Johnson, Janice Kay, More than Neighbors

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Johnson, Janice Kay, More Than Neighbors,  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2015).

Title:  More Than Neighbors

Author:  Janice Kay Johnson

Imprint:  Superromance

Issues:  Asperger’s Syndrome; Autism; Bereavement; Bullying; Grief; Parenthood;

Blurb:

Temptation is so close!

To protect her son, Mark, Ciara Malloy has moved to this rural area in Washington. The new beginning is off to a rocky start, however, when Mark gets too familiar with Gabe Tennert’s horses. It’s obvious their next-door neighbor prefers his solitude. Even so, he shows incredible patience with Mark. And when Gabe turns that intense gaze Ciara’s way…how can she resist such a good, sexy man?

But crossing the line between friends and something more is riskier than Ciara expects. As Gabe pushes for a commitment, she fears revealing the secret truths that could turn him away forever.

Dear Reader,

A friend of mine who was a school counselor said once, “There’s a leper in every classroom.”  I knew immediately what she meant.  There is always at least one child who is shunned, teased, even bullied.  He may be overweight.  She might come to school wearing dirty clothes and smelling because of her home situation.  He could be hyperactive, she could be an easy victim because she cries instead of returning taunt for taunt.  A girl may physically mature much earlier than others, while boys are at risk if they mature too slowly.  Any behavior that is even slightly “off” serves like a red cape to a bull.  It’s a painful phenomenon that says much about human nature.  Fortunately, many of the children who go along with the taunting grow into good people.

Many of the victims mature and learn to fit in – or find the niche in life where they can belong.  As a fiercely protective mother myself, I’ve wondered what I would have done if one of my daughters had been that victim.  Confronted with her helplessness to change the school dynamics, my heroine in More Than Neighbors decides to move far away from their previous school district, and to homeschool.  She believes she can shield her son from all of life’s slings and arrows – which, of course, is impossible.  Her new next-door neighbor is at the top of the list of people most unlikely to get involved in any way.  Fortunately, they’re both facing some big surprises!  And, hey, who doesn’t love the gruff, quiet man suppressing a world of pain who is still incapabale of being unkind?  Trust me, Gabe’s a keeper!

Hope you enjoy getting to know this set of neighbors!

Janice Kay Johnson

George, Louisa, Backstage with Her Ex

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George, Louisa, Backstage with Her Ex,  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2013).

Title:  Backstage with Her Ex

Author:  Louisa George

Imprint:  Modern Tempted (KISS)

Issues:  Bullying; Learning Difficulties; Violence

Blurb:

Her ex…the VIP!

Hiding out in the gents’ toilet backstage is not the way Sasha imagined bumping into her significant ex. Especially when that ex is notoriously damaged, famously wild rock god Nate Noble! She has a massive favour to ask him, but one glimpse of his sinfully dark eyes and all she can think about is that he’s seen her naked!

Nate’s used to women doing anything to get his attention, but he never pictured bubbly schoolteacher Sasha as the groupie type—she’s far too sweet! And when the paparazzi get a hint of their reunion, it’s scandal all the way. Now the question on everyone’s lips is this: In this showdown between the girl-next-door and rock & roll royalty, who’s going to come out on top?

Dear Reader,

I’m so thrilled to be part of the Modern TemptedTM series!  The stories in this exciting new line are everything I look for in a romance:  sizzling sexual tension, a deeply emotional journey and lots of flirty fun along the way!

Nathan Munro, hero of this book, has had a lot of fun-almost too much-since he ran out on his first love, Sasha Sweet, a decade ago.  But when she falls back into his life, he is forced to examine his actions, his past and, ultimately, his future.

Sasha, however, is reluctant to fall for Nathan’s legendary rock-star charm.  She has her sights firmly set on Mr Boring by Safe, if only she could find him.  So Nate has his work cut out to convince her that My Very Wrong could possibly become Mr Very Right.

The settings for this book are two places where I’ve had a lot of fun:  amazing Tuscany, rich with history, fabulous food and delicious wine, and London.  What could be more exhilarating than the pulse of such a vibrant, sophisticated city?  It’s a fabulous place to fall in love (trust me, I know!).

I hope you enjoy reading Nate and Sasha’s story!  Look out for Cassie’s story in the second book of the Sweet Sisters duet.  Coming soon!

Louisa x

Essex, Vicki, Her Son’s Hero

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Essex, Vicki, Her Son’s Hero,  (Ontario:  Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 2011).

Title:  Her Son’s Hero

Author:  Vicki Essex

Imprint:  Superromance

Issues:  Bullying; Divorce; Domestic Violence; Guilt; Injury

Blurb:

Unacceptable. Fiona MacAvery works very hard to help her son find nonviolent ways to protect himself from the bullying he can’t seem to avoid. She’s never believed in violence. Then along comes mixed martial arts champ Dominic Payette, and that’s who her son turns to for guidance?

Dom clearly has a heart under all those… gorgeous… muscles, but there are shadows, too. He’s fighting his way back toward a champion belt after putting an opponent in a coma. Fiona admires his dedication. She even admits that he’s shown her son how to be more confident. But act on this attraction between them? There’s no way she’s letting her guard down!

Dear Reader,

I’m so proud to join the Harlequin Superromance family with my first book, Her Son’s Hero.

This book was born out of my great respect for mixed martial artists and the controversial sport that has exploded in popularity over the past few years.  As I read about the lives, dedication, sacrifices and victories of these talented athletes, it became clear they were real romance-worthy heroes.  Some of them are a little rough around the edges, but most are good men with a great passion for what they do…plus they have fantastic bodies.  It’s kind of hard not to fall in love!

Fiona MacAvery would agree.  When pro MMA fighter Dominic Payette comes to town, she thinks he’s just a meatheaded testosterone-fueled brawler.  But as he teachers her young son karate-do and shows them both how to face their fears, he’ll pove to them exactly what kind of man he is.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this book, MMA or anything else that’s on your mind.  Email me at vicki@vickiessex.com.

Happy reading,

Vicki Essex

Ashton, Leah, A Girl Less Ordinary

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Ashton, Leah, A Girl Less Ordinary,  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2012).

Title:  A Girl Less Ordinary

Author:  Leah Ashton

Imprint:  Romance (Cherish)

Issues:  Addiction; Bereavement; Body Image; Bullying; Child Abandonment; Drugs; Self Esteem

Blurb:

Eleanor has worked hard to transform herself from the lonely girl she once was. Switching braces for a breathtaking smile, dowdy clothes for fabulous dresses, and heartbreak for flirty, fun-only dates, she’s now “Ella.” But one man can see the real woman beneath.

Fiercely private billionaire Jake Donner has never forgotten Eleanor, and he’s shocked to see how she’s changed. Sparks begin to fly as old memories haunt them—for the innocent attraction they once resisted is all grown up and won’t be denied again…

Dear Reader,

I’ve always loved stories where the heroine was an awkward ugly duckling who grows up to become a stunning, successful swan.  Of course-she then meets a fabulous, drop dead gorgeous man and they both live happily ever after!

That’s how this story started, with dorky Eleanor in her school uniform crystal clear in my imagination.  But then I thought-what if my hero isn’t quite so perfect?  What if he was an outcast in school, too?  And that’s how Jake was born-brilliant, geeky, reclusive Jake.

Later it became clear that Eleanor and Jake had a past-in fact, they were once best friends!  Back at school they’d believed it was just the two of them against the world.  But then something went very, very wrong…

I hope you enjoy Ella and Jake’s story, and the sparks that fly as they’re thrown together after more than a decade apart.

I love to hear from readers.  You can contact me via my website:  www.leah-ashton.com, or email:  leah@leah-ashton.com.

Leah

King, Lucy, The Reunion Lie

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King, Lucy, The Reunion Lie,  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2013).

Title:  The Reunion Lie

Author:  Lucy King

Imprint:  Modern Tempted (KISS)

Issues:  Bullying; Self Esteem

Blurb:

It was only meant to be a little white lie.

Inventing a fake fiancé was an act of desperation for Zoe Montgomery – a knee-jerk response to her horrifying high school reunion! But now that she’s convinced London’s most unattainable bachelor to play the part, her little white lie is spiralling out of control.

Because everyone wants a piece of tycoon Dan Forrester. Including Zoe! Especially once she’s seen the view from his bedroom – this might be a fake engagement, but she’s certainly not faking anything else!

Now the reunion is over, and Zoe and Dan have convinced the world they’re meant to be! But convincing each other? A whole different challenge…

Dear Reader,

Some people say that your schooldays, with few responsibilities, hordes of friends and long, long holidays, are the happiest of your life.  Others add that, whether you loved them or hated them, they can shape you for years.

Who hasn’t idly browsed through Facebook to see what’s become of the class bully or the prettiest, most popular girl in the year?  And who hasn’t wished they could sail into a reunion looking a million dollars, brimming with confidence and showing everyone what a fabulous success of their life they’ve made?

That’s perennially single Zoe Montgomery’s plan when, against her better instincts, she decides to attend her fifteen-year school reunion.  Her schooldays definitely weren’t the happiest of her life, and much to her dismay they’ve subsequently had quite an impact, so she’s out to get closure.  But, as can happen with the best-laid plans, things rapidly go awry-and before she knows it she’s not only invented a fabulous fake boyfriend, she’s brough him to life.  When gorgeous advertising exec and latest tabloid hottie Dan Forrester and a very active grapevine become involved things start to get really complicated!

The school reunion that I went to, which provided the initial spark for this story, wasn’t nearly as dramatic as Zoe’s, but I can’t help wishing it had been!  I had a blast Dan and Zoe’s story-I hope you enjoy it.

Lucy x