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Critical Hit-On by Deanna Dee

April 19, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News 1 Comment →

Critical Hit-On ebook

Book Title: Critical Hit-On (The Games of Love #1)


Roll for attraction. Molly Moreau used to be a geek with the best of them—role playing games, multi-user dungeons, trading cards—the works. Then she found her long-time boyfriend in a dark corner with a girl dressed as Lara “boobs and guns” Croft. That was it for the relationship and for her geekiness. After moving back home, she got a job at a normal bar and grill with normal people to live a normal life. That is until Craig shows up with his RPG character sheet. Craig Lawrence has been rolling 1s on the relationship front ever since his last girlfriend broke up with him because he apparently spent too much time playing guardian to his rebellious little sister. When he meets Molly, he wants more than anything to win her heart, and this time he’ll do anything to keep his family problems from interfering. When fate (Molly’s best friend) brings Craig and Molly together (sets them up on a date), will this relationship roll yet another 1? Or will it score a critical hit?

Buy link – Amazon–Games-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B00T71QVK6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1423235114&sr=1-1&keywords=deanna+dee

DeannaDee_CHO Author Photo

Author bio

Deanna Dee is strictly human and does not, to her knowledge, own a hyena. She lives by the sea, which she takes full advantage of in the summer time. Nerd culture and pop culture make up the shameless downtime of her life. The rest of it is writing, and she’s okay with that.

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 Questions I am so glad you could join us here at RomanceJunkies.

To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current projects?

First of all, thank you so much for having me today! Writers never pass up an opportunity to talk (write?) about themselves, and I’m no exception. My current project is “geek romance.” Wording it that way sounds like I’m talking about just my current book. However, this is bigger than just one book. I’ve read my fair share of romances, and though the HEAs are wonderful, they’ve always left me feeling a little down. I’m a geek with the best of them, and in romances, often the geeky girls are the sidekicks or the “weird” friends. They’re rarely the main character. So with the Games of Love series, I wanted to turn that around. I wanted the main characters (girls and guys alike) to be geeks of some kind. My goal was to provide a book where the “weird sidekick” gets her HEA without having to give up her weirdness. Here’s hoping I succeeded.

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

I did my undergrad work in psychology. And one day during my senior year, I was going along, minding my business, and suddenly, it hit me. I wanted to be a writer. So I finished college, got my degree in psych, and then threw myself into learning the writing craft. The rest, as they say, is anthropology.

Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

Jessica Freeley—one of my grad school mentors and an awesome writer. She told me to let my stories break free of the binds that hold them, and I’ve been a better writer for it.

Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you? The perfect hero?

Hmm, someone who is kind, patient, funny, fun, isn’t afraid to laugh, knows his way around a semicolon, and enjoys doing stuff outside during the day. The perfect hero for me? All of the above, minus the semicolon and plus long hair. (Co-Cap—my boyfriend—will be happy to know I’m not holding him to semicolon usage.)

What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections?

I love singing and can often be found wandering around my house doing so. In the summer, I’m at the beach as often as possible. I collect medieval decorations—figurines, swords, etc. And of course, I love reading.

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

Well, there was the time my friends and I were looking for a restaurant that was supposed to be five minutes from school. We ended up almost an hour from school, and the GPS gave us a blue screen of death. Then we found a different branch of the same restaurant, so it all worked out. Then there was the time a different group of friends and I were looking for a Subway and kept asking for directions, and no matter how far we walked, it was always two blocks away. (We did eventually find it.) These really aren’t big adventures, but they are the ridiculous, funny situations that my groups of friends often end up in. So to us, they’re big.

If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?

Ireland. I’ve always wanted to go, and I am going before I die. I think I even have travel buddies lined up. Should probably check with them. When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes? I prefer to stick to stuff I’m familiar/comfortable with. Though, Co-Cap is trying to break me of that habit.

How do you describe yourself? How would your family and friends describe you?

I’m a simple person who enjoys the little things in life like spring days and sunshine. My friends and family would probably say I’m a pest. Then they would say that they actually like me and that I’m a fun person to be around and talk to. They might also mention my slight obsession with alliteration.

What is your favorite comfort food? Pizza?

After that, mom’s tomato sauce. There is nothing like mom’s cooking even though she claims she isn’t a good cook. What is your favorite season? What do you love about it? Spring. It’s springy! K, seriously, it’s not too hot but not too cold. It’s got sun. There are birds. I have my window open as I type this, and there’s a gorgeous breeze. It’s a season that’s between any discomfort of winter or summer. Apparently I’m Goldilocks when it comes to weather.

What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?

Uh, running water. I could definitely live without my iPhone. I’d have a tough time without the computer, being a writer and all, but I’m sure I’d manage. But running water. Yeah, I really don’t want to be without that.

What is this romance writer’s idea of the “ideal romantic evening”?

For Valentine’s Day, Co-Cap and I watched Spaceballs (the Mel Brooks movie). That should say it all.

What project are you working on next?

Games of Love book 2 is almost done and coming out in either May or June. After that, there’s the next 3 books in the series, and after that, I have a scifi romance brewing.

Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next?

I recently had a guest post featured at Boom Baby Reviews on the topic of my characters’ names. And on May 15, I am being interviewed by To Read or Not To Read.

When a Rake Falls by Sally Orr

April 19, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News 1 Comment →


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For 3 copies of The Rake’s Handbook by Sally Orr

Open 3/10 – 4/30

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I’m Sally Orr, the author of the new historical Regency-era romance, WHEN A RAKE FALLS. This is book 2 in The Rake’s Handbook series. Thank you so much to Romance Junkies for hosting me today. I’m excited to introduce you to WHEN A RAKE FALLS.

In order to for you to get to know my hero and heroine, Miss Eve Mountfloy and Lord Boyce Parker, a little better, I’ve conducted a mini interview to give you a little taste of WHEN A RAKE FALLS.


Best wishes,

Sally Orr


Your house is on fire. You have saved your family, pets, and the family photos. You have time to save one more item. What will you save?

Boyce:  Eve’s book of results from science experiments started by her father.

Eve:  My father’s book of results from his scientific experiments.


Which of these do you have the most of: sense of humor, sense of time, sense of adventure, common sense?

Boyce:  Sense of adventure, I plan to invest in ballooning, so that one day, you may reach for your balloon in the morning the way you reach for your spurs now.

Eve:  Common sense. I don’t like to waste time on silly projects.


Complete this sentence: It must be true that opposites attract because my partner and I are total opposites when it comes to ___________.

Boyce:  Sartorial excellence.

Eve:  The ability to sing.


When a Rake Falls

By Sally Orr

Sourcebooks Casablanca

The Rake’s Handbook, Book 2

Historical Regency Romance

April 7, 2015

ISBN: 9781492602149

$7.99 Mass Market Paperback


About the Book

He’s racing to win back his reputation

Having hired a balloon to get him to Paris in a daring race, Lord Boyce Parker is simultaneously exhilarated and unnerved by the wonders and dangers of flight, and most of all by the beautiful, stubborn, intelligent lady operating the balloon.

She’s curious about the science of love

Eve Mountfloy is in the process of conducting weather experiments when she finds herself spirited away to France by a notorious rake. She’s only slightly dismayed—the rake seems to respect her work—but she is frequently distracted by his windblown physical magnificence and buoyant spirits.

What happens when they descend from the clouds?

As risky as aeronautics may be, once their feet touch the ground, Eve and Boyce learn the real danger of a very different type of falling…


Praise for The Rake’s Handbook:

“Orr debuts with a charming romp. The witty repartee and naughty innuendos set the perfect pitch for the entertaining romance. Though there are serious themes and carefully researched historical details, it’s the banter and sensuality that are sure to enchant readers.” –RT Book Reviews, 4 stars


Buy the Book

The Rake’s Handbook: Including Field Guide (Book 1)

Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kobo

When a Rake Falls (Book 2)

Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kobo


About the Author

Sally Orr worked for thirty years in medical research, specializing in the discovery of gene function. After joining an English history message board, she posted many, many examples of absolute tomfoolery. As a result, a cyber-friend challenged her to write a novel. Since she is a hopeless Anglophile, it’s not surprising that her first book is a Regency romance. Sally lives with her husband in San Diego, surrounded by too many nerdy books and not enough old English cars.

 Connect with Sally Orr

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Excerpt from WHEN A RAKE FALLS

 London, 1825

Lord Boyce Parker felt a sudden urge to sing. The brisk morning air, the glorious sunshine, and the presence of a hundred or so excited gentlemen milling around him could only mean a remarkable day ahead. Boyce knew he’d be mocked if he broke out in song, but sometimes happiness just bubbled up from somewhere down in your toes and overwhelmed a fellow. “My candle burns bright—-”

“Goes without saying you learned to sing by reading a book,” said George Drexel, one of Boyce’s oldest friends. “Right now I could be in bed with the lovely Widow Donhurst. Instead, I’m standing here amongst the rabble of London, far too early for any sane man, following another one of your bacon–brained schemes.”

Boyce ignored him and kept his gaze fixed on the balcony of Stainthorpe House. Yesterday, the Earl of Stainthorpe had placed an advertisement in all of the newspapers inviting London’s finest bachelors to gather in Royston Square. Although the details in the advertisement were few, it hinted fame and five thousand pounds might be gained by winning one of several “challenges.” As the son of a wealthy marquess, Boyce had no need for the money, but he longed for a chance to impress his father. “It’s not my bacon–brained scheme; it’s the earl’s. Cheer up. You will be the friend of the victorious Lord Boyce Parker.”

Drexel turned to glare at the pressing horde of eager young gentlemen behind them. “You don’t even know what the old man’s challenges are. They could all be a hum, like a scavenger hunt to find his great–uncle’s tricorne hat or his aunt’s lost poodle.” Drexel dressed in somber colors without fancy cravats or fobs, so his words had the gravity of a humorless man no one would willfully cross. This morning, his rumpled clothes, dark whiskers, and obvious lack of sleep—-no doubt due to a long night of amorous adventure—-made him appear grumpier than normal. “I hardly think the earl’s tomfool challenges will make you famous.”

“You don’t sound cheerful.” Boyce grinned at his old school friend. “I’m confident the earl’s challenges will be significant and my assured victory will pave the way to restoring my father’s esteem.”

Drexel spat on the ground. “Chasing your brother’s fame? Richard is a glorious war hero. I’m sure winning some silly challenge won’t compete with his elevated consequence.”

“You’re wrong. When my name is printed in the newspapers, my father will have to speak of me with the same admiration he gives Richard.”

“I don’t think winning a challenge will change the marquess’s opinion of you—-”

“Look.” Boyce pointed upward.

The Earl of Stainthorpe stepped to the edge of his balcony overlooking Royston Square. “My friends, I understand there are no great men left in England.” Silver wisps of hair escaped the earl’s old–fashioned queue and blew over his forehead, but he ignored them as he squarely confronted the men below.

The audience surged forward and yelled retorts to the earl’s audacious remark.

Boyce had arrived an hour early so he would be close enough to hear his lordship’s every word. But if this hubbub continued, he might not catch what the earl had to say. He turned to the man yelling behind him. “I’ll give you a pound, my good fellow, if you can shout louder.”

The man smiled and shouted.

“Definitely not louder, unfortunate loss indeed,” Boyce said. “Now I suggest you hush and let his lordship speak.”

Standing two steps behind his master, the earl’s butler vigorously rang a handbell to gain the attention of the boisterous crowd.

“The earldom of Stainthorpe owns numerous and diverse holdings,” the earl bellowed. “Therefore, upon my death, my daughter will be the richest woman in England.”

The crowd cheered.

The earl waited for them to settle down. “What I’m trying to say is, Lady Sarah Stainthorpe needs a husband. But so far, none of the Eligibles paraded before her will do. She refuses to marry and claims all the gentlemen in London are rogues, dandies, or worse. The point is, she’s a bluestocking and might fall in love with some bloody…a poet. I tell you, my friends, that Byron fellow has a lot to answer for.”

As the youngest son of a marquess, Boyce was considered an Eligible. Only, Lady Sarah had rejected him, and all the other Eligibles, seconds after they had presented themselves at Royston House—-an unfortunate circumstance, since he believed Lady Sarah would make an excellent wife and a very pretty one too. After a moment of reflection, he realized every lady of his acquaintance would make a pretty wife. One or two may have a feature some might call “unfortunate.” Nevertheless, he always found something pretty in every female countenance.

“Are all the gentlemen I see before me rogues or dandies?” the earl shouted. “Of course not. One or two maybe, and several of you are shockingly loose in the haft.” His lordship pointed to a young man wearing a violet greatcoat, hanging by one arm on a streetlight. “Especially you, sir.”

With his free hand, the man doffed his top hat.

“Yes, I mean you,” the earl said. “My condolences to your poor father.”

All of the Parker men possessed a fine figure, so he knew even a poorly tailored coat hung well upon his shoulders. The many compliments he received had gained him a reputation as an expert in masculine fashion. Therefore, Boyce felt his lordship should show more sympathy to a man wearing a lamentable violet greatcoat, since the earl wore an old square coat and baggy breeches.

“Where was I?” The earl paused to scan the crowd. “Besides an obvious bone–breaker or two, you gentlemen are the embodiment of the character traits that make Englishmen the greatest people on earth. So I am challenging you—-the finest Englishmen alive—-to a race. A race to Paris!”

The crowd cheered.

“This is not a race where the winner arrives first,” the earl said. “No, it is a test to discover the gentlemen who possess England’s greatest traits.”

“Gin drinking, gov?” someone shouted.

The crowd laughed and called out a few additional “traits.”

The earl ignored their comments. “And I mean English character traits—-not British. That country was some tomfoolery created by meddlesome politicians. This is a race for Englishmen only. Now, my race will have five challenges and five winners. Each winner will win a prize of a gold cup and five thousand pounds.”

The mob erupted in huzzahs; top hats flew into the air.

Under his sky–blue waistcoat, Boyce’s heartbeat escalated. This race presented him with his best opportunity to distinguish himself. He would win at least two of the earl’s challenges and earn a reputation as a prime example of English manhood. “Huzzah!” He too threw his beaver hat in the air.

The butler rang the handbell for a full minute before the crowd settled down.

The earl held up his hands. “Here are the details of the five—-count them—-five challenges. You have one month to reach Stainthorpe House in Paris. Each gentleman will write about his journey and provide the name of a witness. The man whose travels provide the best example of an English trait wins a challenge. Once the winners promise to spend the remainder of the summer in our company, they will be rewarded with a gold cup and five thousand pounds. With such excellent examples of true English manhood escorting Lady Sarah around Paris, she must certainly fall in love with one of you unlicked cubs.”

The assembled men danced in circles. Each one of them was probably dreaming about how he would spend his winnings.

Eager to hear the details, Boyce frowned at the clamorous riffraff behind him. The earl was right; they all appeared to be a lot of rag–mannered coves, so he gained complete confidence that he could best any of their English traits—-whatever those traits may be. Once he reached Paris, Lady Sarah would discover he was the finest of fellows and they would fall in love. Women seemed naturally to favor him over other gentlemen—-wonderful creatures, women.

The earl’s voice boomed across the square. “What are the character traits that make Englishmen so great, you ask?”

The young men below the balcony tendered several improper suggestions.

“No.” The earl waved his hand. “Not physical features. Traits like courage and intelligence. So the challenges are thus: The first gold cup will be given to the gentleman who represents English courage. We are the country of Nelson, so bravery and courage course through every one of our veins.”

Someone shouted the nature of what was coursing through his veins.

The earl continued without hesitation. “The second gold cup will be given to the gentleman whose journey represents classic English sportsmanship. Any Englishman alive can out hunt, out fish, and out ride all other races of men. So to win the second cup, some outstanding feat of sportsmanship will rule the day. Extra consideration will be given to the best example of a journey completed under difficult circumstances.”

Boyce huffed. “Well, his lordship is wrong. The true nature of English sportsmanship is not victory over adversity, but our support for the dark horse and sense of fair play. We are, by nature, a generous people.”

Drexel slapped him on the back. “For once I agree with you. But considering your history in the field, I suggest you don’t try for the sportsmanship cup.”

“Sportsmanship can be demonstrated by means other than fishing or shooting every magnificent creature—-for example, by boxing or gaming. I practice my pugilistic skills at Jackson’s twice a week now. You cannot tell me his place is not full of sportsmen. Or how about when a fellow loses a fortune gaming at White’s and faces his loss with the grace and good humor of a gentleman? That’s sportsmanship under pressure, if you ask me.”

“Yes, but the earl believes boxing is for professionals and only women play cards.”

Boyce widened his eyes. “In my opinion, his lordship’s definition of sportsmanship is rather limited.”

The handbell sounded again before the earl continued his speech. “The third gold cup will be given to the gentleman whose journey best exhibits loyalty to the king or service to a lady.”

One man yelled, “I’d be delighted to service all the ladies on my way to Paris.”

Others in the crowd shouted similar generous offers.

“If you do so, sir,” the earl replied, “you will be shown the door. Loyalty means old–fashioned manners, being polite, and keeping your distance from your betters. Of all the challenges, I believe service to the Crown is the greatest honor any man could desire. And considering the manners I’ve witnessed here today, I’d say the challenge of this cup will remain unmet.”

Jeers filled the air.

Boyce wondered how a fellow could show loyalty to the king in a race. He supposed a gentleman might salute the king’s profile on a sovereign with every step of his journey, but dismissed it as an absurd notion. No, he’d be better off trying to provide a service to some lady.

His lordship nodded, and the handbell rang again. “Now quiet down. The fourth cup will be given to the man whose journey provides the best example of our English intelligence. We are the land of Newton and Davy, so the greatest brains of civilization are English. Except for that da Vinci fellow and one or two Greeks, but we can afford to be generous and let the rest of the world have a little luck now and then.”

Boyce elbowed his friend. “Yes, yes, that’s the cup for me. Bet I’ll win too. What do you say, fifty?”

“Agreed,” Drexel said. “I will also wager by the end of this whole flummery, Lady Sarah will reject all the winners out of spite. I would, if I were her.”

Boyce refused to believe Lady Sarah would object to any of the winners, once she knew them well. The lady wanted to be married, didn’t she? “No, no, young women are full of tender affection. I have never met one who did not want to fall in love and make her family happy.”

Drexel rolled his eyes. “I suspect that is because there are so many unmarried ladies dangling after you, you cannot imagine one refusing. And from the stories I heard yesterday, I’ll wager that if I throw a pebble into the crowd at the next assembly, it will hit a widow who has, or wants to be, in your bed. And believe me, those ladies are not expecting marriage.”

“You’re being vulgar in public,” Boyce said. “All of the widows I have ever…met were delightful. Deep in their hearts, they want to be married again, I’m sure.”

“So why haven’t you married one of these delightful ladies?”

“Never understood how fellows choose one to fall in love with.”

“If I know the marquess, the best way to impress him is to give him grandchildren. My father becomes unhinged with even the thought of grandchildren.”

“Grandchildren? Grandchildren are far in the future. A great public achievement is my best and only chance to regain my father’s respect. You’ll see. When I am crowned the victor of more than one challenge, my achievements will be the toast of London. Then all of England will think of me differently. I will no longer be just one of the seven anonymous brothers of the war hero Richard. Worse yet, if people do recognize me, they remember I’m the Parker son who published a scandalous book and then received the cut direct from his father—-his own father. After my victory in the challenges, everyone will have to refer to me as the intelligent, courageous Lord Boyce. Don’t you understand?”

Drexel winked at his friend. “Tell me, which of the great English traits do you represent best? Sounds like only Service to a Lady, and believe me, your service is the wrong type as far as the earl is concerned.”

“Ah, that’s my secret. But you will be a witness to my victory, won’t you?”

After pulling off his hat, Drexel took a full minute to smooth the beaver nap on the brim. “I’ll consider it.” A wide smirk broke across his dark, handsome face. “You’ve persuaded me to join the race too.”


The handbell clanged, and everyone faced the balcony again. “Gentlemen, there is one last challenge, the fifth cup. Since this was my daughter’s idea, perhaps in jest, you never know with females, let us call it the Lady’s Favorite.”

Shouts and laughter rose from the rabble.

The earl leaned forward over the mob. “Perhaps there are no gentlemen in England, and my daughter is right?” His lordship waited until the crowd quieted. “Lady Sarah has a funny notion that the greatest achievements of the English race are their sense of humor, wit, and eccentricities. I mean, now really, she is fond of Sheridan’s plays.” The earl held up his right hand to quiet the laughing crowd. “For this cup, Lady Sarah will be the final judge.”

The mob tendered several humorous jests of questionable wit.

The earl coughed several times but remained unmoving. “So there you have it. The five greatest English traits are courage, sportsmanship, intelligence, wit, and service to a lady. Now to business. I expect all who plan to take up the challenges to gather in our vestibule below. There, we will compile a list of the participants. You do not have to choose which cup you aspire to, and you may switch to another challenge at the end of your journey. Finally, you may win more than one challenge. Oh, and you must provide an acceptable witness. Anyone who observes your achievement and can testify on your behalf may be an official witness. The only exclusions are people who cannot be trusted, like paid companions or dear old mums.”

Several groans were heard, and one person clapped.

The earl nodded in the direction of the man who clapped. “Good man. The race will officially start after I stop speaking and will end a month from now on the second of July. On that day, you will present your written story describing your journey to Stainthorpe House at Rue de la Chaussée-d’Antin. There, I will choose the five best stories for each challenge, and those finalists will be asked to recite their adventures aloud. Indeed, everyone here today will be invited to attend this party and hear my pick of the winners. Lastly, the five thousand pounds and gold cups will be presented at the end of the evening. It goes without saying that the victors will be appropriately recognized in all of the newspapers.”

Boyce elbowed Drexel. “Yes, yes, my father reads every paper.”

The crowd’s cheers erupted again after the mention of the winnings.

The earl held his arms out. “I tell you, my friends, I’m excited about this race. To help defray the cost of your journey, any man who takes up our challenges will receive a hundred pounds after reaching Paris.”

Shouts and applause echoed around the square.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen, Lady Sarah and I look forward to hearing the adventures of England’s finest men. I am positive that once my daughter is acquainted with you fine fellows, she will fall in love. With such excellent examples of the greatness inherent in the English, how could she not? We also anticipate the pleasure of your company during our summer in Paris. The only other thing I can say is…” The earl lifted his quizzing glass to his eye and scanned the crowd. “Ready, steady, go!”

Courtly Love Quiz With Author Elizabeth Moss

April 18, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News 3 Comments →


Goodreads Giveaway

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COURTLY LOVE QUIZ by Elizabeth Moss

 Follow this quiz to discover what kind of courtly hero you might prefer to curl up with!


Question #1- What word best describes you?


A             Ambitious

B             Romantic

C             Feisty

D             Secretive


Question #2 – Complete this sentence: My preferred courtly hero is most likely to…


A             Set me up in a large palace with servants

B             Serenade me with a lute

C             Ride off with me on his horse

D             Keep my head safe from the block


Question #3 – I prefer my hero’s kisses to be:


A             Forbidden

B             Long and lingering

C             Fierce

D             Intriguing


Question #4 – My hottest historical hero wears…


A             A crown and ermine-trimmed robes

B             Top designer doublet and hose

C             Shining armor

D             Black, for lurking in the shadows


Question #5 – On his day off from courting me, my hero usually…


A             Goes hunting

B             Plays bowls

C             Polishes his lance

D             Reads Machiavelli


Question #6 – I like a hero whose bragging rights include:


A             Absolute wealth and power

B             Fluency in five European languages

C             Ancestors who led the charge at Agincourt

D             A string of political assassinations


Question #7 – For my birthday, my ideal courtly hero would get me:


A             Diamonds, of course

B             A love sonnet tied with a red ribbon

C             A romantic, tumbledown castle

D             A chess set


Question #8 – My hero’s worst feature is probably his:


A             Lack of long-term commitment

B             Poor work/life balance

C             Obsession with his horse

D             Tendency to listen at keyholes



 If you chose mostly ‘A’s, then you won’t settle for anyone else but the King himself. The King is the man with power over everyone, including his Queen. Regal and dynamic, he dominates his world with natural authority. But like many powerful men, he lives his private life in public. Only an ambitious woman, destined for the top and comfortable with celebrity, can keep pace with this dangerous Alpha male. You’ll need to keep him happy in the bedroom, and never stray yourself, as the King is not known for fidelity or a forgiving nature. Serial divorcer and beheader, Henry VIII got through six wives – and may have been contemplating a seventh marriage when he died!

If you chose mostly ‘B’s, then a charming Courtier is on the top of your list to love. The Courtier is a man skilled in the art of courtly love as well as international diplomacy. He was educated at Oxford or Cambridge, can sing and play the lute, and knows when to compliment the Queen’s eyes and when to hide in the closet. A lady who loves expensive gowns and state dinners would do well with the Courtier, as long as she is not too possessive and does not mind him disappearing off to another European court every few months. Many Tudor courtiers were of noble French descent, like Hugh Beaufort in Wolf Bride, and possessed substantial lands as well as looks and charm.

If you chose mostly ‘C’s, then the strong and brave Knight is just right. The Knight is a courtier with other strings to his bow. He has the charm, wit and courtly manners to seduce the ladies, yet stands ready to charge into battle for his King at a moment’s notice. Less of a smoothie than the Courtier, he’s also better equipped to protect his lady from danger. If you hanker after a Knight, you’re probably earthy and ultra-feminine, and enjoy being in the arms of a big strong man. Although Lord Wolf is noble, he’s also a Knight at heart, a fierce lover and courageous soldier whose loyalty to his lady and his country is beyond question.

If you chose mostly ‘D’s, then you are meant for life at court directing the action behind the scenes with your powerful Political Advisor. The Political Advisor is often a commoner who has risen to power at court through his own skills. A cool and calculating strategist, his innate power and influence can be very seductive. Those who find this courtier intriguing are likely to be intelligent women with low boredom thresholds who enjoy mental stimulation (and maybe some power games in the bedroom). Your main challenge will be to sidestep the scandals that often surround the Political Advisor. Sir Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII’s right hand man for years, becoming almost as powerful as the King himself during the period in Wolf Bride.




Book Information

Title: Wolf Bride

Author: Elizabeth Moss

Release Date: May 5, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Genre: Historical Erotic Romance

Series: Lust in the Tutor Court Book #1



Bound to him against her will…

Lord Wolf, hardened soldier and expert lover, has come to King Henry VIII’s court to claim his new bride: a girl who has intrigued him since he first saw her riding across the Yorkshire moors.

Eloise Tyrell, now lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn, has other ideas. She has no desire to submit to a man she barely knows and who-though she is loath to admit it-frightens her more than a little.

Their first kiss awakens in both a fierce desire that bares them to the soul. But as the court erupts into scandal around the ill-fated Queen, Eloise sees firsthand what happens when powerful men tire of their wives…

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Author Biography

Born into a literary family, Elizabeth Moss lives with her husband and five children in South-West England, and is a keen countryside walker. She writes fun and sexy historical romances. She also writes award-winning fiction as Victoria Lamb. For more information, please visit her website:

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Falling Deep Spotlight by Diana Gardin

April 16, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News No Comments →




Reed Hopewell is a lot of things to a lot of people . . . To his parents, he’s the son who needs to get serious. To his friends, he’s the player they all want to be. And to his fans, he’s the hottest rocker in Charleston. But never has Reed been anyone’s hero-until the night he finds Hope.

Hope Dawson can count the number of men she trusts on one hand. Definitely not the guys she goes out with or the stepfather who treats her like property. She’d be out of his house tomorrow if not for the need to protect her little sister. But when things at home go from bad to worse, Hope has to act fast-and Reed is the only person she can turn to . . .

Gardin_Falling Deep_E-Book







Read An Excerpt:

“I’ll have a number six,” he informed the waitress without breaking his connection with Hope’s hands or her eyes.

Hope couldn’t look away from him in order to see the waitress’s face, but she would have bet money that it was lower than sea level. She bit her lip against the smile threatening to spread across her mouth.

As the waitress scuttled away, Reed fought against a smile of his own. “That was fun.”

“You are evil,” Hope said accusingly. “You knew that girl was practically drooling over you.”

“I’m just sorry she was the only one,” Reed said cheerfully.

“Who said she was?” Hope shot back, shocking herself into silence.

Reed gave her hands another squeeze before he let go and leaned back against his seat. “So, are we going to talk about the other night?”

“No,” Hope answered, shaking her head. “Not necessary. I already told you I’m not available. It was a nice kiss, but–”

“I’m sorry,” interrupted Reed, his voice low. He leaned forward, a sexy smile on his lips. “Are you saying that kiss was ‘nice’? That’s the word you’re using to describe it?”

“I meant, it was…I didn’t mean…” Hope fumbled for a better word to use, but failed epically. Instead, she stared at Reed across the table, cringing at the blazing fire burning in his eyes.

“Okay,” he said evenly. “Then I get a repeat. No wonder you don’t want it to happen again. You only thought it was nice. So I guess I’m going to have to rectify that.”

“No! I didn’t mean–”

He held up a hand to silence her, and her words fell short. “Doesn’t matter. I’ve already made up my mind. I’m kissing you again. Sometime today. You won’t know it’s coming until it comes. And there’s no goddamned way you’re going to call this one ‘nice.”

She felt the now-familiar blush creeping across her cheeks. She tossed her hair over her shoulders to camouflage it, and nodded. “I accept this challenge. But if this kiss doesn’t get me to change my adjective, are you going to forget about trying to make something happen between us?”

He gazed stonily at her. “I agree to nothing.”

She groaned. “You’re one stubborn man.”

“I know.” He grinned wildly, and her traitorous heart flipped upside down in her chest.



About Diana Gardin

Diana Gardin is a wife of one and a mom of two. Writing is her second full time job to that, and she loves it! Diana writes contemporary romance in the Young Adult and New Adult categories. She’s also a former Elementary school teacher. She loves steak, sugar cookies, and Coke and hates working out.





April 16, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News No Comments →


Title: The Lady Meets Her Match

Author: Gina Conkle

Series: Midnight Meetings

Pubdate: April 7th, 2015

ISBN: 9781402294303


Finding her is only half the battle

Cyrus Ryland didn’t become England’s wealthiest bachelor by being a pushover, but the mysterious beauty he discovers sneaking around his study during a grand ball enflames his curiosity. They share one dance, but when the clock chimes midnight, she’s nowhere to be found. So Cyrus vows to scour all of London to uncover who she is.

Claire Mayhew is risking it all by forging Ryland’s signature. But the maddening man won’t lease properties to an unmarried woman. He stands in the way of Claire’s dream: running her own business. The midtown property fits her plans perfectly—a place to live as an independent woman of commerce. When she sneaks into his study and forges his signature, she never expects to be attracted to the stodgy bachelor. But if he finds out who she is, all of her dreams could go up in smoke…

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Today we’re sitting down with historical romance author Gina Conkle! Gina’s latest book, The Lady Meets Her Match, comes out this April. To celebrate we’re participating in the “Ask Gina Spotlight Tour”, take it away Gina!

What do you do to get into the “writing zone”?

Sometimes I play music. Most of the time, I read what I wrote: notes, scene fragments, previous chapters. Other times I read non-fiction about the era. It doesn’t take much to get the juices flowing.


An Excerpt:

Cyrus removed his fine blue coat, the slide of cloth on cloth an inviting sound to her benumbed senses.

“You’re not warming up sufficiently.” He leaned in and wrapped his coat over her shoulders, his deep voice like an intimate connection. “Someone needs to take care of you.”

She shuddered when his breath tickled her ear. His warmth and nearness was just as heavenly as what he draped around her. She could tell he found her refusal more amusing than deterring. Cyrus closed the coat in front of her, his body heat palpable inside. The collar’s woven broadcloth brushed her rain-misted cheeks, his pleasant scent on the cloth. The coat was part of an expensive, well-tailored ditto suit: identical blue fabric with spare gold trim on the coat, waistcoat, and breeches.

“I’ll ruin part of a perfectly good suit.” But she pulled the coat tighter, greedy for the snug feel.

He added more coal to the blaze. The inferno’s orange light danced across white cotton stretched over his shoulders. Muscles moved under the fabric, mesmerizing her while he built a hotter fire. And then there was his offer to waive her rent and give her a loan, an offer apparently free of unique requirements. His act of generosity pinched her conscience.

How dare he be so…nice.

“About the rent, the loan, I cannot accept your kind offer.” She cleared her throat, trying to sound competent. “I’ll find a way.”

Ryland glanced at her but said nothing to counter her refusal. Instead, he dropped to the floor, kneeling before her. Without asking her leave, he removed one shoe and then the other, and set the soaked footwear against the hearth’s ash pan.

“What are you doing?” Her words, like her body, went slack, all of her too worn down.

His head bent close to her knee. One hand, large and warm, curled around her ankle, rubbing life back into her foot. A big, masculine palm moved under the arch, creating delightful friction. She pressed her lips together, holding back a moan of pleasure.

“I would think a land steward’s daughter would know wet clothes are hazardous for one’s health.” He flashed a devilish grin. “You ought to remove your wet clothes, cover yourself with something warm and dry.”

Such as covering myself with you.

Gina Conkle, a history nerd to the core, loves castles and museums. Her motto is “the older and moldier, the better.” When not enjoying relics, she lives in the present, dabbling in organic gardening at her home in San Diego, California. She lives with Brian, her husband and favorite alpha male, and their two boys. Visit her at

Unforgettable by Heather Ashby

April 15, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News 3 Comments →

Romance Junkies Recommended Read – 5 Ribbons

“A deliciously engrossing tale, UNFORGETTABLE, the fourth book in author Heather Ashby’s LOVE IN THE FLEET series, was accurately titled. Written in collaboration with retired Major Christopher Bergeron, this story is one that readers will find hard to put down. Combining danger, duty, honor, action-filled missions, terrorists, benevolent ghosts, PTSD, sexy romance, humor and heart, Ms. Ashby and Major Christopher have penned a novel that readers will remember long after the last page is read and the book is closed. This beautifully written, heartwarming story is sexy, filled with adrenaline-infused action and sure to touch the hearts of its readers. I loved catching up with the characters aboard the USS New York once more and I enjoyed the way the ghosts, filled with such care and love, helped those on the ship with their missions as well as their love lives.” — Dottie RJ reviewer <<Click here to read the rest of the review



The 9/11 spirits aboard USS New York are back! Their mission: help Adam, Gwyn, Mike, and Cate find their happily ever afters—and stay alive. As the only person who can see them, Lieutenant Gwyn Pritchard tries to help the spirits move on to the light. That is, when she’s not helping Gunnery Sergeant Adam Connor heal from his PTSD—or falling madly in love with him.

Captain Cate Hawkins, has run from her unconventional childhood by becoming a Marine Corps pilot. But when a mission in East Africa goes awry, she finds herself in a race for her life. After burying the hatchet with Cate, Navy pilot Mike Nikolopoulos wants nothing more than to rescue his new love. If the spirits help him save her, they’ll finally be free to move on. But can Mike overcome a sudden fear of flying to find his way to Cate before terrorists repeat “Black Hawk Down”—with a female American pilot this time?


Mission Accomplished

I was at a book signing in February when a woman approached my table and thanked me for the healing properties in my books. She said she was a neurologist in the Washington, D.C. area and that she recommends Book 2 in my “Love in the Fleet” series, Forget Me Not, to her military patients with PTSD. My jaw dropped and the following words echoed in my head: Mission accomplished.

She mentioned that not only were there psychological steps to healing in the book, but “it is told in story form, not preaching to the reader. And it appeals to female and male readers—both the romance and the military action. Plus, much of it is told from a male point of view.” Not only have I spent a lot of time around military men—my retired Navy husband being one of them—but the military advisors for all my books are male. One recently said, “You’ve created a new genre, Heather: The technically-correct-modern-warfare-self-help-romance novel.”

Book 4, Unforgettable, is co-authored by a newly retired Marine, Major Christopher Bergeron. Chris was the advisor on Book 3, Never Forget, as well. Both books feature a Marine gunnery sergeant with PTSD forged in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, a place where Chris served. I mentioned to him that 90% of romance novels are read by women. He smiled and added, “Yes, and 90% of the people who get guys to seek help for their PTSD are their wives. We gotta’ write these books.”

Our Marine protagonist and his issues are introduced in Book 3 and he is healed in Book 4 by a hypnotherapist. Before you scoff, let me explain. 9/11 occurred a month after the unexpected death of my only sibling. My Army son left for war several months later, and I assumed care of my eccentric, elderly mother—while I was teaching elementary school. I resumed smoking cigarettes, a habit I had kicked twenty years earlier. After my son was safely home and the dust had settled, I went to a hypnotherapist as I had become a completely addicted smoker again. She not only removed smoking from my life in one day, but healed all the reasons I ever smoked in the first place! My immediate reaction was: “Can this heal combat PTSD?” To which she replied, “Absolutely.” Then and there, I knew I had to write this story. Check out this interview on NPR for more information.

The neurologist who thanked me at the book signing shared her disappointment at the amount of medications that are being prescribed for our troops suffering from PTSD. She said that we need to heal the reasons why they have symptoms, not just treat the symptoms. I totally agree. The hypnotherapist I saw in 2010 gave me a new lease on life. And I want that for all of our troops who came home with problems. I hope and pray that Unforgettable will find its way into the hands of those who need to read it. And then I can say, once again: Mission accomplished.

 I’d like to close with words from Christopher Bergeron’s acknowledgements in Unforgettable:

“Last, thanks to all my brothers and sisters who came home wounded in ways no one could see. I hope you find the healing I have found. Never give up the fight to be you again. It’s the most important battle. Semper Fi to all.”

Please stop by and chat with us on Facebook at AN UNFORGETTABLE LAUNCH PARTY from 5-10 EDT on April 15, 2015. There will be giveaways and you can meet our guest authors: Teresa Medeiros, Jeannie Moon, Sandra Owens, Terri Osburn, Geri Krotow, and Jessica Scott. Click here to RSVP. Hope to see you there!


Heather Ashby 2013 03 07 - 0042-2-5


Award winning author, Heather Ashby is a Navy veteran who taught school and raised a family while accompanying her Navy husband around the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. In gratitude for their Army son’s safe return from Afghanistan and Iraq, she now writes military romance novels, donating half her royalties to Fisher House Foundation in support of wounded warriors and their families. Her son serves as her cover model, helping to raise money for Fisher Houses around the world. Heather lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida with her retired Navy husband. Unforgettable is the fourth and final book in the “Love in the Fleet” series.

 head shot Chris


Christopher Bergeron is a retired Major in the United States Marine Corps, with twenty-four years of service. His ten deployments include combat tours in Desert Shield/Desert Storm; Somalia; Kosovo; Haiti; Fallujah, Iraq; and Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Chris’s travels have covered the globe, including more than twenty countries. He lives with his wife and son in Rockford, Michigan, where he is currently a Communications/Marketing student at Grand Valley State University. Unforgettable is his first novel.

Giveaway in the RJ Bookclub aka Yahoo Loop

April 14, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News 1 Comment →

For a chance to win you have to become a member of the RJ bookclub. Contest info is in the loop.

What could you win?

 One package with a copy of:

 HeartBreak Cover by Lily Everett, St. Martin

 Rescue Me by Catherine Mann, Berkley

 Binding Ties by Shannon K. Butcher, Signet

 At Wolf Ranch by Jennifer Ryan, Avon

 The Immortal Who Loved me by Lynsay Sands, avon

 Cursed by Ice by Jacquelyn Frank, Ballantine books


INTERIM by S. Walden

April 14, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News 1 Comment →


~A lot can change in the space between devising a plan and carrying it out. That space is called the Interim.~
High school seniors Jeremy Stahl and Regan Walters aren’t friends. Not even close. He’s a picked-on, picked-apart loser outcast. She’s a cool kid running with the popular crowd. It’s unlikely they’d ever speak to one another. Too bad he’s madly in love with her. But what does it matter, anyway? He’s got no time for love. Only revenge.
Meticulously detailed in the pages of his battered red notebook is his master plan: April 14, 9:30 A.M., two guns, eighty rounds of ammo, backup knives, eleven victims. He’s finally ready to answer every single taunt, jeer, and flying fist—unwarranted abuse that’s spanned six years of his lonely life. He’s justified. He’s ready. But he never readied himself for her.
Regan finds his journal. She reads it, and when he discovers her intrusion, he has to switch tactics. She’s a liability now.
Better fix that.


(WARNING: This is a New Adult standalone that contains graphic language and violence, including gun violence. If school shootings are an especially sensitive subject for you, then I urge you to refrain from reading this book.)

His heart plummeted when their eyes met that morning. And then the anger bubbled up in his chest almost immediately. The things she must know! He knew she read it. A girl would have read it. Fucking girls. It was written all over her guilty face, her deer-in-headlights eyes. Her body language. He saw the imperceptible tightening of his words against her chest—her biceps flexing as she secured his notebook to her body. Like she owned it. Like she owned him.

The hell you do, he thought.
Letter to the Reader:
Dear Reader,
Not many authors will discourage you from reading their work. After all, the goal of our stories is to grow our readership, not diminish it. I’m well aware of that, but when I first became inspired with Jeremy’s story, I knew I would have to go about promoting it in an entirely different way—something far removed from my past marketing campaigns. I knew I would have to hide the book, stamp disclaimers all over it, plant seeds of doubt in your minds, decline requests for advanced reviews—in essence, all the things an author SHOULD NOT do when marketing her book. That’s why it took me so long to write the damn thing—over a year of worrying, second-guessing, flip-flopping, arguing. Jeremy sat waiting patiently, and I stared back at him wondering just how much he would destroy my career.
Then I remembered that his story is exactly the type of controversial social issue I enjoy tackling. I knew I had to write it because I could. I could be sensitive to the subject matter without being PC. I could leave my political and moral opinions out of it. I could make it a human story, not a gun story. I could do all these things if I worked very hard—if I was diligent and faithful to my characters and their experiences. Once I realized these things, I stopped fretting and just started writing, careful to keep all the details private and sacred. That’s how writing should be: private and sacred.
Now Jeremy’s story is no longer private, but I hope you will find it sacred. I hope you will throw off your preconceptions and bury your social and political views, your moral judgments. It’s too easy to go into a story like this already angry, especially if you or someone you love has experienced gun violence. I urge you to think long and hard before starting Interim if you are especially sensitive to the topic of school shootings. There are extremely violent, descriptive scenes, and I do not wish for my book to be a trigger for you.
I am well aware of the social debate a book like this may provoke. I did not write it for debate. I did not write it to make a statement about guns, gun control, gun access, Constitutional rights, etc. I am not interested in comparing my story to the horrific school shootings that have taken place in the United States. I have no motive other than to tell a story about an abused boy who felt he deserved justice. What you take away from the novel is entirely up to you.


S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. She is the USA Today bestselling author of Going Under. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about it.
She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her at and follow her twitter feed at @swaldenauthor.
Click on the image to enter the giveaway on Facebook!

The Duke’s Disaster by Grace Burrowes

April 14, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News 1 Comment →



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The Duke's Disaster

Book Information

 Title: The Duke’s Disaster

Author: Grace Burrowes

Release Date: April 7, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Genre: Historical Romance


Noah Winters, Duke of Anselm, exercises the pragmatism for which he’s infamous when his preferred choice of bride cries off, and her companion, Lady Thea Collins, becomes his next choice for his duchess. Lady Thea’s mature, sensible and even rather attractive-what could possibly go wrong?

As a lady fallen on hard times, Thea doesn’t expect tender sentiments from His Grace, but she does wish Noah had courted her trust, lest her past turn their hastily arranged marriage into a life of shared regrets. Is His Grace courting a convenient wife, or a beautiful disaster?

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The Duke and Duchess are having a rocky start to their marriage, also to their day…


“Your tea, Duchess.”


Noah had woken up beside his wife—again, despite all plans to the contrary—creating another first for him. Thea had risen several times during the night to tend to herself. He hadn’t realized that monthly courses caused a woman’s rest to be interrupted.


Crashingly bad planning, for a lady’s sleep to be disturbed when she most needed rest.


“You’re not about to steal my tea?” Thea held out the cup, her gaze shy as she sat propped against the headboard.


“Where’s the fun in stealing what’s freely offered?” Noah settled in beside her and filched a bite of her cinnamon toast. “Would you rather have chocolate this morning?”




“You’re”— Noah waved a hand in the direction of her middle—“indisposed.”


“I am not indisposed.” Thea set her teacup down with a little clink. “The discomfort has passed, as it always does. You needn’t be concerned.”


“I am not concerned, Thea.” Not greatly concerned, now that she’d stopped ordering him to go away and was ready for a proper spat. “I am attempting in my bumbling way to dote. You will allow it.”


Drat. He’d given another order.


“You couldn’t bumble if one gave you written instructions, Anselm,” Thea said, looking a little less peaked for having run up her flags. “That was my toast you appropriated.”


“Appropriation is what happens when one’s wife can’t appreciate a little doting. You’re being stingy with the tea, just as you were stingy with the covers. How long does this indisposition last?” 


Her chin came up. “I am the Duchess of Anselm. I am not stingy with anything, but you are a very presuming husband.”


“Doting.” Noah took Thea’s free hand to kiss her knuckles— lest she mistake his point. “Also in need of my duchess’s guidance on this one marital matter.”


“This is so personal.” Thea’s gaze was on their joined hands— for Noah would not have her haring off in a fit of mortification. “I didn’t think you’d be a personal sort of husband. You were supposed to appear in my dressing-room doorway a few nights a month, silently take a few marital liberties, and then leave me in peace. We’d trade sections of the Times over breakfast the next morning.”


“Prosaic.” Boring and exactly what Noah himself had envisioned. “Hard to see any doting going on, though.”


“Husband?” Thea’s tone was hesitant. “Thank you, for keeping me company last night. I would not have known how to ask.”


“I suppose that’s the definition of doting.” Noah lingered at the cart to assemble a plate. “It’s the little things you can’t bring yourself to ask for, that an attentive spouse will enjoy providing to you. Bacon or ham?”


“A little of both, please.”


“Feeling carnivorous?”


“I’m a trifle indisposed. I need the sustenance.”


Noah piled both ham and bacon on Thea’s plate, and stole better than half of it, because he needed the sustenance too.


Author Biography

 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

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I Found the Heroine for My Book in Italy By Vina Arno

April 13, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News 3 Comments →


I Found My Romance Book Heroine in Italy

By Vina Arno

When I traveled to Tuscany in July 2013, I had in mind the perfect alpha male for my first romance book. I called him the Juggernaut—a 22-year-old Olympic gold-medalist boxer who’s about to turn pro. In keeping with my destination, naturally he has Italian heritage. He’s America’s most promising boxer, the perfect combination of Muhammad Ali’s charisma and Mike Tyson’s physical power. Who’s the woman who could knock him out?

I visited central Italy with my husband and our daughter to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. To see Florence—the capital of Tuscany and home of the Renaissance—was our goal. The city didn’t disappoint. Michelangelo’s David left me breathless. I imagined the Juggernaut as David incarnate. But I was still missing my heroine.

After five days in Florence, we joined a tour group to see the countryside. Our first stop: Siena. All I knew about the city was it was Florence’s rival in medieval times. During the bus ride, the sights of rural Tuscany unfolded like a glorious tapestry of sunflower-blanketed fields, sloping vineyards, rustic stone houses, and colossal cypress trees.

Our bus stopped at the base of a hill. Siena, a hilltop city, beckoned. During the hike up, I reaffirmed my plan to write my debut romance book. I’ve published short stories in literary journals and a series of nonfiction children’s books. I’ve been trying to write literary fiction for almost two decades. Writing romance was going to be a leap of faith for me.

By the time we entered Siena’s 13th century Duomo, an idea for my heroine was percolating in my head. It was like falling in love—my heart fluttered and my pulse quickened with excitement. The cathedral was meant to awe and it more than succeeded. I was agape at the sight of its inlaid marble floors, the striped gothic arches, and the busts of over a hundred popes looking down on us. Statues by Michelangelo, Bernini, and Donatello adorned various altars and niches.

As we wandered up and down little alleys and around the city’s main square, I knew I had found my heroine. I called her Siena—rich, cultured, and beautiful like her namesake city. I would make her an ER doctor. She and the Juggernaut would fall in love against all odds.

Publishing Breakthrough

I started writing my story one week after our Italian trip. I had no literary agent at the time, but I successfully submitted my manuscript to Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington Publishing, five months after writing it.

In my debut romance book, In His Corner, the Juggernaut suffers a cut during sparring. He walks into Siena’s ER to get stitched up and rocks her world. They are opposites in every way. She’s a blue blood from the East Coast, while he’s a college dropout who becomes San Francisco’s favorite homeboy after his Olympic victory. She heals people; he doles out concussions inside the ring. She’s four years older than him. Their relationship is steamy, rocky, and memorable.

My romance breakthrough encouraged me to give my literary novel a push. I pitched it at a writing conference in New York City last year, which led to my signing with a literary agent.

Would I have written In His Corner if I hadn’t visited Tuscany? I don’t think so. Without Siena—my favorite Italian city and my muse—the Juggernaut would still be looking for love today.


About the Author

Vina Arno is a pen name used by Cindy Fazzi, a Philippine-born American writer who has worked as a journalist in the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States. Her short stories have been published in the Snake Nation Review, Copperfield Review, and SN Review.


Buy Links

In His Corner by Vina Arno, published by Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing, will be released on April 14, 2015. Genre: contemporary romance.

The book is available at:

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Books

Kensington Books




Connect with Vina Arno at:                           

Web site





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