What Is It About a Virgin?


When I revealed the title of my second book to one of my writing buddies, she wrote back:  “Nice.  Are virgins like the new dukes?”  Apparently I’m not the only one name-checking virgins these days.  She’d seen it on several other books, not unlike the proliferation of “dukes” of the last couple of years.


So, what gives?  What is it about a virgin?


Before I go any further, let me acknowledge that not everyone loves a virginal heroine.  In fact, some readers can’t abide them.  Certainly, virgins-as-heroines are not as thick on the ground as they were back in the day, when I read my first romance in the late 1980s.  In today’s contemporary romance, I’d venture to say that virgins are virtually nonexistent.


VirginandtheViscountCOVERBut my editor loved the title, The Virgin and the Viscount as soon as I suggested it, and as my friend said, I’m not the only author brandishing the big “V.”  So perhaps this means that there are still a few of us virgin enthusiasts out there.  Hey, I’ll admit, straight up, that one of my favorite romance tropes is a hero who believes a heroine is not a virgin, only to discover, after he deflowers her, that she is (or was).  It’s out-dated and mysoginistic, and even I had to tone down some version of this trope (spoiler alert #1) to make my 1811-set Historical match modern sensibilities (although the resulting scene is still pretty devastating, if I do say so myself).


Regardless of who knows who’s a virgin, I still consider an innocent heroine—so long as she’s full of spunk and enthusiasm and healthy curiosity—to be playful and fun and totally sexy.  She certainly offers a lot more interesting fodder for a love scene.  Every romance author approaches these scenes a little differently, but for me, they must advance the story and up the stakes for the hero and heroine.  In other words, they must be remarkable, worth spelling out in graphic detail.  And nothing makes an interlude more worthy of remark or lengthy detail than the first time, especially for my over-the-top characters.


Also, virgins are historically accurate.


Also, we were all (or still may be) virgins, so we can relate.


Also, few sexual experiences are more wildly discussed, lamented, celebrated or VirginandtheViscountCOVER(circling back) discussed than anyone’s first time.  For better or for worse, we relish dishing about this topic. I defy you to think of your best friend and claim you have not heard the story of her first time.


Also—well, maybe this is more like a “primarily”—if you know me in real life, you know that I’m an old-fashioned kind of gal, and I simply prefer the virgins  There, I said it.  Or, at least, I prefer my eager, exploratory, and totally in-love virginal heroines.  But hey—even if your not usually a fan of the virginal heroine, consider this:  the leading lady in The Virgin and the Viscount (spoiler alert #2) does not know whether she is a virgin or not.  Either way, I hope you’ll give Lady Elisabeth a try.  And just like your best friend, let’s dish.  Let me know what you think!


WOW! Ms. Michaels, for stopping by MBA&M today! Congratulations on your new release!



In the next sparkling romance in debut author Charis Michael’s Bachelor Lords of London series, a proper viscount meets his match in a beguiling virgin who can’t help but break all the rules.

The Virgin
Lady Elisabeth Hamilton-Baythes has a painful secret. At the innocent age of fifteen, she was abducted by highwaymen and sold to a brothel. After two days, a young lord discovers her and enacts a brave rescue to get her out. Now she’s a grown woman, working to save other girls from the horror she saw that night and never forgetting the young man who rescued her.

The Viscount
Bryson Courtland, Viscount Rainsleigh has overcome an abusive boyhood, neglectful parents, and a bankrupt title to be one of the wealthiest noblemen in Britain. He works tirelessly to be upright and forthright and proper to a fault. Now he requires only one thing: A proper, forthright, proper wife.

The Unraveling
When a charity event puts Lord Bryson and Lady Elisabeth face-to-face, Bryson has no memory of the wounded girl of long ago. All he can see is a perfect candidate to be his future wife. Elisabeth has never forgotten him, but she worries that the brave boy who saved her so long ago has become a rich man with an unfulfilled life.

As a whirlwind courtship reveals the truth, Bryson must accept that Elisabeth is actually a shadow from his dark past, while Elisabeth must show that love is the noblest virtue of all.




VirginandtheViscountCOVEROn April 12, 1809, Franklin “Frankie” Courtland, 6th Viscount Rainsleigh, tripped on a root in the bottom of a riverbed and drowned.  He was drunk at the time, picnicking with friends on the banks of the River Wylye.  According an account later given to the magistrate, his lordship simply fell over, bumped into a fallen log, and sank.

It was there he remained—“enjoying the cool,” or so his friends believed—until he became too heavy, too slippery, and, alas, too dead to revive.  But they did dislodge him; and after that, they claimed he floated to the surface, bobbed several times, and then gently glided downstream.  He was later found just before sunset, face down and bloated (in life, as also in death), beached on a pebble shoal near Codford.

At the time the elder Courtland was sinking to the bottom of the river, his son and heir, Bryson was hunched over a desk in the offices of his fledgling shipping company, waiting for the very moment his father would die.  It had been an exceedingly long, progressively humiliating wait.  Years long—nay, decades.

Luckily for Bryson, for his ships and his future, he was capable of doing more things at once than wait, and while his father drank and debauched his way through all respectability and life, Bryson worked.

It was an unthinkable thing for a young heir and nobleman—to “work”—but Bryson was given little choice, considering the impoverished state of the Rainsleigh crest.  He was scarcely eleven years of age when he made first foray into labor, and not so many years after, into private enterprise.  His life in work had not ceased since.  On the rare occasion that he didn’t work, he studied.

With his meager earnings (he began by punting boats on the very river in which his father later drowned), he made meager investments.  These investments reaped small gains—first in shares in the punting station; later in property along the water; later still, in other industry up and down the river.

Bryon lived modestly, worked ceaselessly, and spared only enough to pay his way through Cambridge, bring up his brother, and see him educated him, as well.   Every guinea earned was reinvested.  He repeated the process again and again, a little less meagerly each time ‘round.

By the time the elder viscount’s self-destructive lifestyle wrought his river- and drink-soaked end, Bryson had managed to accrue a small fortune, launch a company that built and sailed ships, and construct an elaborate plan for what he would do when his father finally cocked up his toes and died.

When at last that day came, Bryson had but one complaint: it took fifty-two hours for the constable to find him.  He was a viscount for two days before anyone, including himself, even knew it.

But two days was a trifle compared to a lifetime of waiting.  And on the day he learned of his inheritance—nay, the very hour—he launched his long awaited plan.

By three o’clock on the fourth day, he’d razed the rotting, reeking east wing of the family estate in Wiltshire to the ground.

Within the week, he’d extracted his mother from the west wing and shipped her and a contingent of discreet caregivers to a villa in Spain.

VirginandtheViscountCOVERWithin the month, he’d sold every stick of furniture, every remaining fork and dish, every sweat-soaked toga and opium-tinged gown.  He burned the drapes, burned the rugs, burned the tapestries.  He delivered the half-starved horses and the fighting dogs to an agricultural college and pensioned off the remaining staff.

By the six-week mark, he’d unloaded the London townhome—sold at auction to the highest bidder—and with it, the broken-down carriage, his father’s dusty arsenal, what was left of the wine stores, and all the lurid art.

It was a whirlwind evacuation, a gutting, really, and no one among polite society had ever witnessed a son or heir take such absolute control and haul away so much family or property quite so fast.

But no one among polite society was acquainted with Bryson Anders Courtland, the new Viscount Rainsleigh.

And no one understood that it was not so much an ending as it was an entirely fresh start.  Once the tearing down ceased, the rebuilding could begin. New viscountsy, new money, new respect, new life.

It was an enterprise into which Bryson threw himself like no other. Unlike all others, however, he could only do so much, one man, alone. For this, he would require another.  A partner.   Someone with whom he could work together towards a common goal.  A collaborator who emulated his precise, immaculate manner. A matriarch, discreet and pure. A paragon of propriety.  A viscountess.  A proper, perfect wife.







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Charis Michaels is thrilled to be making her debut with Avon Impulse. Prior to writing romance, she studied Journalism at Texas A&M and managed PR for a trade association. She has also worked as a tour guide at Disney World, harvested peaches on her family’s farm, and entertained children as the “Story Godmother” at birthday parties. She has lived in Texas, Florida, and London, England. She now makes her home in the Washington, D.C.-metro area.

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Twitter: @CharisMichaels



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FALLING FOR OWEN~Jennifer Ryan Coming, April 15, 2014….excerpt

Coming Soon!

April 15, 2014!!

Be sure to read the excerpt! I wanted to stop in a moment to say I LOVED FALLING FOR OWEN. Actually I’ve loved this whole series but Owen, OMG he’s hot and wonderful and watching him fall in love………well let’s just say this is a book you shouldn’t miss!!! If you’ve read it let me know what you thought, if you’ve read others by Jennifer Ryan tell me about those! Now read on to find the excerpt and more…




{Book 2 in The McBrides series}


  • Series: McBrides
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Impulse (April 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062306103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062306104



April 15, 2014

The McBrides of Fallbrook return with reformed bad boy Owen. He’ll do whatever he must to protect the woman who’s captured his heart.

Attorney by day, rancher by night Owen McBride conquered his dark past and made it his mission to help the innocent—even at the expense of a personal life. But when a client’s abusive ex-husband targets Owen and his gorgeous neighbor Claire gets caught in the crossfire, his feelings turn anything but professional. The mysterious beauty awakens something in him, and he’ll move heaven and earth to keep her safe.

Coffee shop owner Claire Walsh learned the hard way that handsome men aren’t to be trusted. Owen may be sexy as hell and determined to take care of her, but she’s reluctant to put her heart on the line. His presence in her life puts a target on her back, yet the more time she spends with him, the more she finds she can’t help falling for Owen.

Read the Excerpt!

With her gaze cast down on the pots, she didn’t see the man step out from the other side of the patio until his shadow fell over her. His eyes went as wide as hers.

“You’re not him,” he said, stumbling back, knocking over a larger potted pink miniature rose bush and falling on his ass, breaking the pot and the bush with his legs. She hoped he got stuck a dozen times, but the tiny thorns probably wouldn’t go through his dirt-smudged jeans.

In a rage, she opened the door, but held tight to the handle so she could close it again if he came too close. She yelled, “What the hell are you doing?”

“I’ll get him for this and for sleeping with my wife,” the guy slurred. Drunk and ranting, he gained his feet but stumbled again. “Where is he?” The man turned every which way, looking past her and into her dark house.


“Your lying, cheating, no-good husband.”

“How the hell should I know. I haven’t seen or heard from him in six months.”

“Liar. I saw him drive this way tonight after he fucked my wife at his office and filled her head with more bullshit lies.”

“Listen, I’m sorry if my ex is messing with your wife. I left him almost two years ago for cheating on me. Believe me, I know how you feel, but he doesn’t live here.”

“You’re lying. He drove his truck this way and stopped just outside.”

“He doesn’t drive a truck.”

“Stop lying, bitch.”

“I’m not. You have the wrong person.”

“You tell that no-good McBride he better stop seeing my wife. If he thinks a bunch of papers will ever set her free of me, he don’t know what I’m capable of, what we have. He’ll be one sorry son of a bitch. She’s mine. I keep what’s mine.”

“You don’t understand.”

“No. You don’t understand,” he said almost like a whining child. “You tell him, or I’ll make him pay with what’s his.” He pointed an ominous finger at her. “You tell him if he doesn’t leave my wife alone and let her come back to me like she wants, I’m going to hurt you before I go after him.”

Pissed off he’d just threatened her life for no good reason, she fumed. “Listen mister, I don’t know the man you’re talking about. He doesn’t live here.”

“Bullshit. Don’t lie to me, bitch.” He grabbed one of her patio chairs and threw it at the sliding glass door. She dashed sideways along the patio and the house wall, narrowly avoiding getting hit. The glass door shattered into a million tiny bits of glass beside her.

“That’s it. I’m calling the cops.” She dialed 911.

He ran to her and knocked the phone out of her hand into a pile of dirt and torn marigold roots.

“Help me!” She hoped the call went through and someone heard her.

The man pushed past her, knocking her down. She cut her bare foot on a broken shard of pottery. The man disappeared around the corner of the house. A car engine started out front. She ran the other way, down the shorter side to cut him off and, hopefully, get his license plate number to give to the cops. She ran for the driveway, but he pulled out of the trees to her left. The engine revved, and he clipped her on the side, sending her crashing to the pavement, scraping her knee and elbow before she twisted and cracked the back of her head on the driveway. Stars burst on the inside of her eyelids. She lifted her head and opened her eyes, only to see his red haloed taillights fade and disappear around the corner and onto the main road.

Bleary eyed and dizzy, she tried to plant her hands on the ground and raise herself up. She fell flat again. The world spun and shadows swam, making her close her eyes, only to open them and see nothing but blurry shapes.

Her eyes closed, her face hit the cement, and everything went black.

*To see what happens next, please visit  Cocktails and Books!*

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About the author…..

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series. Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children.

When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession for both is often revealed in the state of her home, and how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt, and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.

For more information about Jennifer and her upcoming releases, visit








So without further ado, welcome Jennifer…..

MBA&M: Please tell our readers a little about yourself?


I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband and three kids. In addition to my book addiction – both reading and writing them – I’m a complete chocohalic. You’re more likely to find me in jeans, rather than a dress. I only wear shoes when I have to. I eat cookies for breakfast with my coffee. I love country music. Though I write (and read) contemporary and romantic suspense novels, I love to read historicals.


Spring is my favorite time of year. I love to garden and have just finished planting a new garden in the backyard at our new house. I can’t wait for the bulbs to come up and bloom along with the roses and other flowers. The new apple tree is blossoming. The kids can’t wait to pick apples this fall.


MBA&M: What was your inspiration behind writing “THE RIGHT BRIDE”?


Two things sparked the idea for The Right Bride.


First, the idea that sometimes doing the right thing isn’t right for you – or anyone else in the long run. Despite our best intentions, sometimes it’s best to do what isn’t popular or expected of us, despite what others might think or want.


Second, I love the idea – and in my case the reality – that when you meet the right person for you to spend your life with, you know it. It’s a feeling and an absolute certainty that your life will be so much better with this person in it. Everyone you’ve dated before, no matter how significant they were to you, or how deeply you cared, it now pales in comparison to how you feel for this one person. I do believe in love at first sight. It starts with a spark – that little something we see in another that makes our heart stutter and the adrenaline rush when we meet them and think, “I want to get to know them better.”


MBA&M: Which character was your favorite to write and which was your hardest? Why?


Marti was my favorite to write because she’s so complex. She’s capable of so much love and understanding and forgiveness. At the same time, she’s strong enough to face life’s challenges and the pain of losing the people closest to her. I also love the mother she is to Emma. She goes out of her way to make Emma feel loved, protected, and important and to always remember that fairytales can come true.


While I love Cameron and his sense of honesty and generosity, he was more difficult to write. Balancing his need to do the right thing for Shelly and his unborn child with his overwhelming love for Marti was very tricky. Everyone knows he belongs with Marti, but Cameron’s convictions are a constant battle for him. He wants to do right by everyone, especially his children, so he’s willing to live without the woman he loves to make his children happy. You can’t fault him for that, but sometimes he’s his own worst enemy. Sometimes as parents we think sacrificing our happiness for theirs will be in their best interests, but kids know when their parents aren’t happy and it affects them. Sometimes you have to do what makes you happy, so you can pass that happiness on to your kids.


MBA&M: Which scene was your favorite?


The scene with Marty and Emma dressed in golden gowns having a milkshake tea party on the dining room table beneath a grand chandelier.  I love Marti’s sense of whimsy and the way she engages Emma’s imagination, making her feel special. It’s one of those moments in life kids remember.


MBA&M: Now, let’s talk secondary characters: Who was your favorite? And do you give them a story of their own?


I have a special place in my heart for FBI agent, Sam Turner, Book 2 – Lucky Like Us. He’s got this way about him. He doesn’t let Cameron get away with anything. He gets a thrill out of seeing each of the heroines in all the books naked at one point or another, pissing off all our heroes. It’s all in good fun.


Tyler, Sam’s FBI partner, makes an appearance at the end of the book to razz Cameron about possibly stealing Marti from him. Again, all in good fun, because Tyler’s got a psychic haunting him with cryptic phone calls and a sexy voice he can’t get out of his head. They will finally meet again in Book 4.


MBA&M: If “The Right Bride” where to become a movie, who would play your hero/heroine and who would play the secondary characters?


This one isn’t easy for me because I see each of them in my head as their own people. I never picture any of my characters as actors, though I’m a huge movie and TV fan.


I think Olivia Wilde or Blake Lively would be great as Marti. Both are striking women with the strength to pull off Marti’s resolve, but also show her depth of love and compassion.


Ryan Gosling would make a great, brooding Cameron.


Hugh Jackman would make a great Jack and Sam. He’d be great to take on these two identical twins who lead very different lives.


Jessica Chastain for Shelly – the gold-digging, conniving woman using Cameron for his wealth and status. I think she could really make people love and hate Shelly.



MBA&M: What are some of the things in life you enjoy most?


My husband and kids. We do everything together.


Hanging with my writer friends. I love being a part of a group of women so dedicated to their craft and art and so willing to share their time and knowledge with everyone else. Rogue writers rule!


Simple things, like sitting in the garden in the sunshine reading a book. Shopping trips with my mom. Watching my kids play in the snow, or at the lake, or swimming in the backyard together. They’re so close to each other and I love that.


MBA&M: Which author’s writing would you say your writing most resembles?


I admire writers like Nora Roberts, Sharon Sala, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, and Elizabeth Lowell. While I may not be in their league, I hope I’ve created unique stories and characters that readers feel like they connect with and love just like we’ve fallen in love with the stories and characters those amazing writers created.


MBA&M: Three words to describe “The Right Bride”?


Heartwarming. Intriguing. Sexy.


MBA&M: What is next on your agenda?


All I Want for Christmas is a Cowboy. No, that isn’t my Christmas list. It’s an anthology I’m doing with Emma Cane and Katie Lane for Avon due out 12/10/13.


Morgan’s Gift – Book 4: The Hunted series is complete. I’m waiting to find out if Avon will publish it and when.


I also have three other series I’m working on with the first book in each complete.


I’m a writer, I write all the time and always have a project in the works.  


MBA&M: Please let our readers know where they can connect to you and where they may purchase “The Right Bride”?


The Hunted Series – Saved by the Rancher, Lucky Like Us, and The Right Bride can all be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and anywhere ebooks are sold.


For more information about me and upcoming releases, please visit my website –

Follow me on twitter @JenRyan_author

Facebook –

Thank you,Jennifer! What a pleasure to have you stop by for a quick visit with us and our readers today!


*From the publisher*

The Right Bride

Book Three: The Hunted Series

By Jennifer Ryan

ISBN: 9780062271341; ISBN10: 0062271342; Imprint: Avon Impulse ; On Sale: 4/30/2013; Format: eBook; Trimsize: ; Pages: 0; $1.99; Ages: 18 and Up; BISAC1:FIC027110; BISAC2:FIC027020

Book Description

High-powered businessman Cameron Shaw doesn’t believe in love—until he falls head over heels for beautiful, passionate, and intensely private Martina. She’s perfect in so many ways, immediately bonding with his little girl. Martina could be his future bride and a delightful stepmother … if only Cameron weren’t blinded by his belief that Shelly, the gold-digging woman he’s promised to marry, is pregnant with his child.

No matter how much his friends protest his upcoming marriage to Shelly, Cameron knows he has a duty to his children, so he’s determined to see it through.

Will he find out in time that Shelly’s lying and Marti’s the one who’s actually carrying his child? It’ll come down to the day of his wedding. After choosing Shelly over Marti at every turn, will he convince Marti she’s his world and the only woman he wants?

 On Sale: 4/30/2013
 Formats:     eBook
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