How do you feel about a bad-boy hero?
I think Anne Shirley said it best for me. "I'd like a man who COULD be wicked. But wouldn't be." This is just who I am. I always fall for the wounded, mysterious guy in books and movies. (Don't get me started on Ben Solo.) My oldest daughter is the same way - she will never forgive the Avatar animators for pairing the kick-butt heroine with a little bald boy when she could've had a fire prince. We watched Phantom of the Opera the other day, and she (without prompting from me) took the Phantom's side!
My husband is a real-life good guy. He was law enforcement for a time. But the other night we were talking about this very thing and he looked me right in the eye. "If anyone ever hurt you, I'd burn down everything and everyone in my way to make them pay." I mean. Yeowza. That makes my heart fluttery.
I'm all about the layers that a bad guy has going on. Layers upon layers. Plan upon plan. This is a guy who thinks things through. He knows the world isn't a safe place, and he takes it upon himself to protect what's his (including the heroine) at any cost. He also is emotionally mature. He knows pain and suffering. He's been broken and pulled himself back together.
Wesley the Farm Boy? Sure, he's nice. But the Dread Pirate Roberts - he's seen stuff. And he's going to stop at NOTHING to get the girl, revenge himself on the (real) bad guy, and ride off to his pirate ship.
So who does this quasi-bad-boy thing right? K.M. Shea does! Royal Magic - the hero was literally the villain in the last book, and he's still a ruthless fighting machine. Check and mate. Magic Forged - a vampire. But not a broody mopey teen. A vampire who wields his power and influence with precision. And totally supports his lady-love. Crown of Shadows - the hero is literally an assassin. The meet-cute is him trying to fulfill a contract to kill the heroine. Spoiler alert: doesn't work. And it takes three awesome books for their slow-burn romance to kick into gear.
Check out her books HERE on Amazon.
So who's your favorite bad-boy love interest?
And yes, in case you were wondering, I'm madly in love with the new Loki series on Disney+. *swoon*
Twelve books read. No wonder I didn't get more writing done...
This January, I was on vacation for a few days. That's when most of this reading happened. And it was SO nice to just focus on enjoying some escapist fiction - also known as fiction NOT in the genre in which I write. Don't get me wrong. I love a good Regency romance. I just need a break every once in a while. I don't have time to tell you ALL about what I read. But I can list them in order and tell you which ones were my favorites.
Top Four: The Bestest Books EVERYONE Must Read:
In no particular order, the other books I read (with brief notes) are as follows:
Did you read anything amazing in January 2021?
This fantastic challenge was posted over at KJ's Book Nook (click here to see her post) and I decided I just had to join in!
I actually read a LOT of books. But it's hard to keep up with which ones I've read. Since becoming an author, I'm often too busy to keep track of what I've read. So it looks like I've read NOTHING. But we're going to fix that in 2020. I'm going to read with a purpose, and KJ inspired me. So, here's my list for her 2020 Reading Challenge.....
Authors read, too! And we read a lot. Well. I do. And I read a LOT of "kissing books." What's a kissing book, you ask? It's a book in which two people fall in love, and eventually they lock lips!
(Click on the covers to go to the Amazon Kindle *page!)
Here are the SIX Kissing Books I've enjoyed the most (so far) this year!
According to recent market surveys, the "clean romance" readership has grown by 60% in the last three years. Wow. Despite that significant amount of growth in readers it can still be really difficult to find a good, clean romance to read. When you start getting picky about genre beyond that, it can be even more difficult. So I'm going to do a monthly post with a list of clean romance books listed, and with different themes. This month, I'm sharing ten historical romance novels/anthologies that I've enjoyed. I hope you find some new favorites!
Calico Ball, Timeless Western Collection
by Carla Kelly, Sarah M. Eden, and Kristin Holt
The Timeless Romance series is amazing. You can't go wrong with any of them. But this is the latest from their collection, featuring three of my favorite authors. Carla Kelly, Sarah M. Eden, and Kristin Holt. They're masters of their craft and these sweet stories are sure to leave you romantically satisfied.
The Merry Lives of Spinsters
by Rebecca Connolly
I'll pretty much pick up anything by this author. She does an excellent job of crafting fun, memorable characters and entertaining stories.
From Amazon: Georgiana Allen is a spinster and everybody knows it. She also happens to be one of the writers for the Spinster Chronicles, and everybody knows that as well. She’s accepted her lot in life, and, along with the other spinsters in her circle, takes great pride in the articles she writes and the influence she has. Then Captain Anthony Sterling infiltrates their group, and her life, and Georgie impossibly begins to hope once more.
Tony Sterling had no idea what to expect when he agreed to break up the Spinsters for his cousin, but he certainly did not expect Georgie Allen. From the very first meeting, she upends everything he thought a spinster would be, and her beauty and wit keeps him on edge in thrilling ways. The more he gets to know the Spinsters, the less he wants to break them up. And the more he wants Georgie in his life. Permanently.
Book 1 in A Hearthfire Romance Series
by Michelle Paige Holmes
This was the first book I ever read by this author, and I was immediately charmed and eagerly waited for the next, and the next. This is such a beautiful story.
From Amazon: After the death of her grandfather, the Duke of Salisbury, Grace Thatcher wants nothing more than to live quietly in the country with her younger siblings. Her father’s debts thwart those plans, and to protect her sister, Helen, Grace must marry a man of her father’s choosing.
As each suitor proves less than desirable, Grace comes up with clever schemes, causing each to reject her. While staying at the mysterious Sutherland Hall, a middle-of-the-night mishap sends Grace into the arms of a stranger, Nicholas Sutherland—and provides inspiration for her grandest plan yet—one that will leave her reputation in tatters yet free both her and Helen from all possibility of marriage.
Too late Grace regrets her rash actions when her father’s last choice, Mr. Samuel Preston, proves to be a gentleman and a friend. But Samuel is the sworn enemy of Nicholas Sutherland, the man responsible for her “ruin.” Now instead of being free, Grace is caught between two men—each with his own agenda.
His Bluestocking Bride
by Sally Britton
Yup. I have no problem including my books. I poured my heart and soul into this one, telling the story of a young woman who has given up hope of being loved for herself. While this is part of my series, it actually stands alone very, very well.
Summary: Overlooked by society and underappreciated in her family, Ellen Bringhurst has resigned herself to spinsterhood and a life of reading. Until her match-making friends contrive to reintroduce Ellen to the man she has secretly loved since their shared childhood.
As the younger son to an earl, Marcus Calvert must wed in order to inherit his estate. Still nursing a broken heart, he prefers a practical approach to matrimony rather than romantic love. When Ellen is presented as a possible bride, he proposes a marriage of convenience.
Ellen accepts his hand, hiding her feelings rather than risking her husband’s rejection. Marcus, though determined not to expose his heart again, finds more to admire in his childhood friend with each passing day. What began as a sensible arrangement now has the possibility to become so much more. But is Marcus willing to risk his heart a second time?
Christmas at Edgewood Park
by Shaela Kay
A Victorian Christmas novella, by a lovely author and dear friend of mine. I love this book, so much.
From Amazon: At nearly thirty years old, Eleanor Eves is a confirmed old maid - and a rather wealthy one at that. She enjoys her independence, relishes her position, and delights in serving the people of Littleton. But when the reclusive Mr. Cartwright returns to town after eight years abroad, she finds herself the unwilling delegate volunteered to welcome him into the neighborhood.
Not only is he shrouded in mystery, but Albert Cartwright is horribly disfigured, and carries a reputation for being somewhat of a brute. With Christmas on the horizon, a holiday bazaar to organize, and her aging father to care for, can Eleanor make room in her heart for Mr. Cartwright as well?
The Earl and His Lady
by Sally Britton
This is a story of love lost, second chances, and healing. I cried writing it and more than a few of my reviewers said they cried reading it.
Lady Virginia Macon, the recently widowed Baroness of Heatherton, has an impossible decision to make. Her late husband’s unscrupulous brother demands guardianship of her sons. The courts are on his side, unless she marries someone willing to stand in her late husband’s place. Locking her heart away and devoting herself to her children is the only way Virginia can countenance such a decision.
Wearied by the world, Lucas Calvert, Earl of Annesbury, is tired of being alone. His wife’s passing six years previous left his life gray and empty. His only recourse has been to make life better for those around him, using his considerable wealth and influence. When he learns of Virginia’s plight, he knows he can save her and her sons.
During one of the rainiest summers in England’s history, Virginia and her children bring light and color back into Lucas’s life. But will Virginia’s determination to protect her heart destroy their possibility of finding happiness together?
A Rouge About Town,
Book 2 in the London League Series
by Rebecca Connolly
I know. It's book two. And the first book in the series, The Lady and the Gent, is charming and fun! But I like this one even more.
From Amazon: Gabriel Statler, Lord Wharton, has a problem. His duties as an operative for the Crown are being compromised for the sake of his cover, where he is known only as the Rogue. His days are now filled with trivial investigations, and none of the problems are ones he wants to solve. Then he meets a mysterious young woman who holds more secrets than he likes, and, against his better judgment, he takes her case.
Amelia Berger needs the Rogue, and she needs everything he can offer without revealing everything she knows. Her secrets are her own, and she has far too many to risk revealing even one. But when working with Rogue turns into something entirely unexpected, she finds that the secrets she began with are not the ones she most needs to protect.
Loving an Outlaw
by Kristen Iten
I enjoyed reading this sweet Western romance very much. It was absolutely delightful - full of beautiful description, strong characters, interesting twists, and a love story that made me sigh.
From Amazon: Eighteen-year-old Abigail Dodd has always dreamed of building a life out West. Her plans to join her older brother in Texas are put in jeopardy when he suddenly stops writing. Unsure whether he’s dead or alive, Abigail leaves for the Wild West in search of the truth. Jake Morgan rides to the rescue when things go wrong on the long road to Sweet Creek, Texas. He vows to see Abigail safely to her destination before continuing his own journey to California. When it becomes clear that her life is in danger, Jake decides to stay as long as it takes to make sure she’s safe — even if it costs him his life.
When Abigail learns of a dark secret from his past, she realizes that she may have to let go of the man she has come to love in order to save his life.
by Kristen McKendry
I discovered this book and author quite by accident. This novel was an impulse buy for me at a brick-and-mortar store. Now, I almost can't stop recommending it!
From Amazon: Independent young Kate Porter envisions a future far greater than the middle-class existence she’s always lived, and her work as a governess is simply a means to an end. The glittering world of a society wife calls, and her new position as a private tutor for the children of Mr. Alonzo Colaco is a step in the right direction. She merrily imagines the grand house awaiting her—but when her new employer meets her at the train station driving a gaily painted gypsy wagon, Kate suspects her new job as a children’s tutor will not be all she dreamed. Instead of the mansion she anticipated, Kate finds herself living in the woods in a refitted train car as she teaches the charming children of Alonzo, a tinker by trade.
After trying in vain to secure another job, Kate is left with little choice. She must simply bide her time until a better position presents itself. Before long, however, she abandons her petticoats and preconceptions in favor of the joys of a simple life—and the possibility of true love. But when opportunity knocks, will Kate really be ready to walk away from all she’s come to care for to pursue her high-society dreams?
The Orient Express, Timeless Victorian Collection
by Elizabeth Johns, Annette Lyon, and Nancy Campbell Allen
Again, you cannot go wrong with the Timeless books. These three stories take place in the age of Queen Victoria, the golden years of the railway system that stretched from one side of Europe to Istanbul. In keeping with the tradition of writing about this amazing train, each of these sweet romances contains just a hint of intrigue.
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Sally Britton's books on Goodreads
His Bluestocking Bride (Branches of Love #3)
ratings: 1062 (avg rating 4.21)
The Earl and His Lady (Branches of Love #4)
ratings: 1008 (avg rating 4.36)
The Gentleman Physician (Branches of Love #2)
ratings: 680 (avg rating 4.20)
The Social Tutor (Branches of Love #1)
ratings: 656 (avg rating 4.11)
Miss Devon's Choice (Branches of Love #5)
ratings: 517 (avg rating 4.45)