“The promise of happily ever after is a really powerful thing,” Cole says. A Duke by Default is the second book in her Reluctant Royals series. The story follows Portia Hobbs on her quest to reinvent her life by leaving New York for a sword-making apprenticeship in Scotland. But when she meets her new boss, Tavish McKenzie, things heat up and get a bit tricky.
Cole says that while the setting for the romance came to her while reading a 2014 article about a modern sword maker, to craft Portia she drew inspiration from her own life. “The book was kind of a reckoning with my own sense of being a screwup,” Cole says. “Portia deals with her sense of constant failure and is diagnosed with ADHD, and I was diagnosed shortly before the book came out.” One of the most challenging aspects of writing A Duke by Default, Cole says, was “realizing that if I was telling Portia that she was fine and deserved to be happy, I had to accept that for myself too!”
“Stories of strong women finding agency, love, and happiness against insurmountable odds are addictive and, I believe, doing their part, subtly, to bring about change,” Jordan says.
Jordan’s Beautiful Sinner is book five in her Devil’s Rock series. It centers on reporter Gabriella “Gabby” Rossi and her long-ago high school crush, Cruz Walsh. In addition to wanting to jump-start her career by reporting on Cruz’s wrongful incarceration, Gabby struggles with her body image and an overwhelming family. But when Gabby gets locked in a supply closet with Cruz, things begin to fall into place.
Jordan agrees with Cole about happy endings. “Happily ever after,” Jordan says, “is everything.”
“We have been inundated with tales of men, and some women, wielding power for sex,” London says of the #MeToo moment. “Romance novels give us the ideal—characters who aren’t perfect but who fall in love and respect the person they love.”
Seduced by a Scot marks London’s sixth and final book in the Highland Grooms series, which is set against the backdrop of the formal unification of England and Scotland in 1707.
London says that creating a historical female character that appeals to modern women proved challenging. “When I first started reading and writing historical romance a thousand years ago, the heroines were powerless and relied on the men to help them or save them,” she says. “I wanted her to use her wits and succeed,”
“The reader is always guaranteed a happy ending in a romance novel, full stop,” London says, echoing her fellow authors. “Characters are redeemable and love prevails.”