,” someone shouts at the same time I arch my hips toward Jaxson and pray that the mewing sound going off in my head doesn’t work its way out of my mouth.

I struggle to keep quiet, to still my movements, to not give us away. And I curse Jaxson for putting me in this situation, for masterfully bringing me to the edge, to make me want to shout out my climax, only to have to dig deep not to do so.

My eyes meet his, and without my making a sound, I crest. My pleasure clear as day in what has to be the most blissful expression known to womankind. Which, I silently gasp, is reflected in the hottest look known to mankind that crosses over his face.

Sweet mother of God. This man is going to be the death of me.

“That was fucking beautiful.”

I blush. “Shhh. They’ll hear you.”

“They’re gone, off on a wild-goose chase. I ran ahead and planted a few less-than-subtle trail marks. Still, we better head back.” He removes his hand from beneath my sweatpants, shifts my leg off his thigh, and rolls out from beneath the tree. I squeeze my eyes shut, briefly, disbelieving what I’ve just done, then slide out after him.

He offers me a hand up.

“You’re insane,” I mumble.

“And you’re beautiful.” 

ROGUE is now available to buy from all major ebook retailers (click image above for direct link).

Follow Lady Smut for more great guest posts!

Michele Mannon creates characters who are far from perfect; who are likely to be knee-deep in trouble, heart-first in love and at wits’ end when life unexpectedly, unequivocally turns to hell. Her debut series, Worth the Fight, received two Romantic Times Magazine Top Picks. Her new sexy romantic suspense series with St. Martin’s Press, Deadliest Lies, releases in August 2016, beginning with ROGUE, a story about what happens when your own organization sends a hit man after you mistakenly, heart-wrenchingly kill your lover. Michele lives in Pennsylvania but likes traveling to exotic places, including the NJ shore. She’s fond of skinny cinnamon dolce lattes, quick-witted, Irish-accented men, a good story, and lots and lots of laughter.

For more information about Michele, please visit her website: http://www.michelemannon.com.

 

 

 

 

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