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Daily Deals: Romance tropes to love or hate (or both)

valentinos love child monroeValentino’s Love-Child by Lucy Monroe. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Under the Sicilian sun,

Valentino’s mistress tempts him like no other Their relationship is scorching, its intensity unmatched, the desire indescribable…

Only love can never be mentioned. But his stunning, intriguing American lover is testing his resolve. He said he’d never marry again. His principles won’t allow it. The one person to tame the untameable Valentino is the woman now carrying his child…

Harlequin Presents is one of the most maligned lines in the romance genre, but we readers know that nothing can hit the spot like a good HP when you really need a certain type of read. I haven’t read this one but a handful of Monroe’s titles are discounted right now, and this is apparently one of her best. If you don’t believe me, believe the knowledgeable and amazing ladies at the Amazon romance discussion board, because they totally know their stuff and they’re my go-to source for HP recommendations. Oh, right you want to know what it’s about? Widow and widower hook up for casual sex, then things get complicated. It’s an HP! It’s all in the execution.

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wild childWild Child by Molly O’Keefe. $ 0.99 From the Jacket Copy:

Perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson, this sizzling romance tells the story of a sexy small-town mayor and a notorious “bad girl,” who discover that home really is where the heart is.

Monica Appleby is a woman with a reputation. Once she was America’s teenage “Wild Child,” with her own reality TV show. Now she’s a successful author coming home to Bishop, Arkansas, to pen the juicy follow-up to her tell-all autobiography. Problem is, the hottest man in town wants her gone. Mayor Jackson Davies is trying to convince a cookie giant to move its headquarters to his crumbling community, and Monica’s presence is just too . . . unwholesome for business. But the desire in his eyes sends a very different message: Stay, at least for a while.

Jackson needs this cookie deal to go through. His town is dying and this may be its last shot. Monica is a distraction proving too sweet, too inviting—and completely beyond his control. With every kiss he can taste her loneliness, her regrets, and her longing. Soon their uncontrollable attraction is causing all kinds of drama. But when two lost hearts take a surprise detour onto the bumpy road of unexpected love, it can only lead someplace wonderful.

Molly O’Keefe is a favorite DA author and this is the first book in her Boys of Bishop series. Robin reviewed Wild Child and said that Molly and Jackson’s relationship “is emblematic of the way O’Keefe can bring characters with somewhat clichéd backstories into vivid and compelling life as they stumble, sometimes joyously, often painfully, always passionately, toward love and mutual happiness.”

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sea-of-suspicion-andersonSea of Suspicion by Toni Anderson. $ 0.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Marine biologist Susie Cooper traded her life in America for a dream job on the rugged Scottish coast. Now all she lacks is the right man to start a family with. After their first meeting, she knows sexy Detective Inspector Nick Archer isn’t what she’s looking for. He’s the type of guy whose idea of commitment is staying the whole night.

Nick has returned to St. Andrews for one reason only—to fulfill his vow to find his wife’s killer. Relentless in his twelve-year quest for justice, he has no problem using Susie to get close to his primary suspect: her boss. But the passion between them smolders, and as it ignites, Nick finds himself torn between his past and his present—with Susie.

When one of her boss’s students is murdered, Nick’s investigation draws Susie into a web of madness and betrayal. They will have to learn to trust each other if they’re going to catch a killer…and come out of this alive.

I always think of this book when readers are looking for unusual romances. It’s set in St. Andrews, Scotland and has a bit of an Anne-Stuart vibe. The heroine is a marine biologist and the hero is a Detective Inspector who is obsessed with the unsolved murder of his wife years ago. Lots of angst, spooky atmosphere, and Things That Are not What They Seem. Surprisingly, we haven’t reviewed this at DA, but at $0.99 I say go for it.

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hero of my heart framptonHero of My Heart by Megan Frampton. $ 0.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

In this emotional and powerfully erotic tale of love and redemption, a tender vicar’s daughter and a tortured war hero discover that sin may be their only salvation.

When Mary Smith’s corrupt, debt-ridden brother drags her to a seedy pub to sell her virtue to the highest bidder, Alasdair Thornham leaps to the rescue. Of course the marquess is far from perfect husband material. Although he is exceedingly handsome, with a perfect, strong body, chiseled jaw, and piercing green eyes, Alasdair is also too fond of opium, preferring delirium to reality. Still, he has come to Mary’s aid, and now she intends to return the favor. She will show him that he is not evil, just troubled.

Mary was a damsel in need of a hero, but Alasdair’s plan is shortsighted. He never foresaw her desire to save him from himself. Alasdair is quite at home in his private torment, until this angel proves that a heart still beats in his broken soul. The devil may have kept her from hell, but will Mary’s good intentions lead them back to the brink—or to heaven in each other’s arms?

This book intrigued me because it has an opening very much like my favorite Georgette Heyer short story. he heroine is being auctioned off by her no-good brother in order to settle his gambling debts, and the hero buys her on a whime, without having a good idea of what he’ll do afterward. But then it goes off in a totally different direction, not least because the hero is an opium addict. Some negative reviews said the opium storyline wasn’t well executed, while others said there was too much going on in the book. The positive reviews like the road romance aspect and commend the writing. And it’s a nice cover: the heroine’s dress isn’t trying to devour her whole for a change, and the hero almost has a shirt on.

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Sunita has been reading romances almost as long as she has been reading. Her favorite genres these days are contemporary, category, and novels with romantic elements. She also reads SFF, mysteries, historical fiction, literary fiction, and the backs of cereal boxes.

21 Comments

  1. Ros
    May 27, 2014 @ 14:34:13

    The Monroe isn’t on sale in the UK (actually, I don’t think that’s a sale price in the US, is it? I think $2.99 is standard backlist pricing for HP) but I bought it anyway.

  2. Ros
    May 27, 2014 @ 14:40:50

    Oh, I love that Heyer story, too. I really like how she manages to pull off the transition from Gothic to prosaic within such a short time and wordspan.

  3. MaryK
    May 27, 2014 @ 15:17:06

    @Ros: It depends on how much the discount is. Usually, the “digital list price” is $4 something and the “Kindle price” is 20% to 30% less (though sometimes less than 20% or not at all). The one featured here starts at $4.25 and with a 30% discount is $2.99 which is usually the low end of pricing except for the occasional $1.99 sale.

  4. MaryK
    May 27, 2014 @ 15:28:06

    @Ros: You got me hooked on Sophie Weston, BTW. I saw you talking about her on Twitter or somewhere.

  5. Ros
    May 27, 2014 @ 15:37:33

    @MaryK: Oh, yay! I am still working my way through a pile of Westons that a friend lent me. They’re really good.

  6. Sunita
    May 27, 2014 @ 15:40:40

    @Ros: What MaryK said. I haven’t seen anything under $3 at the Harlequin site that isn’t on sale for a long time now. The standard price for HPs is $4.99 list, $3.99 discount at the site, even for Treasure books.

    That’s a great point about the Heyer story. Now I want to reread it. Again.

  7. Carolyn
    May 27, 2014 @ 15:44:32

    Please, what’s the name of the Heyer book? I can’t remember her doing this trope and I thought I owned all of her books.

    There was another book I read and of course I can’t remember author or title, just that I liked it, but that nobleman owned a gambling house. I don’t even remember enough to ask for help, lol.

    I seem to have purchased Hero of my Heart a year ago. Perhaps it’s time I read it. :-)

  8. Sunita
    May 27, 2014 @ 15:47:56

    @Carolyn: It’s not a novel; it’s a short story called Hazard in the collection entitled Pistols for Two. I have no idea whether Frampton meant it as an homage or not (it’s not a ripoff, there are large and small differences in the details), but it immediately came to mind in part because I have that story almost memorized.

  9. Tessa Radley
    May 27, 2014 @ 16:06:00

    @Sunita I wasn’t aware Georgette Heyer had written any short stories, I’m going to have to hunt down Pistols for Two. Thank you:)

    @Ros & @MaryK – I’ve always so enjoyed Sophie Weston’s heroines!

  10. Megan
    May 27, 2014 @ 17:17:21

    Huh! I didn’t know about that Heyer short story, and I am a Heyer fan–this opening was inspired by Candice Hern’s The Bride Sale, I think. I liked the image of the woman standing on the table at the beginning of the book, so I wrote my own. Hern’s book is much different, but I do know I have vivid memories of that scene. Thanks for including HoMH in the roundup!

  11. Sunita
    May 27, 2014 @ 17:24:26

    @Megan: No kidding! Your opening is different in the particulars, as I said, but you definitely evoked the same mood, at least for me you did. It was very effective. Now that you mention the Hern I do remember it.

    And you’re most welcome. ;)

  12. Carolyn
    May 27, 2014 @ 17:48:11

    @Sunita – Thank you! I have Pistols for Two in (very old) paper somewhere in the house. Here’s hoping it’s also in e.

  13. Sunita
    May 27, 2014 @ 18:00:15

    @Carolyn: It is! And I apparently bought it for my Kindle a couple of years ago. I don’t remember doing it, but it was probably in one of the big Heyer sales that Sourcebook occasionally runs. Here’s the Kindle link, but I’m sure it’s available in all the usual places.

  14. Cynthia Sax
    May 27, 2014 @ 18:28:41

    Molly O’Keefe’s Wild Child was awesome! I loved it.

    But I should mention that I also love Molly. She’s one of the most generous and nicest writers in Romanceland, often taking precious writing time to mentor newer writers.

  15. Carolyn
    May 27, 2014 @ 18:33:13

    Thank you again, Sunita. Bought it even though it’s not on sale at this time. Heyer is totally worth the price.

  16. Janine
    May 27, 2014 @ 19:16:19

    I laughed out loud at your description of the Frampton cover!

  17. Sunita
    May 27, 2014 @ 19:48:02

    @Janine: I know that there are excellent strategic reasons for those curtains-as-couture covers, but they are all blending together for me. This has a lovely color scheme and I can actually see the faces of the people.

  18. pooks
    May 27, 2014 @ 22:04:04

    You got me with two this time. Sea of Suspicion and its Scottish setting sound like my cuppa, and a heroine being auctioned off to pay her brother’s debts, and a hero who buys her then doesn’t know what to do with her? That has potential. I hope it pays off!

  19. nasanta
    May 28, 2014 @ 08:24:34

    And it’s a nice cover: the heroine’s dress isn’t trying to devour her whole for a change, and the hero almost has a shirt on.

    Lol

  20. kate
    May 28, 2014 @ 11:24:59

    I downloaded the Toni Anderson based on this recommendation– and with the exception of
    a) slow/poorly edited/over-written start
    b)insta-unexplained-lust on the part of the male protag
    it’s really good and I am really enjoying it– it would make a great old-fashioned movie-of-the-week. Why aren’t there more like these (books/movies) anymore?

  21. Sunita
    May 28, 2014 @ 11:59:12

    @kate: That’s great to hear! Now that you mention it, I think I started this and set it aside, probably for the reasons you give. But I definitely need to go back.

    If you haven’t read Anne Stuart’s romantic suspense books (e.g. the Ice series), those may be along the lines you’re seeking. And Anderson has written other books since this debut, I think we may have reviewed one here at DA.

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