Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Miranda Owen | Fierce, Fabulous Heroines

April 6, 2020

Heroines in romance novels: let’s discuss. A frequent topic among romance readers and authors involves heroines and the unequal way they can be viewed. There are two bones of contention to pick. The first is that a heroine’s life choices are viewed with a more critical and unforgiving eye than a hero’s choices. Secondly, that a heroine’s flaws and personality quirks are viewed more harshly than those of a hero. I believe that both things are very real, but I will only admit to unconsciously doing the latter. If a character – whether male or female – makes life choices that I disagree with, as long as the character is fleshed out and well-written, I won’t judge and I’m still able to enjoy the story. However, if there are aspects of a character’s personality that rub me the wrong way, it’s difficult for me to put that aside and focus on where the author is taking me. As a woman, I often identify more with a female protagonist, and therefore have caught myself being overly critical of that character. This is something I’ve picked up on and tried to snap myself out of doing. Every reader has their pet peeve when it comes to characters. For me, be it a male or female character, I’m particularly irked if a character is taken advantage of or easily manipulated. Each year I mentally create, and occasionally publish online, a list of my favorite fierce and fabulous female protagonists. Each one is different from the others, but all are incredibly strong. This year’s crop, so far, includes characters from historical, paranormal, and contemporary romances.

Blair Kincaid from CROSSING THE LINE by Cynthia Eden, Nicole Grayson from YOU HAD ME AT WOLF by Terry Spear, and Veritas from WICKED BITE by Jeaniene Frost are all tough investigators who can handle themselves in all kinds of dangerous situations. I’m a huge fan of all three of these authors and these characters are all spectacular with an equal amount of similarities and differences. The men who end up falling for them are wildly different from each other, but all are attracted to the women’s strength, unique skillset, and provide support when needed the most. In CROSSING THE LINE, Blair is a special agent for a private security firm. Blair and her work partner Linc have danced around a flirtation for a few books, but Blair finally lets her guard down with him. As with each of these three couples, Blair and Linc are a perfect match and, while realistically flawed, they provide the support and love that they each need.

While Cynthia Eden provides a sensual tropical island paradise as a setting for romance and thrills, in YOU HAD ME AT WOLF, Terry Spear provides a winter wonderland and a cozy lodge for her couple to explore while taking breaks between keeping surveillance on some baddies. Nicole Grayson and Blake Wolf are both wolf shifters. Nicole is a savvy private investigator and Blake is just a local nice guy hottie innkeeper. Rather than overstep and try to take charge, Blake respects Nicole’s experience and abilities as an investigator to handle things as she sees fit. However, he is eager to help and let her use him in her plans.

In Jeaniene Frost’s WICKED BITE, heroine Veritas is a strong and stoic protagonist who struggles with accepting help from a partner as she battles her way through the book. Her physical strength is initially what draws fellow vampire Ian to Veritas but, as they get to know each other, he helps her better accept herself and therefore helps her gain some emotional strength.  When she first made an appearance in one of Jeaniene Frost’s books in a different series, I wasn’t particularly drawn to Veritas – as is the case with a few other heroines who came to be some of my favorites. Jeaniene Frost does a superb job of exposing a character’s innermost thoughts and having them evolve over a couple of books.

Antiheroes have been riding a popularity high for a long time now, but they are often male characters. For me, Max McKilligan in Shelly Laurenston’s BADGER TO THE BONE makes a very unconventional heroine but a perfect and entertaining antihero. Anybody foolish to underestimate one of Shelly Laurenston’s female characters must have a death wish. Her shifter female characters have different backgrounds, interests, and annoyance thresholds, but they are all deadly in their own ways and don’t take any BS from anybody. In Max’s case, she may have been on the wrong side of the law a time or two, and she doesn’t set out to save the world in BADGER TO THE BONE. However, by trying to write her family’s wrongs and undo some of the damage done by her loser father’s epic stupidity, she does a public service in her own way.

Unlike the other heroines discussed here, Ellen Martingale in THE INEVITABLE FALL OF CHRISTOPHER CYNSTER is not a woman trained in taking down her enemies with a weapon or hand-to-hand combat. Ellen is a woman living in England during the mid-1800s. Her chief concerns are holding things together on the estate she lives on until her younger brother takes over. Her strength and her skills come from her adaptability, capability, determination, and unexpected ingenuity when it comes to unraveling and thwarting some local villains’ schemes. Stephanie Laurens writes some of my favorite female protagonists. They are almost always cool, calm, collected, and have high self-esteem. Likewise, my opinion of her heroes is usually high as well because they respect and are attracted to women who are intelligent and strong, rather than seeing those qualities as problems or something to be repressed.


You can read more of Miranda’s Fresh Fiction reviews and articles here: 


Books Recommended In This Article: 


Wilde Ways #7

Crossing The Line

Partners…with benefits.

Your partner knows your secrets. Your partner watches your back. Your partner…is the star of your fantasies?

Linc Dalton knows that he is supposed to keep his hands off his partner…well, unless he is protecting Blair Kincaid’s gorgeous body. She’s his partner at the elite protection firm of Wilde Securities. Their job is to guard the wealthy, to take out the bad guys, and to generally kick butt. He trusts Blair completely. He admires her strength and courage. And he wants her desperately. Not that he ever intends to let her know that fun fact. Instead, he keeps up a fake persona where he offers her jokes and flippant comments.

Blair is straight-laced. By-the-book. Always by-the-book. Linc likes things a bit wilder. Control isn’t his strong suit, but, with a massive effort, he’s kept his control in place around Blair. With Blair, he’s on his best behavior…

Until he isn’t. Until they get a new case. Until they have to go undercover as lovers.

And, suddenly, Linc has to put his hands on Blair’s delectable form. He has to stay very close to her. Has to whisper sweet promises to her. Has to share the same bed with Blair. It’s just a cover story. He’s not really in love with her…except, one night, they cross the line. Stop being pretend lovers and become the real thing. Once Linc has Blair, there is no turning back. Giving her up isn’t an option.

She broke the rules, and for once, Blair doesn’t care.

She shouldn’t have done it. Blair knows she shouldn’t have let the desire she feels for Linc sweep her away. Yet she did, and now, everything has changed. She wants him more than ever before, and, surely, they can do this, right? They can be lovers and partners and still get the job done. As long as emotions don’t get involved, everything is fine.

Until it isn’t. Until Blair and Linc are targeted as prey. Until all of their emotions are out of control.

When their cover is blown, Blair and Linc find themselves being hunted. It’s a race for survival, and Blair knows that Linc has her back. Just as she has his. Prepare yourself…things are about to get wild.

The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been, and Linc and Blair are about to turn things red-hot. Molten level. Watch out…you just might get burned.

Author’s Note: These partners have been on a slow-burn path, but their desire is about to ignite into an inferno they can’t control. You ready to steam up the pages? We’ve got action, thrills, romance…and a hero who is funny, sexy, and willing to do anything to claim his lady. CROSSING THE LINE is a complete, stand-alone novel. Guaranteed happily-ever-after (though reaching that ending will sure be fun…and a wee bit dangerous). Enjoy!

Romance Contemporary | Romance Suspense | Romance Erotica Sensual [Self Published, On Sale: March 24, 2020, e-Book, ISBN: 9781942840732 / eISBN: 9781942840732]

This book serves up danger, spies, and mystery with a hefty helping of sexy sizzle!


YOU HAD ME AT WOLF by Terry Spear

Wolff Brothers

You Had Me at Wolf

First in a thrilling new series from USA Today bestseller Terry Spear featuring the hot, powerful Wolff brothers!

A wolf on a mission cannot be deterred…
The hot, powerful Wolff brothers have moved to the outskirts of Silver Town and opened a ski lodge. They’ve always wanted to live in a wolf-controlled area, and now they have their chance. They’re settling in for a quiet winter, when their lives suddenly become way more exciting than they’d ever planned.

Private Investigator and Gray wolf shifter Josie Grayson is hot on the trail of a dangerous criminal hiding out at the ski lodge when her partner takes ill and must leave her to pursue the mission alone. Blake Wolff steps in—he can’t resist the allure of this brilliant and focused she-wolf whose presence awakens a long dormant yearning in his heart.

As pursuit of their quarry heats up, Blake has a mission of his own…to convince Josie that there’s more to life than work…and that she’s his perfect mate.

Romance Paranormal [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: February 25, 2020, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492697756 / eISBN: 9781492697763]

She nabs the bad guy and wins the good guy!

A winter wonderland of adventure and plenty of wolf-on-wolf wooing!

Another awesome wolf romance from Terry Spear!


WICKED BITE by Jeaniene Frost

Night Rebel

Wicked Bite

In the newest Night Rebel novel, set in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress world, beautiful, daring vampire Veritas risks all to protect Ian…

Some promises are meant to be broken…

Veritas spent most of her life as a vampire Law Guardian. Now, she’s about to break every rule by secretly hunting down the dark souls that were freed in order to save Ian. But the risks are high. For if she gets caught, she could lose her job. And catching the sinister creatures might cost Veritas her own life.

Some vows are forever…

Ian’s memories might be fragmented, but this master vampire isn’t about to be left behind by the woman who entranced him, bound herself to him, and then disappeared. So what if demons, other Law Guardians, and dangerous, otherworldly forces stand against them? Come hell or high water, Ian intends to remind Veritas of the burning passion between them, because she is the only person seared on his mind—and his soul…

Romance Paranormal | Fantasy Urban [Avon, On Sale: January 28, 2020, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780062695635 / eISBN: 9780062695642]

Superlative storytelling, sexy vampires, and plenty of drama!

Frost stays true to the beloved characters of the series


BADGER TO THE BONE by Shelly Laurenston

Honey Badger Chronicles #3

Badger to the Bone

 She’s the woman he’s been hired to kidnap. But ZeZé Vargas has other ideas . . . like getting them both out of this nightmare alive. Just one problem. She’s crazy. Certifiably. Because while he’s plotting their escape, the petite Asian beauty is plotting something much more deadly . . .

Max “Kill It Again” MacKilligan has no idea what one of her own is doing with all these criminal humans until she realizes that Zé has no idea who or what he is. Or exactly how much power he truly has.

But Max is more than happy to bring this handsome jaguar shifter into her world and show him everything he’s been missing out on. A move that might be the dumbest thing she’s ever done once she realizes how far her enemies will go to wipe her out. Too bad for them Zé is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her alive . . . and honey badgers are just so damn hard to kill!

Fantasy Urban | Romance Paranormal [Kensington, On Sale: March 31, 2020, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781496714404 / eISBN: 9781496714428]

A delectable morsel of hilarity, amazing characters, and vengeance!



Cynsters Next Generation #8

The Inevitable Fall of Christopher Cynster

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to the Cynsters’ next generation with a rollicking tale of smugglers, counterfeit banknotes, and two people falling in love.

A gentleman hoping to avoid falling in love and a lady who believes love has passed her by are flung together in a race to unravel a plot to undermine the realm.

Christopher Cynster has finally accepted that to have the life he wants, he needs a wife, but before he can even think of searching for the right lady, he’s drawn into an investigation into the distribution of counterfeit banknotes.

London born and bred, Ellen Martingale is battling to preserve the fiction that her much-loved uncle, Christopher’s neighbor, still has his wits about him, but Christopher’s questions regarding nearby Goffard Hall trigger her suspicions. As her younger brother attends card parties at the Hall, she feels compelled to investigate.

While Ellen appears to be the sort of frippery female Christopher abhors, he quickly learns that, in her case, appearances are deceiving. And through the twists and turns in an investigation that grows ever more serious and urgent, he discovers how easy it is to fall in love, while Ellen learns that love hasn’t, after all, passed her by.

But then the villain steps from the shadows, and love’s strengths and vulnerabilities are put to the test—just as Christopher has always feared. Will he pass muster? Can they triumph? Or will they lose all they’ve so recently found?

Romance Historical [Savdek Management, On Sale: March 19, 2020, e-Book, ISBN: 9781925559231 / ]

A well-matched couple drawn together by mystery who inevitably, and enchantingly, fall in love!

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