Why I Love the Enemies to Lovers Trope

YouMayKissTheBride_200x300Guest blog by Monica Corwin, author of

I decided to write this guest post on my favourite romance trope. After a lot of deliberating I finally decided on enemies to lovers. I love best friends to lovers or the one that got away as well but enemies to lovers has to be my favourite to both read and write. There are so many emotions to roll through in this trope and without a doubt always a great switch…the moment when these two people who’ve hated each other finally give in and let it all go. Best moment.

A couple of my favourite novels that fall into this category are:

  • Night Fires by Karen Harbaugh – This is an older novel but has been one of my favourites for years. What’s not to love about a French Revolution historical paranormal romance with a strong female lead? NOTHING.
  • Lover Mine by J.R. Ward – John Mathew was long my favourite character in the BDB world and when I finally got his and Xhex’s book I was complete.

What are your favourite enemies to lovers novels?

BLURB:

Helena Banks and Alex Parker are meant to be…if they can get past the secrets, lies, corporate espionage.

Helena Banks has the perfect life. Well, she thought she did until her perfect fiancé left her in the limo outside her perfect wedding. Like any strong woman she rallied with the help of one super sexy limo driver. But is he really who he says he is?

Alex Parker never wanted a complicated life. He lives for his work and that had always been enough. When fate drops a damsel in distress on his radar he realizes he’s not content after all.

But Alex has a secret…one that will turn Helena’s perfect life even more upside down. Can she handle it, or him?

Find Monica Corwin on Amazon

Excerpt:

A quiet knock sounded at the door, and Alex went to sign for the food without me even making a move to get up. The aroma of melted cheese hit me full force. I surged to my feet, ready to make a beeline for the tray when the alcohol caught up to me and I wobbled, about to keel over. Alex had nowhere near my level of intoxication and caught me smoothly. He could do nothing but help buffer the fall with his arms.

We both landed on the plush faux fur in a tangle of limbs. The silk of my outfit did little to disguise any part of me, and when we both stilled, he was laying in the curve my open thighs created. Alex pushed up on his arms, removing his comforting weight off my chest, but made no move to get up.

Those green eyes ensnared me, and I did the thing I had been dying to do since I watched his lips wrap around the bottle earlier. They were just as soft as I imagined and tasted like lemon and beer. He didn’t respond at first, but when I probed the seam of his mouth with my tongue, it felt like an electric current shot through both of us. He wrapped one arm around my back, and the other hand tangled in the mass of curls at the nape of my neck. Effortlessly he pulled me into his body while pressing his hips into mine.

Not even a Disney kiss could have been as equally magical. His tongue traced mine with a demanding edge I savored as small currents of need sparked from the tips of my fingers all the way to my toes. I would have stayed there for hours if the sound of the door lock opening to a keycard hadn’t broken the spell between us. We both looked up just in time to register the shocked face of my former fiancé.

About the Author: Monica Corwin is an outspoken writer who believes romance is for everyone no matter their preferences. Displaced in Central Pennsylvania, Monica Corwin attempts to spend her days writing away in her home by the river. In reality she chases around a toddler and writes when she can. In her free time she drinks entirely too much coffee and collects tomes on King Arthur.

www.monicacorwin.com

www.twitter.com/monica_corwin

www.facebook.com/monicacorwin

Find Monica Corwin on Amazon

Breathless Press 5th Birthday

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Out of Your Reading “Comfort” Zone

lovehateIf you’re like me, you have a list of things that you like and hate to read. Sometimes though, you come across a book that you should dislike emphatically because it hits on one major dislike or several minor dislikes… and yet, despite the book containing things you dislike to read you find yourself irresistibly drawn into the author’s world. I call these books the exceptions to the rules. After all, isn’t it a lady’s prerogative to change her mind? In my case, for instance:

  • I don’t like werewolf heroes/heroines in my paranormal romance, but I love Molly Harper’s How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf. This book is fun, hilarious, and feel-good.
  • I don’t like sibling’s best friend/best friend’s sibling romances, but I love Grace Callaway’s Her Prodigal Passion. It’s steamy, passionate, and filled with angsty-goodness.
  • I don’t like beta heroes, but I love Julia Quinn’s Just Like Heaven… and it also fits the sibling’s best friend trope too. If you like audiobooks, you should snag this book in that format.
  • I don’t like selfish/whiny heroines, but I love Emma by Jane Austen… I will watch the mini-series over and over because it’s sweet and contains one of my favorite tropes — a May/December romance.
  • I don’t like children in romances, but I love Teresa Medeiros’ Charming the Prince. I especially love that the heroine bonds with the kids and they wage war on the hero.

What are some of the books that have landed on your radar that would normally stay buried? What makes them the exception to the rule for you?

Photo Credits: Aussiegall

My Favorite Tropes: Physical Disabilities

Guest Post by Carla F.

I love stories in which the hero or heroine have a physical disability (blindness, deafness, unable to walk, etc.). The H/H has an additional barrier (a large one) to reaching their one true love. Sometimes he/she will use their impairment as shield to keep the love of their life away because they don’t feel worthy enough to be loved. Thank goodness that doesn’t work! These types of stories reinforce the belief that love conquerors all and the feeling that you will be loved no matter what your flaws are.

My weakness for some reason is those H/Hs who are deaf. So sorry that this list is a little bit heavy with that type of disability.

A Hearing Heart by Bonnie Dee (Western) – If you don’t grab a box of tissues when reading this, then you are tougher than I am. In 1901 Nebraska schoolteacher, Catherine Johnson, saves deaf stable hand Jim Kinney from being beat up and drug down the street by villains. Once she realizes that he cannot read and write, she offers to help him with his education.

The Bargain by Mary Jo Putney (Regency) - I would have put this one on my Marriage of Convenience list if I could have remembered the name of it. Fortunately, I found it for this list. Lady Jocelyn Kendal wants to keep control of her inheritance so she makes a bargain with Major David Lancaster, who is dying from the wounds he received at Waterloo. Marry her, and she will see that David’s governess sister is provided for once he has passed away.

Look What Santa Brought by Annmarie McKenna (Contemporary) - Her ex-boyfriend will not move out of her apartment and leave Tara Patrick alone. Her best friend’s blind brother, Scott Wyatt volunteers to be her “pretend” boyfriend, but he wants it to be for real.

Moon Craving by Lucy Monroe (Historical Paranormal) – It has a shape-shifter hero and a deaf heroine. Naturally, I loved it. Abigail has been deaf ever since falling ill when she was a child. She has hidden her shameful “affliction” from everyone in the castle except her immediate family. She is then forced to marry Talorc, Laird of the Sinclair, and knows that if he finds out that she is deaf he will cast her aside.

Dancing in the Moonlight by RaeAnne Thayne (Contemporary) - After losing part of her leg in the Afghanistan war, Lieutenant Magdalena Cruz returns home, and wishes that everyone would leave her alone. Dr. Jake Dalton has always been in love with Magdalena and has no intention of granting her wish.

Artistic Appeal by Andrew Grey (Contemporary GLBT) - Divorced and still partial in the closet, lawyer Brian Watson, falls for deaf art restorer, Nicolai Romanov.

Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas (Regency) – Gypsy Kevin Merripen has loved Winnifred Hathaway ever since the Hathaway family took him in when he was a child. Kev has never felt that he was good enough for Win and resists her temptation. When Win comes down with scarlet fever Kev nurses Win back to health, but the illness leaves her weak. She decides to travel to another country for treatment. When she returns, she brings with her a suitor.

Three Nights with a Scoundrel by Tessa Dare (Regency) - Susan S. mentioned this one in her Reformed Rakes list. Deaf heroine, Lily Chatwick’s brother Leo is killed in a London alley. Family friend, Julian Bellamy wants to find the killers, and he wants to find Lily someone to marry so that she will be taken care of. Lily is only interested in Julian, but he doesn’t think he is worthy to marry Lily because of his secret past.

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen (Regency) - Injured when a villain tries to strangle her to death, Olivia loses her voice. Lord Bradley knows that Olivia overheard a secret that could ruin his life. He gives her a post at his home so that he can keep an eye on her. When she recovers her voice will she reveal his secret?

Special Mention: GLBT/Mystery author Josh Lanyon has many heroes who dealing with some kind of physical disability. He is definitely a go-to-author for those who like GLBT and this trope. Plus the stories are also excellent police procedures/who-done-its. Some of his books are:

The Adrien English Mysteries (Contemporary) - Ariden contracted rheumatic fever as a child and has damage to his heart. The series follows the bookstore owner/mystery writer as he solves murders with the help of his sometimes romantic interest, closeted LA police detective Jake Riordan. Books in the series are:

Fair Game (Contemporary) - Elliot Mills was an FBI agent involved in a shootout that left him with a crippling knee injury. Now a college professor, his father has asked him to look into the disappearance of a friend’s son. This means that Elliot will have to work with Agent Tucker Lane who is his ex-lover.

Don’t Look Back (Contemporary) - Peter Killian is injured when he interrupts a burglary at the museum where he is curator. He wakes up in the hospital with amnesia and is being accused of being the thief by Detective Mike Griffin.

The Dark Farewell (Historical) - In post-WWI America Spiritualist medium Julian Devereux suffers from epilepsy. Newspaperman David Flynn doesn’t believe that Julian can see dead people, but then Julian starts getting messages from victims of a serial killer.

No matter how much I love this trope. There are still some books that just don’t grab me. Two of them are:

Life, Over Easy by K. A. Mitchell (Contemporary GLBT/Paranormal) – An accident ends the diving career of John Andrews, and now he suffers from vertigo and double vision. I love K. A. Mitchell’s books in general. This one started out interesting, but then took a turn with ghosts/paranormal that I wasn’t expecting or welcomed.

Dark Symphony by Christine Feehan (Paranormal) - Antonietta is a blind musician whose family is in danger. This is one of Feehan’s Carpathian books. I was looking forward to Brian’s story since he appeared in Dark Desire, which is my favorite of Feehan’s books. I think though that I had reached saturation with the series, and it was too weird for me.

Do you like these kinds of stories? Can you recommend some?

Photo Credits: sludgegulper

My Favorite Tropes: Reformed Rakes

Guest Post by Susan S.

For me to describe the reformed rake, I’d have to discuss his past behavior. As a rake (shortened version of rakehell), he was considered the epitome of the bad boy. A man whose immoral conduct would cause a kindly innocent lady to slap him soundly across the cheek. Not that he hadn’t been slapped by harlots and mistresses alike. Because he has. He’s just learned to consider it par for the course. He was known to gamble, drink, frequent gaming houses and brothels. The love ‘em and leave ‘em type. If you’ve heard the song, Womanizer by Britney Spears, that about sums it up nicely.

Our rake is a man typically found in historical novels and is sexy as all get out; has looks, charm, money, and acres upon acres of property. Usually inherited from his father. There are other terms associated with Mr. R, such as: scoundrel, rogue, libertine, and cad. Oh, and licentious which means he lacks moral restraints, usually sexual ones. You’ll want to slap him. Then kiss him. Slap him a second time, even harder than the first time. Then sleep with him. Well, you get the idea.

But since he’s met the heroine, the bad boy persona seems to be disappearing. His conduct is much improved. He’s now becoming, dare I say it? Honorable. The heroine has made his heart grow two sizes since they met. She’s now done the Impossible! Won, where hordes of ladies and lightskirts have failed. She has snared the ultimate bachelor. Along with his heart, money, and lands.

I LOVE reformed rakes! The trope transforms the “baddest” of the bad boys into a respectable good guy. I’ve read gazillions of these novels. And never tire of them. Ever! Want to read about rakes and the lucky ladies who made them heel? I thought you would. Light chuckle.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite reformed rake novels. Some of which I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. I’m also including some on my to-be-read can’t freakin’ wait to read list. Enjoy your journey, but take care- these rakehells are extremely hard, if not impossible to resist. Had I lived in England during the Regency era, I know I would’ve fallen prey to his wiles. But would have enjoyed every second of his overtures.

Reformed Rakes I have loved before:

  1. Lord William Westfield in The Wolf Next Door by Lydia Dare. Yum!
  2. Dashiel Thorpe, Earl of Brimsworth, in The Taming of the Wolf by Lydia Dare. He’s got a black book and gets busted for it! Tsk, tsk!
  3. Simon Westfield, the Duke of Blackmoor, from A Certain Wolfish Charm also by Lydia Dare.
  4. The Earl of Dunraven from A Dash of Scandal by Amelia Grey.
  5. Lord Morgandale in An Earl to Enchant by Amelia Grey.
  6. Lord Phillip in The Rogue and the Rival by Maya Rodale.
  7. Sebastian Grey from Ten Things I Love About You by author Julia Quinn.
  8. Julian Bellamy in Three Nights with a Scoundrel by Tessa Dare.
  9. Captain Jackson Logan if I recall is in a different setting than the typical historical, but is the ultimate baddy. He really is bad-to-the-bone. I’ve re-read it so many times, I’ve lost count. You can find him inside the pages of An Honorable Man by Rosemary Rogers.
  10. Garrick Le Clere, Marquess of Beauworth, from Wicked Rake, Defiant Mistress by Ann Lethbridge. It’s on my Kindle!

Reformed Rakes I’m hoping to have a tryst with:

  1. Joshua Camden, Marquess of Montfort, from A Matter of Choice by Laura Landon. (I’ve read the Kindle sample; he gets slapped, lol. Numerous times.)
  2. Nicholas Staunton, the Duke of Drummond, in Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right by Kieran Kramer.
  3. Improper Gentlemen by authors Diane Whiteside, Maggie Robinson and Mia Marlowe.
  4. Sebastian Blake, the Duke of Winterhaven, in A Duke For All Seasons by Mia Marlowe.
  5. Charles Thorpe, Viscount Lumley, from If You Give a Girl a Viscount by Kieran Kramer.

My Favorite Tropes: Secret Baby!

Guest post by Carla F.

Secret Baby! The phrase just screams for capitalization and an exclamation point. Of course, this plot is when a couple goes their separate ways without the hero knowing that the heroine is pregnant. (Sometimes the heroine doesn’t even know.) The couple could have been separated by war, controlling parents, a misunderstanding, etc.

It is my impression that there are many readers that dislike this trope. It can be problematic depending on how the author deals with it. Unfortunately, many times these stories involve one or both parties who are Too Stupid To Communicate. The “breakup” could have been avoided if he/she could have just explained their thoughts/feelings. Sometimes just saying, “I love you” (when in fact the person does love him/her) would have made a difference.

Then there are the Contemporary stories where the couple forgets the condom. Sure it happens in real life all the time, but I would like to see at least my romance characters show a little responsibility. Of course, wearing a condom doesn’t always work because they seem to break a lot (or so I have read). This especially seems to be a problem for the millionaire/playboy/tycoon types. In fact, I am beginning to think that these types have extra strong sperm that just busts right through the latex, and someone should develop a new line of condoms just for them.

So why do I like Secret Baby! plots? In most of these the reader knows about the child before the father does. It is fun watching the other shoe drop. (Bad historical example: Duke of Candlewyck: “My portrait gallery is so huge that I had forgotten all about this portrait of great-uncle Basil. I never realized that Sarah’s son looks just him…Bloody hell!”) Then it is interesting to see how the hero deals with this knowledge. How he does this can determine whether you love or hate him.

If the author can avoid the situations that I mentioned above (especially Too Stupid To Communicate), I am ready to go buy the baby shoes and the onesie.

Secret Baby Plot:

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Books that I enjoyed with the Secret Baby! plot include:

  • Everyday, Average Jones by Suzanne Brockmann (Contemporary) - Melody Evans is saved by Navy SEAL, Harlan “Cowboy” Jones, from terrorists. The attraction is immediately and intense, but Melody always wanted to marry someone who is average and not someone who takes risks. Melody and Cowboy return to their separate sides of the US. Yes, yes this is one where the condom breaks but Cowboy’s attempts to convince Melody that he is the man for her is so sweet and sexy that I can ignore that.
  • Texas Wedding for Their Baby’s Sake by Kathryn Albright (Western) - The hero Brandon goes off to fight in Texas after having to watch his brother kiss his secret fiancé, Caroline, in front of the whole town (-10 points for that reaction, Brandon). He is wounded physically and mentally in the war, and he knows that he can no longer marry Caroline. When she receives his letter telling her to find someone else, she heads west to find him.
  • Scandalizing the Ton by Diane Gaston (Regency) - Lady Lydia Wexin is rescued from a reporter that is harassing her by Adrian Pomroy, Viscount Cavanley. Lydia has been hurt and so Adrian carries her indoors, and thing progress from there. The next morning, Lydia insists that Adrian leave because she was already a target of so much gossip because of the death of her husband.
  • No Place to Run by Maya Banks (Contemporary) - When Sam Kelly was undercover, he had a brief affair with Sophie Lundgren. The mission falls through and Sophie vanishes. When Sam next sees her she is pregnant and tells him that his life is in danger.
  • Circumstantial Memories by Carol Ericson (Contemporary) - I had to have one with amnesia as part of the plot. Julia does know not where she was heading when she had her accident. She doesn’t remember anything about her life including who is the father of her baby. After returning from a multi-year assignment, secret agent man, Ryder McClintock, is stunned to see Julia living in his town. When he didn’t hear from her, he thought that she didn’t want to continue their relationship.
  • The Masquerade by Brenda Joyce (Regency) - It is actually the sister that bears the hero’s baby in this one. (Yes, hero.) Elizabeth “Lizzie” Fitzgerald was supposed to meet Tyrell de Warenne (who she has loved since she was a child) in the garden during the masquerade party. A mix-up causes Lizzie’s sister to be out in the garden at the appointed time. The sister and Lizzie go off to have the baby, and when he is born, Lizzie decides to claim him as her own. Things don’t go smoothly when Lizzie returns home with the child.

Ones that I didn’t enjoy so much include:

  • Seducing Simon by Maya Banks (Contemporary) - I really wanted to like this one, but couldn’t in the end. Simon catches the woman he is about to ask to marry him with another man. He comes home and starts drinking a lot. His roommate Toni, who has always loved him, seduces him. Trouble is that he doesn’t remember it the next day. When she becomes pregnant, she puts off telling him for a long time because she is afraid of his reaction. He goes all asshat when she finally tells him, because she didn’t tell him earlier.
  • The Frenchman’s Marriage Demand by Chantelle Shaw (Contemporary) - Millionaire Zac knows that the baby that his mistress Freya is carrying cannot be his so he throws her out. When Freya is in a traffic accident, her grandmother takes the daughter to Zac to watch over because she doesn’t want the responsibility. Zac is not happy about this at all. He insists upon a paternity test and demands that Freya and the child come with him to Monaco. He calls her names and orders her around, but thinks that she will just get back into bed with him because he is so irresistible. Unfortunately, she does.

What are you favorite Secret Baby! stories?

More Secret Baby polls!

My Favorite Tropes: Marriage of Convenience

Guest blog by Carla F.

Merriam-Webster defines a trope as “a common or overused theme or device”. However, it seems to me that it can only be “overused” if it brings nothing new to distinguish itself from all the others. The one thing more satisfying than reading a romance is reading one that has your favorite plot. It is like when you slip on that old, ratty, soft sweatshirt that is still in your closet after all these years and laze around at home all day.

Marriage of convenience (MOC) plots were my first love (and I have never forgotten them ). In a MOC the couple decides to marry for financial and/or matter-of-fact reasons. My love of this type of plot started in the days when in romance novels, the woman didn’t lose her virginity until her wedding night. The only way to read more sexually explicit love scenes was in a MOC. It might be days or sometimes even years, but you know the couple will have sex as surely as they will fall in love. “Harlequin Presents” had a lot of these back then. I remember books by Anne Mather and Charlotte Lamb in particular. The woman would have a brother/step-brother/father who was about to bring the family firm/family to financial ruin, and she would have to marry the millionaire/playboy/tycoon to save it/them. (Of course the added bonus with these types of marriages is that you got to live the life of the stinking rich, but of course the woman didn’t care about any of that.) Nowadays you don’t see that many MOC plots in “Harlequin Presents” because the woman has to become the rich man’s mistress in order to save the day! The times have changed.

There are many reasons for a MOC besides saving the family business, and these are reflected in some of my favorites:

  • The Admiral’s Penniless Bride by Carla Kelly – (Regency) - Sally Paul was set to be a companion to an old lady, but the lady dies right before Sally shows up. With no money left, her only choice seems to be the workhouse. Lucky for her she goes to spend her last money on a cup of tea and encounters Sir Charles Bright who can tell that Sally is in trouble. He offers to marry her because he feels sorry for her, and he needs to marry anyway.
  • The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day (Regency) - In this one Gerard Faulkner, Marquess of Grayson, wants to embarrass his mother and have her stop hounding him to get married by asking the scandalous Lady Isabel Pelham, who is the lover of one of his friends, to be his wife. Pel has just turned down her lover’s marriage proposal because she doesn’t want to marry again with love involved. She does accept Grayson’s proposal of a MOC. The couple settles down in friendship, but continues their romances outside the marriage. Gerald leaves their home when a tragedy strikes. When he returns years later, he wants a real marriage with Pel.
  • A Daring Proposition by Jennifer Green (Contemporary) - Leigh Sexton desperately wants a baby, but not marriage. No way is Brian Hathaway going to just make a deposit at a sperm bank. He wants to be involved in his child’s life so he wants marriage.
  • Miss Winthorpe’s Elopement by Christine Merrill (Regency) - Her brother is a bully and wants to continue to control her money. Bluestocking Penny Winthorpe has had enough, so she climbs into a carriage to go get a man to marry her. She finds one when her carriage almost runs over the drunken Adam Felkirk, Duke of Bellston, who because of severe investment losses is trying to kill himself.
  • To Tempt a Saint by Kate Moore (Regency) - This is another one were the woman wants to gain control of her money. In this book, Cleo’s evil uncle leaves her and younger brother just barely scraping by on a farm. Alexander Jones who saved the prince’s life needs Cleo’s money so that he can invest in a gasworks that will light up the streets of the horrible London slum, St. Giles. (Well-lighted streets will help him find his missing brother.)

A MOC plot that didn’t work for me was Bought for Marriage by Margaret Mayo (Contemporary) this “Harlequin Presents” was like the ones that I used to read. Dutiful daughter is sent by ailing father to go to his enemy (say what?) to save the family business. Greek tycoon demands marriage.

Seems like I read that one before.

Do you like Marriage of Convenience romances?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

What are some of your favorite books with this type of plot?