*If trying at home, proceed with caution, a sense of humor and preferably a large glass of wine.
You’ve fallen in love. The misunderstandings are over, the other man and/or woman has bowed out, you’ve overcome your painful past and inner demons—and the surprising amount of external conflict that’s thrown obstacles in your way—and come together into each other’s arms. The sexual tension is at an all-time high. There’s conveniently some extremely flattering mood lighting. It’s the most romantic moment of your life. Clearly, there’s only one logical climax. Your heads tilt, your lips part—and you break into song.
No, don’t worry—that’s totally why your hero/ine was lowering and angling their head. To check your notes aren’t flat.
It might be a little disconcerting in real life if your partner launched into a ballad at peak emotional moments, but in a musical?
Somehow incredibly romantic.
“You Were Meant for Me” (Singin’ in the Rain)
“Ten Minutes Ago” (Cinderella)
“Some Enchanted Evening” (South Pacific)
“`S Wonderful” (Funny Face)
“Can You Feel The Love Tonight” (The Lion King)
“A Whole New World” (Aladdin)
What are some of your favorite romantic songs or relationships from musicals?
Lucy Parker lives in the gorgeous Central Otago region of New Zealand, where she feels lucky every day to look out at mountains, lakes and vineyards. She has a degree in art history, loves museums and art galleries, and doodles unrecognizable flowers when she has writer’s block.
When she’s not writing, working or sleeping, she happily tackles the towering pile of to-be-read books that never gets any smaller. Thankfully, there’s always another story waiting.
Her interest in romantic fiction began with a preteen viewing of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Firth-style), which prompted her to read the book, as well. A family friend introduced her to Georgette Heyer, and the rest was history.
When Vivienne first met Jace, she had a pretty darned good idea her world had just been turned upside down.
She was right. After all, take-no-sh*t alphas tend to have a way of getting what they want when they want it. But she quickly learned having an alpha in her corner came with perks—especially on Valentine’s Day. So, in honor of this month devoted to love, she decided to share her top ten discoveries with the rest of us.
10) Badasses do not bother with reservations or wait in line at restaurants. They either commandeer the place you want to eat in its entirety or lock you up at home and bring the feast to you—the latter typically occurring with minimal attire.
9) Badasses do not buy lingerie and give it in a box. They take you shopping, bully their way into the dressing room and give tactile appreciation for each article under consideration.
8) Rough Sex
7) Badasses do not surprise you with chocolate or your favorite sweets only one day per year. They give them to you often and compliment the curves that come as a result of those treats with a very hands-on delivery.
6) In lieu of flowery words, badasses will rev your engine with long lascivious looks and an abundance of dirty talk.
5) Badasses do not do cards. They say what needs saying out loud and proud, regardless of who’s nearby to hear it. This includes the big I love you. (Though it may be punctuated by sugar, babe or darlin’.)
3) Roses are pretty, but to the badass’s way of thinking, they shrivel and die too quickly. Definitely not an adequate representation of his feelings for you. Therefore, any gifts given are those with deep meaning and unlikely to decrease in value. Diamonds are a favorite, but the most important is his time and attention—a reminder and a promise that he will always be there when you need him.
2) Getting breakfast in bed the next day—not because he’s big on cooking, but because he’s not done with you yet and unwilling to let you get out of bed.
1) Long, leisurely, sweet sex—because while he might be a badass with everyone else, his soft underbelly is only for you.
A native Oklahoman, Rhenna Morgan is a certified romance junkie. Whether it’s contemporary or paranormal you’re after, Rhenna’s stories pack romantic escape full of new, exciting worlds, and strong, intuitive men who fight to keep the women they want. For advance release news and exclusive content, sign up for her newsletter at RhennaMorgan.com. You’ll also find all of her social links there, along with her smoking-hot inspiration boards.
I’m practically cackling and rubbing my hands with glee at the amazing books we have in store for you this month. You’re going to fall in love with the newest additions to the Carina Press author lineup while enjoying the very best of our returning authors. Forgive me for saying it but…whee! Read on for the goodness…
This month Lucy Parker brings us her much anticipated sequel to contemporary romance Act Like It. Pretty Face returns readers to the highly acclaimed world of the London stage with laugh-out-loud wit and plenty of drama. Iconic director Luc Savage is in for a surprise with his new show—not to mention a May-December romance with its feisty star!
New-to-Carina-Press author Rhenna Morgan kicks off her new super-sexy contemporary romance series with Rough & Tumble. With his badass don’t-take-no-for-an-answer approach to life, Jace Kennedy is everything Vivienne Moore swore she never wanted in a man—especially after the rough lifestyle she grew up in. But Jace sees the hidden wild side in Vivienne, and he won’t give up until he shows her the safest place is in the arms of a dangerous man. By the way, Jace might be a badass, but he’s no alphahole. This is a guy every inch in love with his lady and willing to treat her like gold.
We return to Lauren Dane’s Cascadia Wolves series with Wolf Unbound. We meet Tegan—a Pack Enforcer who, after the death of her mate, thought she’d be alone forever. Until she meets Ben, handsome, dominant…and human.
Amber Bardan returns with a stunning new stand-alone sultry contemporary romance in King’s Captive. In Julius’s world, on his island, he is King. Money and power mean he rules all around him—including her.
In fan-favorite A.M. Arthur’s newest male/male romance, As I Am, scarred shut-in Taz finally braves the outside world for intensely shy Will, but secrets from both of their pasts could destroy their fragile new love.
Fans of Scott Hildreth’s The Gun Runner be prepared! Michael Tripp is back and as bad as ever in The Game Changer. Tripp and Terra are moving toward their happily-ever-after, but first they have to overcome the secrets they’re still keeping from each other—and her mafia family’s inexorable determination to pull Tripp into la famiglia.
We’re introducing three debut authors this month. First, Join Agents Irish & Whiskey in Single Malt, Layla Reyne’s debut male/male romantic suspense. Widowed FBI agent and Irish ex-pat Aidan Talley falls hard for his handsome younger partner, Jameson “Whiskey” Walker, as they investigate cybercrimes and the murder of Aidan’s late husband.
In Mark of the Moon, a hookup with a vampire goes wrong when Dana Markovitz is scratched by a jealous were-cat. You won’t want to miss this sexy new urban fantasy series from debut author Beth Dranoff.
From debut author Sarah Hawthorne comes Enforcer’s Price, book one in the Demon Horde series. In this romantic motorcycle club romance, Colt is just starting to trust again, but Krista is hiding something big. Can he still love her when she reveals sex and money go hand in hand for her?
Don’t miss this amazing lineup of new and returning authors, and look for their next books in the upcoming months!
Next month: Don’t miss Shannon Stacey’s return to the world of everyone’s favorite blue-collar family, the Kowalskis, with a heart-warming and funny all-new romance that also reunites you with all your favorite Kowalskis.
As always, until next month, my fellow book lovers, here’s wishing you a wonderful month of books you love, remember and recommend.
Editorial Director, Carina Press
As a romance writer, I’m tickled to have a book coming to you so close to my favourite holiday, Valentine’s Day. In King’s Captive, Julius, the wickedest hero I’ve ever written, is not shy about bestowing gifts on his captive.
But there’s hidden meaning in Julius’s gift just as there is in all of his actions.
I’m a sucker for symbolism and gifts that can’t be wrapped in a bow—such as shared experiences or reminders of special memories. So, I’d love to share with you my top three Valentine’s Day gifts that are better than candy!
1. A shared experience
About eight years ago, hubs and I agreed to no longer exchange physical presents for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or anniversaries. We only exchange “time together” gifts. As a result, we have shared experiences that we never would have otherwise. We’ve experienced international comedy acts, live performances, adult circuses, scenic train rides, and even recently rode elephants! There’s so much you can do on a Valentine’s Day long-stemmed-roses budget!
2. Déjà vu
There’s nothing as meaningful to me as a subtle reminder of an emotional moment. My husband once snuck into my phone and changed the ringtone for his contact to a song that had special significance to us. This Valentine’s Day, why not drop your significant other a reminder of a special time—go out to the place you first met, play ‘your song’ during dinner, send a photo surprise to their email or phone when they’re not expecting it, or text them with nothing but a phrase they’ll recognise as special between the two of you.
3. Engage in fantasy
So maybe you’ve been harbouring secret fantasies about your partner’s royal blue necktie? Valentine’s Day is a perfect opportunity to indulge romantic desires. Try sending your partner a message (don’t forget the NSFW warning) with an image, GIF, or quote that encapsulates an experience, technique, or vibe, you’ve been lusting for, and share your enthusiasm. Whether you chose to enact them or not, engaging a positive dialogue about sexual desires enhances romantic intimacy.
February is an amazing month for romance readers, because Valentine’s Day is considered the epitome of romance. Hearts and flowers and romantic candlelit dinners. And speaking of candlelit dinners, food is a great way to romance someone, no matter what time of year it is. In my newest release, As I Am, one of my heroes romances his partner with an in-home candlelit dinner of lasagna and wine, and it’s a huge turning point for the couple. So for my post, I wanted to do a list of (in my opinion) the top five romantic foods.
5. Italian food (bet you saw that coming). Maybe it’s childhood memories of watching Lady and Tramp share a bowl of spaghetti while being serenaded with a love song, but to me something about this type of cooking hits my romance buttons.
4. Strawberries. Cover them in chocolate. Dip them in mascarpone cheese. Make a lovely salad with a balsamic reduction and torn basil leaves. Strawberry shortcake. The possibilities are endless with this versatile fruit. Plus, they’re somewhat heart-shaped and red!
3. Fondue. Because what’s better than dipping bread into hot, melty cheese? Feeding it to your significant other, that’s what. You can also do chocolate fondue and dip fruit/cake pieces.
2. Oysters. While I’m personally not a fan of raw seafood, oysters are considered one of the most popular aphrodisiac foods out there.
1. Chocolate. No, not those cheap, super-sugary boxes of chocolate you used to get in grade school. Sensuous dark chocolate truffles. Chocolate bark sprinkled with crystallized ginger. White chocolate with almonds. Splurge on the high-end stuff. The flavor combinations are endless.
What’s your favorite romantic food/meal to share with your significant other?
A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, SMP Swerve, and Briggs-King Books.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.
Contact her at email@example.com with your cooking tips (or book comments). You can also find her online (http://amarthur.blogspot.com/), as well as on Twitter (http://twitter.com/am_arthur), Tumblr (http://www.tumblr.com/blog/am-arthur), and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/A.M.Arthur.M.A ).