The explosive growth of digital romance and erotica publishing has given new authors exciting opportunities to find readers and refine their talents. Major print publishers keep an eye on the rising stars of the digital realm, and in 2014 some of those big names will hit the physical shelves for the first time.
Lauren Layne debuted in 2013 with the Stiletto contemporary romance series, published online by Random House’s Loveswept digital imprint. She joins Grand Central’s Forever print line with Only with You a sexy, flirty office romance that kicks off with a raunchy Las Vegas party. Forever is counting on Layne’s fans following her to the bookstore; the first print run will be 40,000 copies.
Gail McHugh’s first novel, Collide, was published online in 2013 by Simon & Schuster’s Atria imprint. It quickly hit a number of bestseller lists and garnered widespread praise. Building on this success, Atria is bringing out a print edition of Collide on May 20.
In contrast to these new authors, Marie Harte has been publishing online for as long as online publishing has been around; her catalogue has over 80 books going back to 2004, in a wide variety of romance genres. At long last she makes her print debut with The Troublemaker Next Door, a contemporary romance full of her trademark scorching love scenes.
Lora Leigh is making a more old-fashioned format shift, from mass market to hardcover. Rule Breaker is the first hardcover in her bestselling Breed series, in which genetically engineered beings fight for survival and search for their perfect mates.
Other big-name authors are shaking things up with new series. C.L. Wilson stormed the fantasy romance scene with the five Tairen Soul books in 2010, and since then has only published a few pieces of short fiction. The Winter King, which matches up the titular king and the fiery Summer Princess, is her very welcome return to novel-length work. With a different sort of heat, Maya Banks, fresh from the success of the Breathless books, begins a new erotic romance trilogy with Letting Go, about a widow who finds kinky satisfaction with her late husband’s best friend.
Romantic suspense fans who were bereft by the end of Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series and her shift to paranormal romance will be excited by the publication of Do or Die, which launches the Reluctant Heroes romantic suspense series with a cast of sensitive alpha men and strong, imperfect women. M.L. Buchman detours from military romance with Pure Heat, his first novel about daredevil smoke-jumpers. There’s still a black-ops element, and presumably plenty of high-tech helicopters for the fans of military hardware.
On the sweeter side, Deborah Fletcher Mello opens the Just Desserts contemporary series with The Sweetest Thing, where the bequest of a dessert bakery is the catalyst to romance between a man’s estranged daughter and his foster son. And Linda Lael Miller, whose name is synonymous with Western romance, starts the Bliss County series with The Marriage Pact, in which a group of single women pledge to find the right men to marry.
PW’s Top 10: Romance/Erotica
Collide. Gail McHugh. Atria, May 20
The Winter King. C.L. Wilson. Avon, July 29
Do or Die. Suzanne Brockmann. Ballantine, Feb. 4
Letting Go. Maya Banks. Berkley, Feb. 4
Rule Breaker. Lora Leigh. Berkley, Feb. 4
Only With You. Lauren Layne. Grand Central/Forever, July 29
The Marriage Pact. Linda Lael Miller. HQN, May 27
The Sweetest Thing. Deborah Fletcher Mello. Kensington/Dafina, Mar. 1
Pure Heat. M.L. Buchman. Sourcebooks Casablanca, May 6
The Troublemaker Next Door. Marie Harte. Sourcebooks Casablanca, June 3
Romance & Erotica Listings
Beautifully Damaged by L.A. Fiore (Mar. 25, trade paper, $12.95, ISBN 978-1477817506). A shy young woman falls for a wealthy, tattoo-covered amateur fighter, but his self-loathing threatens to ruin their relationship—until they discover life-changing secrets that interlink their damaged pasts.
A Husband’s Regret by Natasha Anders (Apr. 29, trade paper, $12.95, ISBN 978-1477818374). After Bronwyn Palmer’s pregnancy sent her husband into an inexplicable rage, will she ever be able to forgive him enough to uncover the painful secrets that drove his fury?
Collide by Gail McHugh (May 20, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-1476765341) is the first of two sexy contemporary romances about a woman torn between her seemingly perfect boyfriend and a dark, mysterious stranger who will stop at nothing to have her.
The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera (July 8, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-1476734248). A young woman leaves everything behind to work as a librarian in a remote French village, where she finds her outlook on life and love challenged in every way.
Nowhere But Here by Renee Carlino (July 8, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-1476763965). A Chicago reporter unexpectedly finds love in Napa Valley when she’s assigned to spend a week with a famously reclusive genius.
When the Duke Was Wicked by Lorraine Heath (Feb. 25, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0062276223). Heath launches a series spun off from her Scoundrels of St. James historicals, which featured noble ladies marrying lowlife rogues.
The Winter King by C.L. Wilson (July 29, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0062018977). When fire and ice meet in the form of the Winter King and the Summer Princess, will their love be enough to save the world from war?
A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin by Sophie Jordan (July 29, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0062222503). Besteseller Jordan launches the Debutante Files historical romance series, featuring debutantes on the hunt for Mr. Right.
Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann (Feb. 4, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0345543790). Bestseller Brockmann’s Reluctant Heroes series opener delivers everything that romantic suspense fans will expect, with a well-developed cast of sensitive alpha men and strong, imperfect women.
A Wicked Pursuit by Isabella Bradford (Feb. 25, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0345548122) is the charming and sexy first installment in Bradford’s Breconridge Brothers historical romance trilogy.
Turned by Virna DePaul (Apr. 1, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0345542458) kicks off the Belladonna Agency series with plenty of suspenseful paranormal action in a world where vampires live among humans.
Letting Go by Maya Banks (Feb. 4, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-0425272947) is the first book in an erotic romance trilogy by the author of the bestselling Breathless trilogy.
Rule Breaker by Lora Leigh (February 4; hardcover $25.95; ISBN 9780425265451) is the first hardcover release in Leigh’s bestselling Breed series, about genetically engineered beings fighting for survival and searching for their perfect mates.
Dangerously Bound by Eden Bradley (April 1; trade paperback; $15; ISBN 9780425269626) launches an erotic BDSM series set in New Orleans.
(dist. by PGW)
Cowboy Heat: Western Romance for Women edited by Delilah Devlin (June 10, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1627780339). Devlin follows Cowboy Lust with a new anthology of rugged romantics, rough riders, and rope wranglers.
Bound for Trouble: BDSM Erotica for Women edited by Alison Tyler (July 15, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1627780278). Tyler’s 10th bondage-themed erotic anthology showcases a wide variety of kinky play.
The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (July 15, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1627780377). Veteran editor Bussel assembles stories exploring every aspect of erotic submission.
Rookies: Gay Erotic Cop Stories edited by Shane Allison (July 15, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1627780292). These hot young cops are fresh out of the police academy and ready to learn the ropes.
A Wanted Woman by Eric Jerome Dickey (Apr. 15, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0525954279). Dickey returns to noir in this sexy thrill-ride set in Barbados.
Blue Notes by Carrie Lofty (May 6, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-1476706894). This sizzling new adult novel sets the tumultuous relationship between a young piano prodigy and a reluctant billionaire playboy against the vibrant backdrop of a New Orleans college campus.
The Professional by Kresley Cole (May 6, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-1476762319) is the highly anticipated complete print edition of Cole’s popular Game Maker erotic series.
The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell by Paula Quinn (Mar. 25, mass market, $8, ISBN 978-1455519514) is the first book in Quinn’s sexy Scottish romance series about the next generation of the MacGregor clan. Announced first print: 50,000.
Hope at Dawn by Stacy Henrie (June 24, mass market, $8, ISBN 978-1455598809) is a heartfelt WWI romance with inspirational elements. Announced first print: 25,000.
Only With You by Lauren Layne (July 29, mass market, $6, ISBN 978-1455546077). Layne joins the Forever list with a sexy, flirty contemporary romance. Announced first print: 40,000.
The Trouble with Honor by Julia London (Feb. 25, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0373778454). A debutante’s bravado, practicality, and wildness spice up the life of a duke’s jaded bastard son in this deliciously naughty Regency series launch.
Talk Dirty to Me: Plum Orchard, Book 1 by Dakota Cassidy (Apr. 29, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0778316190). Cassidy opens a series with a raunchy tale of ex-lovers competing for the chance to run a phone sex business.
The Marriage Pact by Linda Lael Miller (May 27, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0373778706). The women of Bliss County are ready to meet the men of their dreams in Western romance legend Miller’s series opener.
A Family Affair by Fern Michaels (May 1, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0758284945). A Las Vegas dancer learns that marrying a foreign prince comes with unexpected benefits—and baggage.
Until I Saw Your Smile by J.J. Murray (June 1, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-0758277282). Murray’s charming, sexy new novel explores what can happen when two people who are afraid to open their hearts take a chance on love.
Burn for Me by Cynthia Eden (Feb. 1, trade paper, $14, ISBN 978-0758284044). Eden launches a dark, sexy paranormal series featuring shapeshifters.
The Sweetest Thing by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Mar. 1, mass market, $6.99, ISBN 978-0758292964). Mello delivers a delectable romance that explores family values while ladling on the hotness.
Take a Chance on Me by Jennifer Dawson (Feb. 1, mass market, $6.99, ISBN 978-1420134254). Dawson’s contemporary debut features witty repartee, memorable secondary characters, and powerful attraction skillfully handled.
Turn Up the Heat by Kimberly Kincaid (Mar. 1, mass market, $6.99, ISBN 978-1420132830). Kincaid’s strong debut takes a jilted city girl to the mountains, where she meets a car mechanic with a big secret.
Safe in My Arms by Janice Sims (Apr. 15, mass market, $6.50, ISBN 978-0373863556). Former army pilot Mina Gaines is too busy running her grandfather’s remote mountainside hotel to bother with love. That is, until a private plane crashes and brings danger to her doorstep—and a sexy stranger into her life.
Loving You, Baby by Melanie Schuster (Apr. 15, mass market, $6.50, ISBN 978-0373863549). When Adrienne Sharp’s surrogacy deal with a Hollywood power couple goes south, she heads home to South Carolina to deliver a child she never expected to keep.
Step Back in Time by Ali McNamara (Apr. 1, trade paper, $12.95, ISBN 978-0751550238). In this feel-good comedy of time travel and romance, single career girl Jo-Jo wakes up to suddenly find herself in 1963—and then in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
A Man’s Promise by Brenda Jackson (May 27, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0778316251). Superstar musician Caden Granger has spent years running from love, commitment and family. He knows the kind of respect and adoration he needs can only come from one person—a woman who wants nothing to do with him.
The Dog Park by Laura Caldwell (July 29, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0778317142). A loving dog brings his estranged owners back together for a second chance at romance.
Hold Me in Contempt by Wendy Williams (Apr. 1, trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-0062268419). In this erotic interracial love story, a serious, hard-working lawyer falls passionately in love with a sexy, dangerous man. Announced first print: 30,000.
All Lined Up by Cora Carmack (May 13, trade paper, $13.99, ISBN 978-0062326201) is the first novel in a series bursting with Texas flavor and steamy romance. Announced first print: 75,000.
Bound: The Mastered Series by Lorelei James (February 4; trade paperback; $15; ISBN 9780451467300) is the first in an erotic BDSM series in which a young graphic artist finds all her boundaries pushed by an enigmatic martial artist and dojo owner.
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper (June 24, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-1476706009). In this standalone paranormal romance, a dilapidated haunted house could bring two lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!
Trapped at the Altar by Jane Feather (July 22, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-1476703640). This historical series opener moves from the remote wilds of southwest England to the turbulent royal court, where a lovely young woman is forced into marriage in order to unite two families.
The Game and the Governess by Kate Noble (July 29, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-1476749389). Trading Places meets Pride and Prejudice in this sexy, saucy romance from the author of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries series of YouTube videos.
Strain by Amelia C. Gormley (Feb. 17, trade paper, $17.99, ISBN 978-1626490710). This dark, intense, erotic post-apocalyptic novel follows the life and love of a closeted young gay man who’s only seen the ruined world from the inside of a convent, and the rough and jaded soldier who rescues him from the revenants who killed his family.
When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock (Mar. 24, trade paper, $17.99, ISBN 978-1626490789). After years of trauma, isolation, and shame, two men slowly build trust through BDSM.
Vipers Run: A Skulls Creek Novel by Stephanie Tyler (July 1; mass market; $7.99; ISBN 9780451470461). The first novel in Tyler’s motorcycle club series set in the Southwest.
Initiation of Ms. Holly by K.D. Grace (Feb. 4, paper, $12.99, ISBN 978-1402289651). Sex with a mysterious stranger aboard a train leads Rita Holly to an initiation into a exclusive and secretive club.
Must Love Dukes by Elizabeth Michels (Feb. 4, paper, $6.99, ISBN 978-1402285998). Michels’s first Regency-era Tricks of the Ton novel gleams with humor and romance, accurately depicting the difficulties faced by 19th-century aristocratic women.
Her Perfect Mate by Paige Tyler (May 6, mass market, $6.99, ISBN 978-1402292095) is a contemporary series launch featuring thrilling military spec-ops teamwork with a paranormal edge.
Pure Heat by M.L. Buchman (May 6, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-1402286889) kicks off a sexy romantic suspense series featuring a team of daredevil smoke-jumpers who battle wildfires and fly black ops missions.
The Troublemaker Next Door by Marie Harte (June 3, mass market, $6.99, ISBN 978-1402287343). Harte makes her print debut with a steamy contemporary series featuring the tight-knit rough-and-ready McCauley brothers.
Find My Way Home by Michele Summers (July 1, mass market, $6.99, ISBN 978-1402293559). Interior decorator Bertie Anderson is offered her dream job in Harmony, N.C., working for a hunky retired pro tennis player.
Born of Fury by Sherrilyn Kenyon (July 1, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1250042965). Kenyon’s seventh League novel brings the series back to SMP with the story of a fierce warrior and a top-notch assassin.
St. Martin’s Griffin
Lick by Kylie Scott (May 6, trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1250052360) is the first print edition of Scott’s bestselling new adult novel about a young woman who falls in love with a rock star.
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie Bowman (Apr. 29, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-1250042071). Bowman spins a new Regency-set trilogy off from her Secret Brides series with this sweet, sassy story.
Deeper Than Need by Shiloh Walker (June 3, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-1250032409). In this romantic suspense series launch, a single mother finds new love with a building contractor, but both are haunted by secrets.
It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren (Feb. 1, trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1414378428). Unexpected career changes bring together a clever cheerleader and a tough NHL player.
(dist. by PGW)
Opening Act by Dish Tillman (June 10, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1612433011). A rock star with a fondness for philosophy meets his match in a smart and lonely student.
Lusty Little Women by Margaret Pearl (June 10, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1612433028). This creative retelling explores the erotic adventures of Louisa May Alcott’s original characters, now older but not necessarily wiser.