In this month's Love Rocks post, we have the pleasure of hearing from five fan favorites in the field of Romance fiction, as they offer their selections for recommended reading. Their picks are certain to spark conversation, and maybe even a few new tricks in one's love life. 


Juliana Stone: New Life by Bonnie Dee


"If you are hankering for something a little different, I’d suggest this wonderful contemporary romance by Bonnie Dee.  The hero is very different, and brings to mind the hero in Jennifer Ashley’s historical, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, who suffered from Asperger Syndrome. In New Life, our hero suffers from the effects of a brain injury.  He speaks haltingly, limps, and works as a janitor.  The heroine is an up and coming lawyer. The two meet, opposites attract, and the realism in which their romance is told, sucked me in and I couldn’t put it down!  A smart, real and different kind of love story!  You might also want to try another one of Bonnie’s outside-the-box stories, Bone Deep."


Laurie London:  Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway


"I was literally blown away when I read Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway. After reading the description of this unconventional romance, you may think, "No way. This could never work." But trust me when I tell you it totally does. It's beautifully written, heart-wrenchingly emotional and surprisingly funny. I hope you'll give it a try. If you enjoy Painted Faces, you might try L.H. Cosway's novella, Crimson, from her Ultimate Power series."


Bella Love:  Red Stone Security by Katie Reus


"Katie Reus rocks the romance and the suspense in her boxed set, The Red Stone Security Series, Vol. 1, containing three of Reus’s bestselling romantic suspenses. Three sexy brothers, three stories of passion and suspense that will make your beach reads even hotter this summer.  While you’re at it, you might want to check out another one of Katie’s romantic suspense thrillers, Killer Secrets."


Elisabeth Naughton:  Mine To Take, by Cynthia Eden


When does protection cross the line to obsession? Mine to Take is a deliciously dark and sexy tale about the lengths a person will go to protect the one they can't live without. An alpha male, a strong heroine, combustible chemistry from page one and a mystery that will leave you guessing until the very end make Mine to Take a must read this summer.  And if you like paranormal romance, you might try Cynthia’s Bound in Death.


Erin Kellison:  Branded For You by Cheyenne McCray


Branded For You by bestselling author Cheyenne McCray is a western romance that leads with heart and follows with steamy sizzle. Recently divorced Megan Wilder is rebuilding her life in Prescott, Arizona, when she meets sexy rancher Ryan McBride, well-liked by just about everyone in town…except her parents. Megan and Ryan are on the brink of a hot happily-ever-after when disaster rocks Megan’s family, and it looks like Ryan is the cause. The troubles in the story are real and relatable, the attraction and heat crackle like the campfire preceding one of their hottest scenes. After you finish this one, check out the most recent release in this hot series, Playing With You.



And while you're at it, check out these great books from our contributors:


Spin by Bella Love


Bound by Elisabeth Naughton


Hotter on the Edge 2 by Erin Kellison


Conceal by Juliana Stone 


Assassin's Touch by Laurie London 


Love Rocks is a monthly look at new self-published romance titles from the community of writers at Rock*ItReads.


In summertime, I’m on the hunt for heat.  Heat in the air, heat in my romance, heat in big, high stakes stories.  Big romance & big adventure.  


Today’s spotlight stories deliver on both counts.  Both are romantic suspense, but because everyone likes their heat to different degrees, I’m giving you one that’s heavy on the thriller angle, the other heavy on the sensual heat. But they’re both top-notch self-published romance.

First up, the adventure.

Debut author, Rachel Grant launched on the romantic suspense scene with her first book earlier this spring, Concrete Evidence.  


Erica Kessler is a disgraced archeologist hiding her past and she’s got a big-time agenda: bring down the men who not only ruined her, but are engaged in international artifact smuggling.  The task requires all her attention, so when she gets saddled with a privileged pretty-boy intern who should have graduated college years ago, but he keeps switching his majors, she is not happy.  Extremely not happy. His handsome allure makes her even more unhappy.  Sort of.

But Lee Scott is no wanna-be Indiana Jones.  He’s on the hunt for the artifact smugglers too, a computer whiz sent in in cognito by the company, to discover who’s using their company to commit federal crimes, and he needs to do his job quietly and quickly, because one of the owners is about to make a presidential bid.  Lucky for him, he thinks he might have just found his most promising suspect: Erica Kesling.

Grant layers on the intrigue and the plot, weaving deeper connections between the characters, raising the stakes as she goes.  She treats her readers like they know what they’re doing, so you’ve got to follow along, as information and plot points can get presented in fast succession, and the significance isn’t always initially clear.  But it all comes together in an explosive ending. The world-building is rich and detailed, and you really get a sense of what it is to be an archeologist in the modern day. Atop this, a large, expanding suspense plot builds and builds.

If you like strong, intricately plotted romantic suspense, with smart, believable characters and high stakes, Rachel Grant is a must-read.

The second book, Cade by Liliana Hart, shines its heat on the sensual side.  Way on the sensual heat side.  It’s scorching hot.  

Did I mention it’s hot?  

Cade MacKenzie has had a tough past; as a DEA agent, a cartel killed his lover.  Now he’s working to bring them down. All he and his colleagues need is the right bait.  Bayleigh Scott is not enamored of her new, clearly outrageous and possible dangerous neighbor.  But her body is.  The electricity between them is immediate and powerful and never lets up.

The opening prologue is a bit brutal, showing Hart’s talent as a storyteller who grabs you and sucks you in.  The rest of the story sizzles with emotional and physical intensity between the hero and heroine, Bayleigh and Cade.  

Cade makes Bayleigh angry.  Very angry.  He’ll probably have moments of making you angry. He’s a bad-boy hero from start to finish.  But a core component of the ‘bad boy’ hero, one of the reasons the trope is so compelling, is that they see through facades. They don’t care much for trappings, and they don’t have time for calcified rules or limitations imposed by others.  Hart makes Cade believable, building the characters so you know where they’re coming from. You can feel what it’s like to be inside Cade when we’re in his head, and you don’t forget it when you’re in Bayleigh’s head. You don’t get it; you get it.  

Hart writes both erotic romance and romantic suspense, and Cade straddles that line with high, hard heat and big, bad villains. And a big, bad hero to root for.  


 Bella Love is an award-winning, New York published historical romance author writing super-sexy contemporary romances under a pseudonym.  Her first self-published romance, Spin, is out now. Find out more about Bella Love at www.bellalovebooks.comAnd check out all of the latest releases from Rock*It Reads at





Love Rocks is a monthly look at new self-published romance titles from the community of writers at Rock*ItReads.


Are you a reader who commits the “sin” of reading the back of the book before you start reading? I’m angelic in the sense that I always start at the beginning of a book without peeking ahead. I even read series in order as I don’t want to miss out on this or that tidbit that makes for a fuller read with each successive book.


Now it’s confession time. Recently, I read a series out of order. And it was awesome to become a full-blown sinner when it comes to leaping ahead! So what drove me to risk it all and leap across books in a series? A hero who is as wickedly sinful as they come. But to tell you about him, I have to tell you about the first book’s hero.


I stumbled onto The Wild One, the first book in Danelle Harmon’s, The de Montforte Brothers series quite by accident. The book’s premise intrigued me, and I wasn’t disappointed in Harmon’s execution of the plot. Set in the Georgian era, I found myself enjoying the tale of Juliet Paige and Lord Gareth.


Irresponsible, yet lovable, Gareth wants to be a hero. He just doesn’t know how to live up to his eldest brother’s, the manipulative Duke of Blackheath, expectations. Juliet, a practical Yankee from Boston, is the perfect foil for Gareth’s wild side. When the duke deliberately and artfully sets certain events into motion, Gareth finds himself forced to take on the role of hero.


It’s a delightful story with two lovable characters who counter each other’s flaws perfectly. But while reading The Wild One, I couldn’t stop looking for more scenes with the Duke of Blackheath. The first time he appeared in The Wild One, I loathed him. My loathing quickly changed to curiosity then an all–consuming desire to read the duke’s story. Completely out of character for me, I leaped over the other two books in the series to cuddle up in my chair with The Wicked One.


The final installment in Harmon’s series, Lucien’s story was all I hoped for. Lucien de Montforte, Duke of Blackheath and Eva de la Mouriére are wonderful adversaries. Their first scene together is just the way I like them—steamy and hot. Harmon’s description of Lucien makes him swoon-worthy for me.


“There was that same unsmiling face, glowing like Satan's in the candle's flickering light, its orange flame picking out the lofty cheekbones, the chiseled mouth with those hard, sculpted lips, the compelling profile with its noble brow and razor-straight nose.”


Dark and dangerous heroes have always been my undoing, and Harmon’s wonderful descriptions of Lucien kept me longing for more. But for all his wicked ways, it’s the tortured part of Lucien I found so appealing. He’s the type of hero you can’t help but fall in love with. Eva proved herself up to the task of ending Lucien’s patriarchal machinations. There’s even a small domination scene where Eva takes charge of their bedroom play. I loved seeing Lucien tied to the bed and hot with need.


All the books in this series are reissues from the late 90s. They have a bit more narrative than you’ll find in current historical romances, but Harmon’s ability to tell a great story didn’t make the expanded narrative an issue for me. I was compelled to keep turning the pages. With only a couple of typos and great formatting, these books made for a pleasurable read. I encourage you to become a sinner with me and read The Wicked One first!


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 A bestselling author of erotic romance, Monica Burns penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. Her historical book awards include the 2011 RT BookReviews Reviewers Choice Award and the 2012 Gayle Wilson Heart of Excellence Award for Pleasure Me. She is also the recipient of the prestigious paranormal romance award, the 2011 PRISM Best of the Best for Assassin’s Heart. Her latest release, Love's Revenge is now available.


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Love Rocks is a monthly look at new self-published romance titles from the community of writers at Rock*ItReads.


The authors of Rock*It Reads are celebrating the first anniversary of their B&N Review column for indie romance, Love Rocks!  For the past year, we’ve been bringing you great recommendations for quality indie-published works. To celebrate our anniversary, and new presence on the NOOK Blog, we decided to take a look at our favorite reads from the last twelve months.


Monica Burns, bestselling author of spicy historical and paranormal romance, selected London Falling as her favorite recommendation of the year. “This past year has been a treat when it comes to unearthing some lovely gems in the indie realm. I've read some good books in the last twelve months, but my favorite has to be Emma Carr's London Falling. When I can still visualize scenes from a book months after reading it, that's illustrates how much I loved a book. Carr created loveable, sassy characters with her crisp writing, and if you love contemporaries I think you'll enjoy London Falling as much as I did. It's my favorite read this year.”


Lila DiPasqua, bestselling author of historical romance, selected this fun holiday romance as her favorite pick of the year. “I loved HO, HUMBUG, HO by Kate Angell. Part of a popular series, this is a funny, sexy contemporary romance. Alex Boxer—a far-too-handsome-for-his-own-good ballplayer who couldn’t care less about Christmas, is forced to do community service as Santa in a mall in Holiday, Florida, of all places. Holly McIntyre is responsible for reporting Alex’s “progress” to the judge and runs the show at the mall. Add a lot of squirmy kids, a farting reindeer and a Santa suit that’s too small for Alex’s muscular body and you have a delightful holiday read!”


Triple RWA® Golden Heart finalist, Joan Swan selected this work of romantic suspense to top her favorites from the past year. “In Paula Graves self-published romantic suspense novel, Playing Dead in Dixie, Paula has created an intricate suspense tale that winds through a quaint small-town setting and tightens around a sweet, rich romance, threatening everything it touches. The publishing industry said the novel’s cross-genre flavor—part small town romance, part gritty romantic suspense, part humorous contemporary romance—would make it difficult to place on the shelves and the story was rejected. Thanks to this new venue, Paula’s fabulous story is at readers' fingertips.”


Margo Maguire, the author of over 20 historical romances, spotlighted the first book in a YA trilogy for her favorite indie read.  “I was happy to discover the first of Tara Brown's Born Trilogy. With its tight plotting, well-drawn characters, and unusual dystopian scenario, this YA book was a truly satisfying read, and not only for a YA audience. Ms. Brown tells me that Book #2 will be released this month, too. I'm looking forward to it!”


Jennifer Lyon, author of mystery and romantic suspense, recommends this intriguing read. “I loved the book Beauty From Pain by Georgia Cates. How does one get beauty from pain? I found out as I read Jack and Laurelyn’s story. Jack is rich and has been burned in a way that makes him determined to conduct his affairs with women according to his rules. But Laurelyn changes that one rule at a time. Watching these two fall in love while knowing their affair must end was a rich experience of beauty and pain. When the book concluded unresolved, I was so connected to Jack and Laurleyn that I had to immediately find out when the next book is coming out. Beauty From Surrender will be out around May 30,2013.”


Award-winning historical author, Mia Marlowe, said this of her top pick: "The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner (aka Jennifer Ashley) was my favorite indie read of 2012. The mystery is compelling but the real draw is Captain Gabriel Lacey. He's a wonderful wounded hero with a firm sense of "ought-ness" and an unrequited love for his former commanding officer's wife."


RWA Golden Heart® Award winner Kris Kennedy, writes historical romance. For her favorite indie read of the year, Kris selected A Delightful Arrangement. “Cecilia Gray’s A Delightful Arrangement builds a vibrant story world that draws the reader in by crafting incredibly engaging characters.  Ms. Gray has written a gorgeous novella that will enchant readers with wonderful dialogue and character-revealing humor.”


Laurie London, author of dark, sexy paranormal romance says, “One of my favorite indie reads this year is Time Thief book 1 of the Anomaly Trilogy, by Anna Hackett. Not only is the writing beautiful, but the paranormal world is complex and well-drawn. The heroine is a strong, independent woman with special powers, and the hero, whom she doesn't trust, is to die for. Like Elisabeth's Firebrand series, which I also loved, they're novellas. I love this series!” 


Our final recommendation comes from historical romance author, Vanessa Kelly, who also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband as VK Sykes. “The Good Daughter, by Diana Layne, is an unconventional romantic suspense novel about a woman trying to break free from her gangster family. Marisa Peruzzo, a beautiful Mafia princess and the good daughter of the title, despises everything about her life. Her father and brother, capos of the Peruzzo crime syndicate, have abused her for years, selling her innocence off to the highest bidder. They also murdered her fiancé, destroyed her mother, and now threaten her best friend Sandro, a former Italian soccer star. There's no honor in this crime family, and Marisa is determined to exact revenge against her truly evil father and brother in this exciting and suspenseful story."


We’ve enjoyed scouring the world of indie romance to find these recommendations for you, and we look forward to another year of unearthing gems in the world of indie publishing and bringing them to you here at Love Rocks. And to find out more about the authors of Rock*It Reads, please visit



Rock*It Reads members are traditionally published authors committed to bringing high standards and professional quality to their self-published works. Whenever readers see the RIR logo, they know the book they are purchasing is held to an excellent standard of quality. We are Authors You Love with Stories that Rock.



I'm pleased to introduce the first Love Rocks post on the NOOK Blog. Love Rocks is a look at new self-published romance titles from the community of writers at Rock*ItReads. Today's post by Margo Maguire highlights some irresistible historical romances.


I knew from the first couple of pages that Shades of Honor by Wendy Lindstrom was going to be a book I could sink my teeth into. It’s 1870, and the hero, Ranford Grayson, has just returned home to a small town in New York with his shy, damaged four year-old daughter. Little Rebecca’s mother is very plausibly out of the picture, and the child’s caregivers have been less than ideal – the first one, a beloved nanny, abandoned her to start her own family, and the second was an abuser. Ranford goes home to his mother and three younger brothers, knowing it will be best for Rebecca.
But Ranford is not without his own inner demons. His experiences as a Union soldier in the Civil War have left him broken and suffering. We would call it post-traumatic stress disorder, but his 19th century family doesn’t understand it. Making matters worse, his brother, Kyle, has been running the sawmill that was to have been primarily Ranford’s, but shared by all four brothers. Kyle - who had other plans when Ranford joined the army - stayed and put his heart and soul into the mill, and he resents Ranford’s time away. Of course he has no interest in sharing his hard-wrought business with his long-absent brother.
Ranford understands this, and does not object when Kyle sends him to work in William Tucker’s livery. William is an old family friend who is ailing. It is his smart and resourceful daughter, Evelyn, who struggling to keep the livery afloat alone as well as take care of her father. She is also Kyle’s fiancée, but as she gains Rebecca’s trust and Ranford’s love, she realizes what is missing in her relationship with Kyle. Ranford’s homecoming creates a maelstrom of issues everyone must find a way to overcome.
Lindstrom writes a richly woven story that puts the reader right into the setting, with all the sights and sounds and smells of a post Civil War town. The conflicts are well-drawn and entirely believable, which makes Shades of Honor a tale well-worth reading. I look forward to reading the other Grayson brothers’ stories.
The anthology Once Upon a Ballroom – Original Short Stories by Caroline Linden, Katharine Ashe, Maya Rodale, and Miranda Neville is a delightful Regency read. The turning point of each of the four stories takes place in a ballroom, all in very different ways. Caroline Linden’s centers on a wife’s trust in a husband who is all too likely to be unfaithful. Katharine Ashe writes of a young man with a dark past who must rescue the object of his desire, a young lady who – knowing what she knows about him – should not want him. Maya Rodale relates the tale of a lady columnist who suffers unrequited love and is willing to risk everything to make it requited. Last but not least is Miranda Neville’s clever story of a couple of bibliophiles who have known each other for years, but only come together when they meet at a masquerade, in costumes neither one expects to see on the other.
The stories in Once Upon a Ballroom are short, poignant and completely fulfilling with lovely happily-ever-afters. And as an added bonus, there are long excerpts from each of these authors’ recent books. They’re perfect readings for getting a taste of some very excellent authors you might have missed.
Maya Rodale’s Seducing the Single Lady is a parody of Beyonce’s song All the Single Ladies. This is also a short read (although not as short as the stories in the Ballroom anthology) and is quite the Regency romp. It is the story of Susannah Grey, a young heiress whose father made a pact with a neighboring viscount that she would marry his son when they came of age. The son, Damien, spends years away, sowing his wild oats, while Susannah is orphaned and placed in the care of her abusive relatives. Damien does not answer any of her letters while he lives the high life abroad, doing whatever he pleases. At least, not until there is an incident that causes all of society to believe him dead, and makes Damien reevaluate everything.
He returns home, aware that his [now deceased] father believed his son was a disgrace. He cannot change his father’s opinion, but he decides he will follow the old viscount’s wishes and wed Susannah. Remembering the unattractive little “Christmas ham” of his childhood, he does not doubt he can win her and marry her within the month – and he wagers on it. But he discovers that Susannah is not at all the “scrappy brat” he was obliged to marry. She is all grown up, and imminently desirable.
It will not be so easy for Damien to whisk Susannah off to their nuptials, for she is free – truly free – for the first time in her life. And she has no intention of turning over her freedom, especially to the boy who was so callous during their childhood. Still, Damien wants her, and realizes he will have to woo her in order to win her. He understands it’s her freedom that he has to respect and court. And he does just that.
Seducing the Single Lady is a delightful historical romp that has me looking for more from Maya Rodale. 


Margo Maguire practiced critical care nursing for a lot of years before turning to writing. To date, she has published 20 sensual historicals and four novellas, translated into seventeen different languages. Some have been adapted as manga books. Her novella Brash is self-published. For more information, visit her website