Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I love great banter.

With: HelenKay Dimon

I love great banter. That’s not a euphemism for anything. I mean I love when the hero and heroine have a connection and the dialogue is smart and sharp. When the hero has a bit of a sense of humor and the heroine is not the type to back down when a tough alpha guy gets a little controlling…swoon! 

Some older movies – think Philadelphia Story or something similar – really depend on banter. The sexual situations weren’t as descriptive. The sexual tension came from a slow build, a back and forth between the hero and heroine.  I tend to write sexy stories filled with suspense and lots of banter. For me, the attraction comes through in how the hero and heroine talk to each other. The tone may change over the course of the book as the intimacy grows and they get to know each other better, but there is that underlying piece of the relationship – the way they talk to each other – that hooks me in.

Weston Brown and Lexi Palmer have a certain heat in FALLING HARD. He is a big, quiet retired Marine. He’s in Pakistan to do a job, which includes grabbing her and getting her out. She is a chatty med tech who has no intention of leaving her clinic in Pakistan. From the start they’re goals are at odds. They want different things, argue and, of course, slowly fall for each other. Here’s a taste from early in the book:

She eyed him up, letting her gaze wander over his body, over, around and down. “I’m starting to think you like to argue.”

Between the talking and the touching she had him spinning. “Not really.”

“Was that supposed to be funny?”

This woman was going to be the death of him. Rather than yell or order or knock her out and throw her over his shoulder – which was pretty damn tempting – he reached for the last bit of patience he could muster.  “We need to get you to-”

“I have a place we can hide.”  She smiled at him. “Yeah, see? The interrupting thing is annoying, isn’t it?”

No way was he answering that. “We have a set rendezvous site.”

“You find it on a map, big guy?”

He planted both hands against the wall and stared down at her. Maybe intimidation would work. God knew nothing else had with her. “Excuse me?”

“Have you ever even been here? To Pakistan let alone Skardu?” Instead of backing down she poked him in the chest. “Do you know anything about the people, the area? I happen to live here.”

This is the kind of thing that happened when he got dragged into a conversation. But, big news, this not a topic he planned to have with her now or ever. “Yes.”

Her head snapped back and she swore when it smacked against the building. “What question are you answering?”

Much more of this and she’d injure herself. He slid a hand under her head to keep that from happening. Soft hair fell over his fingers and he massaged the spot where she hit. “I’ve been here before.”

“Don’t sigh at me.” Most of the heat had left her voice but the color in her cheeks brightened. “Wait, do you mean in Pakistan?”

“Yes, but also right here.”

“Skardu?” She whispered the word. 

Yeah, that was enough of that. He slipped his hand out from behind her. “Can you move?”

Anger flashed across her face again. “What kind of question is that?”

She was so damned prickly. Talkative and sensitive and hot…Jesus. He exhaled, long and loud enough for her to know he was done with this. “A simple one.”


After a grueling assignment with the black ops force known as the Alliance, Weston Brown is craving downtime. Instead, he’s pulled into his deadliest operation, in the one place he never wanted to see again. No-nonsense and so damn hot, Lexi Turner lied to get him to her mountain clinic in Pakistan. But the threat is terrifyingly real.

Lexi has been asking too many questions, drawing the wrong kind of attention. As soon as she lays eyes on West, she can tell he’s quiet—yet tough—and has a rescue complex which will come in handy for going up against the world’s most ruthless gunrunners.

Cut off from the rest of the Alliance, Lexi and West navigate the brutal terrain and a primal sexual attraction. Sticking around has never been West’s way, but now he’ll use every resource to keep Lexi by his side, safe from a killer who leaves no loose ends behind.

About HelenKay:
HelenKay Dimon is a former divorce attorney turned full-time romance author. Odd transition, right? She has sold over thirty novels, novellas and shorts to numerous publishers, including Kensington, Harlequin and Penguin, Samhain, Carina Press, and HarperCollins. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named "Red-Hot Reads" and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. But the best part of the job is never having to wear pantyhose.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Am I still having fun self-publishing the romantic suspense ALPHA ebook series?

Carole Mortimer has been writing romance novels, contemporary and Regency, since 1978. She had written almost 200 books for Harlequin Mills & Boon, and a further 4 books in her own ALPHA series have been published this year. The ALPHA series is scorching hot romantic suspense.

She is a USA Today Bestselling Author and a Recipient of the Romantic Times Pioneer of Romance 2014. She was also recognized by Queen Elizabeth II in 2012, for her ‘outstanding service to literature’.

In late March I received some amazing news—Romantic Writers of America awarded me the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award 2015, to be presented to me in New York in July!

They had a difficult time telling me about it too—I was away on holiday at the time, and was off internet connection over the weekends, but they finally managed to track me down and tell me the wonderful news. I can’t thank them enough for this wonderful honor, I still wake up every morning wondering if I dreamt it!

It seems incredible that May 17th saw the release of Midnight Alpha, the 4th book in my bestselling ALPHA series. The pre-order for the 5th book, Renegade Alpha, is also available on my website and all ebook sites.

Am I still having fun self-publishing the romantic suspense ALPHA ebook series?
You bet I am!

Is my world still as frenetic and busy as it was when I first started publishing the series back in November 2014?
Yes, it is!

But in a good way. I now understand the process of self-publishing so much more than I did when I first began the Alpha series just seven short months ago, and I can do virtually everything needed myself now—something I’m very proud of, and which my six sons are amazed at. Mainly because I used to be a complete Luddite; if it had a plug on it then I didn’t want to know! I can’t get away with that nowadays, and I don’t want to.

So many people have asked if the series will be published in book form, and I’m pleased to say this will be happening very soon. The third book in the series, Shadow Alpha, was my 200th book, and hopefully this will be in paperback by the summer.

There continues to be an ALPHA ebook published every two months, and in November I intend to also start writing a Regency Novella series—again this series will be scorching hot, so be warned!
I’m still writing for Harlequin Mills and Boon as well as publishing my Indie books, have the second trilogy of the Dangerous Dukes for Harlequin Historical being released July/August/September this year, plus I’m also writing a Harlequin Presents trilogy due to be published in 2016.

Life is busy, with both my family and my writing, and that’s just the way I love it to be.


A link for signing up for my monthly newsletter, for news on Carole Mortimer and current and future publishing dates and titles of books, can be found on my website and also on my Facebook page.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Alphas gone wild!! A few confessions

Congratulations to "Timitra", the winner in Carolyn's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Hey guys, it’s so nice to be here on Just Romantic Suspense. I’ve been getting your newsletter forever (thanks!) but this is my first time here. And I have a very important thing to discuss. 

Is it just me or are we experiencing an explosion of alphahole wildness? It feels like that sometimes. The guys I’m encountering in books lately are seriously over the edge. 

Confession: I kind of love it. 

I can’t quite stop enjoying these guys. Seeing them do something wrongheaded or be really dangerous and then get totally consumed by lust and love is just deeply satisfying. I love to watch them be bad, to go out of their minds, to turn all that  dangerous badness toward protecting the heroine and demolishing all enemies.  

I so revel in a book where my jaw is just dropping. I love how it makes me feel inside, kind of like free-falling. I have that with dark romance a lot, but on the suspense side, with Anne Stuart. I love the feeling of a dark Anne Stuart hero, like in Cold as Ice.  

My favorite experience of this was with a pretty obscure Anne Stuart book, xxx. For the first third of the book, seriously, I did not know if x was the hero or the villain. 

Confession: I loved every minute. I love that experience of not knowing what to think of the hero. It makes me feel alive, like the way a really violent thunderstorm does. 

It’s kind of interesting being on the writing end of that. I think readers sometimes imagine that we writers have everything all worked out, and we’re just these mastermind gods throwing our lightning bolts. But speaking for myself, I’m always doing more exploring than masterminding. 

I’ll come up with something and think, can I really have him do that? Is this going too far?  But I waaaaaant it!! I think at some point you have to not worry about things and let something like that spin. 

In BEHIND THE MASK, the hero, Hugo, is this retired mercenary living on a windswept mountain in South America and the heroine, Zelda, is an ex-spy posing as her sister who is a prostitute. 

So Hugo ends up taking Zelda captive. It’s a completely wrong thing to do, but I loved pushing him into that limbo between wrong and right. He goes on to treat her in a super caveman way. Like here, dealing with a wound she got:

“Hey.” She tried to pull away, but he tightened his grip around her fingers and continued to peel back the tape, scowling. 

“It’s fine.”

“I will be the judge of that,” he said, keeping hold of her as though she were an unruly child.
She gaped at him. He would treat her like a child, now? 

Yes. Yes, he would.

She watched, stunned, as he peeled the tape up, little by little. 

He would treat her as he wished because she was his captive. She sucked in a breath. It was insane.

She studied his dark brows and his inky lashes. His face had a hard, jagged quality, especially in the harsh cut of his cheekbones. The furrow between his eyes seemed to deepen. Anger? Concern? Annoyance? 

He grunted as the bandage came up. Air rushed in around against the pink of the wound, cooling her tender skin. She felt exposed to the world. 

“See? It’s fine,” she whispered hoarsely. “It’s nothing.” The last thing she wanted was for him to get it into his head that she needed stitches.

Then later in the scene…

He went to work, rather expertly irrigating the wound over the sink. She stood there, forcing herself to endure his strange, rough brand of care. What choice did she have?

“You’re delaying dinner,” she said. 

“Then you’ll cook faster.”

She bit her lip, praying for him not to get it in his head to stitch her up, much as she needed it. Of course he’d be good at it. Medievally meticulous, the way he’d been with the knives on the field. He was a man into control and precision.

Hugo patted her skin dry. 

“Thank you.” She pulled her arm, but he didn’t let go—he kept hold, studying the wound.
“This will require a stitch,” he said. “Perhaps two or three.”

“No,” she said. 

“It is not a matter of debate. The cut is deep.”

Her eyes fell to the box of vendas de mariposa—butterfly bandages—that he’d pulled down with the stuff. “Those bandages—they’ll keep the skin together. One of those would be perfect. That’s all I need. Please…”

Again he twisted his lips. It meant something when they twisted like that; hesitation, maybe.

“Please, Hugo,” she added softly, using his name, aware that she was pulling him, that she could pull him, affect him. It was a little bit of a thrill, like walking a bloodthirsty bear on the end of a silken cord. 

“Do you remember what I said? This is not a democracy.” He released her and grabbed an ice cube from the freezer. “You will hold this to the flesh.” He pressed the ice to her wound. 

She complied, full of disbelief and awe at the way he was steamrolling her with his one-pointed confidence. She’d had that confidence once, before Friar Hovde. It was a kind of revelation, seeing it in him, being near him. That fuck-it-all confidence. God, it was beautiful. 

It was only when you’d lost your confidence that you came to see its beauty, like a long-lost lover who will never again have you.

He taped plastic over the rough counter and wiped down the surface with rubbing alcohol. He then snapped on latex gloves and doused them with the alcohol, rubbing his hands together to spread it around. He watched her eyes as he held his hands still, hovering them, allowing the bacteria to dry and die. 

“Seriously, Hugo—” 

“Shhh,” he said. 

Shhh? Nobody said shhh to her. Treated her like this. Ordered her. She was the co-leader of the fucking Associates. 

He torched the needle with a lighter, then rubbed it down with alcohol and threaded it with green fishing line. His technique was good; he was even doing the sterile area. He sterilized his forceps, then he took the ice from her and placed her arm down on the less sterile side of the setup, holding it in place, angled just so.  

“You can look away if you like.” 


Of course she doesn’t look away. Zelda is a little badass herself—a perfect match for Hugo. 

I think the thing about an alpha gone wild isn’t the question of whether it’s wrong or right, or is it too far, though those are important questions, but more, how will the other characters deal with it? And most of all: is it true for this character?  

Jaw-dropping moments are exciting to read and write about, but I think in the end,  a character has to make sense inside. 

Do tell!! what was your favorite jaw-dropping moment in a book? 

Carolyn will be giving away a digital copy of one of her other Associates books. Against the Dark, Off the Edge or Into the Shadows. The winner gets to pick one.

BEHIND THE MASK (Associates, #4)


When her estranged sister is won in a card game by a brutal drug cartel, Zelda knows what she has to do: take her place. Save her. Focus on infiltrating the shadowy group--and try not to think about why she left the spying game years ago. She’s slept with dangerous criminals before; she can do it again. 

Hugo Martinez is one of South America’s most lethal and wanted men, a legendary mercenary living on a windswept mountain. Even at the height of the war he wasn’t in the habit of taking women captive, but the American whore has seen his face. And he and the orphan boy need a cook. He shouldn’t want this woman, but there’s something so unusual about her…

Meanwhile, Zelda finds herself falling for her captor…but is he the killer she’s been hunting all these years?

About the Author
I am a RITA-winning author of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of love and adventure (and erotic & dark romance as NYT bestselling author Annika Martin). My books have been published by Random House and Samhain, and I also go the indie route. I work a straight job as a marketing writer, I love to read in bed and run, I’m passionate about helping animals, and I make my home in Minnesota with my husband and two cats. 

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May 24th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Top Five must-visit places in New Orleans!

Congratulations to "Liz D." the winner in Cynthia's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Hi, everyone!! It is such a pleasure to be at Just Romantic Suspense! :)

My latest romantic suspense novel, TWISTED, is set in the fun and fabulous city of New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans is one of my absolute favorite places to visit. I’ve been incredibly fortunate—I just live a little over two hours away from New Orleans, so I’ve been able to visit the Big Easy over and over again. I can never get enough of that place! 

Today, I wanted to share my top 5 places to visit in New Orleans. I hope you enjoy the list!

1. Café Du Monde. Okay, I think we all know that beignets and New Orleans pretty much go hand in hand. But the *best* place to have beignets (in my humble opinion) is Café Du Monde. Go late at night (near midnight is fun), and enjoy beignets along the riverfront as you listen to jazz music drift in the air.  Awesome.

2. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. So this place is supposed to be haunted…which, of course, is a huge bonus for me…Lafitte’s Bar is the last bar on Bourbon Street, and, from the outside, it looks incredibly small, but what a fun place it is! No trip to New Orleans is complete without at least taking a carriage ride tour that leads you to Lafitte’s. (And if you go via carriage, the nice folks at the bar will bring your drink out to you—total curbside service.)

3. Jackson Square. I love this place—absolutely gorgeous and probably my most inspiring spot in New Orleans.   Street performers usually line up around the Square, and, if you’re in the mood to get your fortune told—you can do it right here.  There are a line of psychics who sit between the Square and the St. Louis Cathedral (these psychics helped inspire my book, TWISTED).

4. The St. Louis Cathedral.  If you’re at the Square, you have to keep going a few feet and step inside the Cathedral. So beautiful!  Haunting and lovely.

5. Muriel’s.  Ah…my favorite spot to eat and search for ghosts.  Muriel’s is a fantastic restaurant (located close to the Square), and a table is always set and prepared for the restaurant’s resident ghost.  If you’re looking for some authentic New Orleans food, this is definitely the place for you.

And that’s it…my top five must-visit places in New Orleans. Of course, there are tons more
places to see…the Rev. Zombie’s Voodoo Shop, the WWII Museum, the Aquarium, Harrah’s…I could pretty much go on forever. 

Thank you so much for checking out my post! And if you’ve visited New Orleans and you’ve got a favorite spot to share, please do! I’d love to hear about it!


Cynthia Eden
New York Times and USA Today Best-selling Author

Cynthia will be giving away a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to one lucky person leaving a comment or email entry!

TWISTED – Available Now 

In the second seductive LOST novel from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden, an obsessed Last Option Search Team agent goes looking for trouble—and finds her in the Big Easy.

Dean Bannon comes to New Orleans for one reason only: to track down a missing sixteen-year-old girl. That’s before he meets the drop-dead gorgeous con artist who makes him want to lose his legendary control.

With her past, Emma Castille doesn’t claim to be psychic. She just notices things other people don’t. Like the fear in a runaway’s eyes—or the pain in an ex-FBI agent’s heart. Her chemistry with Dean is blistering, but Emma follows her passion… not someone else’s orders.

Then a madman breaks into Emma’s home and leaves a twisted message: You’re next. Now Dean refuses to let her out of his sight until he pries every last secret from her full, sexy lips. And suddenly Emma’s aching to give him everything he wants.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May 23rd. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


With: Angi Morgan

Congratulations to "Colleen C.", the winner in Angi's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

The Omni Hotel in Downtown Dallas is a pretty rainbow of colors. But every time I see it, my mind shoots back to when I wrote DANGEROUS MEMORIES and how that rainbow effect played a major part in the ending of the story.


This past week, I showed off a little of Dallas to a few friends. The Pegasus statue reminds me of my childhood and visiting my grandmother. It proudly stood at the top of the an oil building for 65 years. My siblings and I would try to be the first to spot it as we drove through Dallas.

After dropping friends off at the Hyatt, I took my camera on a search from inspiration. My imagination started racing. I could see a heroine running, trying to hide, someone chasing, someone finding. I don’t know what story this is yet…but I like it.

I hope to be heading to a new location sometime this week. I’ve never been to the Grasslands in the northwest corner of the panhandle. Dalhart is the location of my second book in my 2016 Texas Rangers series.
~ ~ ~
ANGI MORGAN writes “Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love.” She combines actual Texas settings with characters who are in realistic and dangerous situations. Angi's work has been a finalist in the Bookseller’s Best Award, Romantic Times Best First Series, Carolyn Readers Choice, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the Daphne du Maurier.
Website   Facebook   FB Fan Page  
Twitter @AngiMorganAuthr      
Book Trailers on YouTube    Book Buy Links
Check out A Picture A Day for the link
~ ~ ~
Leave a comment for your choice from the books I picked up at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention last week. Or enter the Rafflecopter at the Harlequin Intrigue FB page to receive a KICKASS COWBOYS, COPS & KISSES tote with autographed books.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May  21st. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.