Pitch Contest With Harlequin Presents Editors Carly Byrne and Pippa Roscoe

PITCH CONTEST NOW CLOSED

Winners Announced Here!

 

The Contemporary Romance Writers Chapter is thrilled to have Carly Byrne, and Pippa Roscoe, editors from Harlequin Mills & Boon’s London Office’s Harlequin Presents team, here today to share their expertise on contemporary romance and consider YOUR pitches as part of our series of pitch contests! Instructions on the pitch contest are below, but first please pull up a chair and get a pen and paper, because you’re going to want to take notes on the awesome and useful advice  has laid out here for writers at all levels.

 

INTERVIEW

~ Interview by Abigail Owen

CR: Can you share what lines, imprints, or genres you edit? 

CB and PR: We acquire primarily for Harlequin Presents, Romance, Historical and Medical series.  However, for submissions for other genres that show potential, we will direct them to other teams within Harlequin where appropriate.

CR: Is there anything about a story itself likely to turn you off on a manuscript, even if the mechanics are quite good?

CB and RP: feeling forced and not authentic.

CR: What’s the best and worst part of your editing/agenting job?

CB and RP: best part is making ‘The Call’ to a new author and then working with authors on building their careers.

Not sure there is a worst part – we love our jobs!

CR: Before acquisition, how important is a writer’s platform to you? To publishing houses?

CB and PR: This can be a bonus but certainly isn’t a requirement and won’t impact our decision to acquire an author.  We offer lots of support for new authors on building their brand so this is something they can develop once they are working with us.

CR: Before acquisition, how important is a writer’s platform to you? To publishing houses?

CB and RP: this can be a bonus but certainly isn’t a requirement and won’t impact our decision to acquire an author.  We offer lots of support for new authors on building their brand so this is something they can develop once they are working with us.

CR: Can you offer some encouraging words of advice to aspiring authors who haven’t received their first contract yet?

CB and PR: Don’t give up!  See revisions as an opportunity to learn and make your strong stronger, rather than as rejection.

CR: What is on your wish list of story types to acquire?

CB and PR: New, exotic and glamorous destinations, uber alpha males, kick-ass female surgeon (Medical Romance), 21st century fairytales…

CR: Thanks for agreeing to do a pitch contest today! What genres, subgenres, and/or word counts are you open to considering at this time?

CB and RP: UK acquired series (Presents, Romance, Historical and Medical). Contemporary romances of 50,000 words and Historical romances of 75 000 words.

 

About Carly Byrne and Pippa Roscoe

Carly ByrneCarly Byrne works in Harlequin Mills & Boon’s London office as Editor on the Harlequin Presents team, as well as acquiring for the other series.

Carly joined Harlequin after completing an MA in Popular Literature, and what could be more popular than Harlequin romances!  A diehard fan of everything romantic, with a particular penchant for a rugged hero in a Stetson(!), Carly can’t believe she actually gets to read romances for a living!

Pippa Roscoe

 

Pippa Roscoe is the Associate Editor for Harlequin Presents who is so utterly inspired by the amazing love stories she devours, she has been known on occasion to ride the elevator rather than take the stairs, to hopefully one day just ‘happen’ to get stuck there with a delicious tycoon of her own. Her search is still on going, so in the meantime, she’ll fall in love each day with a new Presents hero written by our fabulous authors.

After a four year dalliance in TV, she found her way to Harlequin and the home of happy ever afters. Working with authors across each of the UK acquired series, she considers herself to have the best job in the world!

 

STAR YOUR STORY WITH A BANG!

Wondering where to start?  Harlequin Editors Carly Byrne and Pippa Roscoe have some top tips on how to start your story with a bang and bring your hero and heroine together in a cute not clichéd way! 

Starting your story can either be the most intimidating moment, or the most exciting – or even a strange combination of the two!

First of all you have to get over the self-doubt, the negative voice that is poking and prodding and chipping away at the burning desire to put pen to paper. And then you have what seems an almost impossible mountain to climb. But remember all good writers have what it takes to conquer this mountain – dedication, determination, and perhaps just a little bit of crazy (in a good way!) It’s not easy, but if it was then it wouldn’t be worth it!

However you approach that blank computer screen, whether its with a firm idea, an image or moment in your head that kick starts it all, or whether you need to write a few chapters, get to know your characters, get some of their back grounds on to the page before you start feeling that excitement… it doesn’t always have to make the final cut.

So once you have your story in place, go back to the beginning. Look at the first line, look at the first page and take a temperature check…

Is it going to be a 90 degrees scorcher of an opening, passionate, explosive, shocking?

Or is it going to be stormy ‘batten down the hatches’ kind of opening, intriguing, dark and powerful?

Or perhaps is it a little more lukewarm shoulder shrug of a day, laden with internal thoughts as characters ponder their rather unsatisfying exes on their way to work for yet another dreary day in the office?

If you don’t need sunscreen or an umbrella, you might want to take another look at the opening to make sure that it packs the punch that it needs to. So here are some good tips on how to make the start of your story as ‘grab-your-reader-by-the-throat’ as possible.

First Lines: ‘You’re fired.’ Or ‘Would you like to explain what you are doing in bed with my fiancé?’ Think about a line of dialogue that will immediately immerse your reader straight into the heart of the action. Something that packs a real punch.

Bringing the characters together asap: What if the hero is the boss who has literally just fired the heroine? Or the fiancé who has just been caught with another woman? The first meet/or cute meet is always tricky, but doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. There are more options than lifts, funerals, car crashes, on a girly night out – not to say that these don’t work. They do! And well! But think about what makes these characters unique, what ties them together, and that will help you find the right moment to bring them together.

Emotionally: Extreme emotions translate so beautifully onto the page so how about opening at either the worst or highest point in your characters’ lives so far? Emotions drive action, action drives pace and readers do love pace!

Make an impression! Whether it’s a line of dialogue that will make people laugh, or an opening that sees the hero about to jump from a plane… high drama, humour, or think of how your favourite books start. And if you can’t? Take a look at the opening page of any book on your shelf (or on your EReader!). Make notes! See what you’re favourite authors do.

If you can work these things into your opening, the outlook will be sunny!

Now we’d like to give you the opportunity to put these top tips into action!  Put the first 200 words of your story in the comments section below and the 5 openings that ‘grab-us-by-the-throat’ will be invited to send us the first three chapters of their story and will quickly receive personalised feedback.

You have the next two days to add your opening to the comments at the bottom of this blog.  On Friday 19th June the winners will be announced and given 48 hours to submit their partial manuscript (synopsis and opening chapters) to us.  Personal, written feedback will then be sent to each winner on Tuesday 23rd June.

In your pitch please include the following: author name, book title, genre/series, completed word count, 100 word blurb and the first 200 words of the manuscript.

We’ll have our sunscreen and umbrellas at the ready as we eagerly wait to be blown away by the opening of your story! 

 

PITCH CONTEST

Authors are invited to submit the below for consideration. Also feel free to post general questions, but please do so in a separate post from your pitch submission. The contest will open  6/17 at 6:00 am EST and close at 11:59pm EST 6/18 – pitches submitted after this time will not be entered. Works being pitched must be completed and ready for submission.

Five pitches will be selected and announced on 6/19. Winners will have 48 hours to submit requested materials (synopsis and first three chapters).

June 23rd each of the 5 finalists will receive a personalized response and critique of their work.

This pitch contest is open to everyone – members or non-members. But we invite non-members to consider joining our chapter so you don’t miss out on other exciting events and opportunities!

Please submit your pitch for Carly’s & Pippa’s consideration in the following format.

  • Author’s Name:
  • Book Title:
  • Genre:
  • Word Count:
  • Blurb (Maximum 200-Words):
  • 1st 200 Words of the MS:
  • If your pitch is for a Harlequin line/imprint other than Presents, please indicate which one.
*Note: We did adjust the blurb and MS excerpt word count as some websites advertising this contest flip flopped the numbers. To be fair, we’re doing the max word count listed for both between the websites (200 words).

Submissions must be for completed manuscripts only and won’t be considered if they don’t meet the guidelines. Winners will be announced on 6/19 so check back! And best of luck to everyone!

88 thoughts on “Pitch Contest With Harlequin Presents Editors Carly Byrne and Pippa Roscoe”

  1. Contemporary Romance Writers Contest
    June 24th, 2015

    Author’s Name: Sherri Lupton Hollister
    Book Title: Temporary Groom
    Book Genre: Light Romantic Suspense
    Book Word Count: 85 K
    Blurb: 200 words maximum

    Motorcycle mechanic, Jimmy Lee Blake is honeymooning alone after being left at the altar. The last thing he wants is more attention. Notorious in their home town, Jimmy has spent most of his life as a murder suspect since the real killer was never caught.

    Lou Rain is being honored at a writer’s conference in Cancun for romance novels she wrote based on Jimmy’s life. With movie options in negotiation, the media pounces. Jimmy’s name is linked with Lou’s when he is outed as the hero, Holt Mason.

    To avoid the paparazzi, Jimmy and Lou take off on a Mayan Adventure and make a little wager. The movie option the ante. Stakes are high as Jimmy fears a movie will drag up the past and he will no longer be isolated to small town gossip.

    For Lou, it’s a chance of a life time, to turn her book into a movie. Will she sacrifice all she’s achieved for a vacation romance? The odds of finding true love on the rebound are stacked against them.

    Who will win the bet? Who will make the ultimate sacrifice? What will happen once they are back in North Carolina?

    First 100 words:

    Louise Rainfield ignores the intoxicated man slumped over the baggage cart, refusing to make eye contact. “Not my problem,” she insists reaching for her luggage. But Jimmy Lee Blake is difficult to overlook with his tee shirt stretched across his broad chest, the hem riding up to reveal well-cut abs and a line of brown hair that has Lou’s eye drifting to his fly. “Shit, don’t you get any ideas. Just keep moving.” But she couldn’t resist one more look at the man who’s haunted her fantasies for half her life. Even shit-faced he was worth a second look. “Damn!”

  2. Pingback: Harlequin Presents Pitch Contest Results! | Contemporary Romance

  3. Author’s Name: Laura Ward and Christine Manzari
    Book Title: The Pledge
    Book Genre: New Adult Romance:
    Book Word Count (completed): 100,000

    BLURB:
    Taren needs a do-over. She’s decided the best way to put the high school bullies behind her is to pledge a Taylor-Swift-lip-syncing, beer-guzzling, sorority. Sisterhood helps Taren find the acceptance she’s always craved, but not the love she needs.

    Alec wants freedom. To escape his father’s iron fist and unrealistic expectations, he pledges a campus acrobatics club where he finds that drugs and alcohol aren’t the only ways to get high. His addiction to danger helps him gain his independence, but it comes at a heavy price.

    When the two cross paths, Alec fears his undeniable attraction to the party girl just might threaten everything he’s worked so hard to earn. Taren hasn’t forgotten that Alec humiliated her back in high school, but she also can’t deny the chemistry they share.

    Alec and Taren have nothing in common, but fate is bound and determined to bring them together. They know falling in love is a risk, and yet it’s too hard to ignore. When their worlds clash and they both end up suffering, will they fight to stay together? Or are some pledges too hard to keep?

    FIRST 200 WORDS OF THE MS:

    “Hello ladies!” A booming voice echoed down the dormitory hallway. Denton, an eight-story, concrete block of a building, would be my home-away-from-home for the next year.

    Popping her head out of our minuscule closet, my roommate, Alexis, blew a strand of blonde hair away from her eyes. “What on earth?” She shot me a questioning look.

    I shrugged and peeked out our door.

    “Now this is what I’m talking about!” A guy with perfectly styled, gelled hair called out with a laugh. He opened up his arms and curled his fingers in a come-hither motion. “Come to Daddy!”

    My mouth fell open. A group of guys strolled down the hall in their cargo shorts and trendy T-shirts as if they owned the place. They were definitely not freshman.

    Their leader headed toward me with a cocky swagger. A whistle hung from his neck. I bit back a smile as Aunt Claire’s departing words of wisdom popped into my head. Have fun and get into trouble. I chewed on my lower lip. I was clueless in those departments, but something told me I was about to be schooled in both of them.

    Tweeeeeeetttt! The guy in front blew the whistle and

  4. Nikki Woolfolk
    #Joystick (previously titled: Now That Your Joystick’s Broke)
    Contemporary Romance
    60,000 words
    Blurb:

    Jennifer “Vivi” Villette, a well-known Gamer/Game Developer, is forced to stay in her nerdy best friend’s tiny apartment after a jilted online admirer exposes her home address and discredits her name with false criminal accusations to millions on social media.

    But when her fraternal twin Sebastian, whom she resembles physically, is stuck in another country and cannot start his new computer job at Illyria Corp., Vivi takes his place, a la Twelfth Night. Disguised as a he, her plan starts to get complicated when she begins to fall for Oliver, the “nerd hot” head of the cyber security department.

    Determined to expose the jilted online admirer and clear her name, Vivi’s romantic life becomes more tangled as she tries to figure out a way to introduce her true female self to Oliver outside of work, while fending off the affections of a female co-worker that mistakes Vivi for Sebastian.

    With intermingling love affairs gone haywire, Vivi’s drive to expose the evil hacker’s activities, while keeping her alter ego, Sebastian, out of trouble may result in Vivi hurting Oliver, the only nerd that has her heart.

    ***

    First 200 words of the manuscript:

    “I’m so full of Hulk rage that I want to flip a table,” Jennifer Villette threw down her Magic the Gathering cards in frustration.
    “Vivi, no one would blame you. I mean, being forced to live in this studio apartment with Tate is enough to put anyone in rage mode,” a voice said from the kitchen.
    Jennifer Tatum, Tate to her friends, continued to stare at her cards. “I can hear you, ya know?”
    Vivi picked up her cards and shuffled them. “If I was a guy none of this would have happened. For once I’d like to have it as easy as they do.”
    Vivi’s two of the three weekly card players sipped their Sangria’s and nodded in agreement. Vivi ranted with a new fervor.
    “Nothing is more humiliating than some butthurt guy, a troll, winning the internet because I shot down his sexist filled attempt at asking me out!”
    Tate slid a tumbler full of Sangria towards Vivi. “You gonna keep bitchin’ or are you gonna play?”
    Vivi took a sip, then placed one card down in the middle of the table—the powerful flying creature Aegis Angel who obliterates the competition.
    Tate groaned. “Looks like that internet troll hasn’t diminished you ability to kick my ass.”

  5. Author: Claudia Shelton
    Title: Freedom and Magnolias
    Genre: Contemporary Romance w/Suspense Elements
    Word Count: 85,000 words
    Line: Harlequin HQN

    BLURB:

    CIA operative Reese Trenton is a solitary man focused on his heritage of service to the US government. When a woman in a red Jeep almost runs him down, he finds himself longing for a family, but he’s sworn to never bring a child into his life of danger or hear a woman cry as he leaves on a mission. After a devastating betrayal by her ex-husband, Maggie Donahue wants a nine-to-five man who entrusts all aspects of his life with her. So when she meets a man possessing most of her criteria, except for a cloud of secrecy she doesn’t understand and an edge she can’t penetrate, she find herself doubting her own priorities in life. Once they trust each other the future should hold happiness, but when his past targets her he realizes he’ll always carry the taint of danger just like his dad had done before he was killed on assignment. Reese and Maggie’s only hope for a happy ending is if she realizes a man doesn’t have to walk in the front door every night to love you, and he has to face the true reason he chose the life of danger in the first place.

    FIRST 200 WORDS:

    CIA Agent Reese Trenton knew he hadn’t stumbled. Someone had shoved him. Not a jostle or an accident. He’d been shoved hard and on target out into traffic. If the woman driving the red Jeep hadn’t had such quick reflexes, he’d be pushing up clover in Arlington.

    Wouldn’t that have been something? Stateside after dodging bullets halfway around the world for the past eight months, only to be run down on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. The other agents would have had a field day with that one at his funeral.

    His last mission in the Middle East had done a job on his mind, body, too. So he’d spent the last two days enjoying the comfort of clean sheets, room service and uninterrupted sleep. But letting himself think he was safe just because he was back in the USA had nearly been a life-changing mistake.

    He pushed headquarters’ number on his phone, then waited for the message center. “This is Reese. Thought you might want to know, someone just tried to take me out.”

    His boss clicked in to the recorder system. “In Chicago?”

    “Yeah. Who’s got me in their crosshairs this time?”

    *****Thank you so much for the opportunity to pitch.*****

  6. Author’s Name: Lauren Noel
    Book Title: Disenchanted
    Genre: Paranormal Romance (Targeting Harlequin Nocturne)
    Word Count: 78,000

    Blurb:
    Mara Gable grew up knowing the love and support of her adoptive parents. What she didn’t know was who she was, or more accurately, what she was. She longed for normalcy, but when her powers surge to the surface she lacks the ability to control them. The only chance she has at being normal is to find her birth parents. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, a magical mishap has Mara running into a store for assistance. She finds Galen Brewer. With Galen, Mara begins to learn about passion, love, and herself. If only she could share her secret with him…
    Galen has a secret of his own. As a half-breed sorcerer, he lives in a world where his very existence is taboo. Bitter over his mother’s murder, Galen vows revenge, but how will he handle the knowledge that his mother sacrificed herself for his one shot at true love? Galen’s quest for revenge brings him to Alexander Warren, a powerful sorcerer, traitor to his kind, murderer, and Mara’s biological father. Alexander is a threat to them all and now Galen must decide which is more important, avenging his mother or saving the woman he loves.

    1st 200 Words:
    Mara knew that she had to tell her parents, and she wasn’t making her situation any easier by missing out on much needed sleep.
    Parked in front of the TV for hours, sinking ever deeper into her overly soft couch, she sought comfort from the throw pillow she hugged to her chest. Caught up in her thoughts, she paid little attention to the TV until she heard the all too familiar theme song from “Bewitched”. Mara rolled her eyes as she turned it off. The sitcom had obviously been someone’s idea of a joke. A sick taunt. Like a girl could have everything she wanted or needed with a snap of the fingers, let alone a wiggle of the nose. Well, she did not find it amusing.
    These late night TV marathons had to stop. Her eyes suffered from a constant tingle that only days of sleep could remedy. Unfortunately, when her body signaled that it was time for bed, her brain circled around her dilemma, refusing to give her the peace she needed for sleep to come easily. So, here she sat, night after night wearing herself down into a perpetual state of exhaustion.

  7. Author: C.E. Sawyer
    Title: Arizona Hearts
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 72K

    First 200 Words
    When a snake sheds their skin for the first time, does the snake know it is changing, and turning into something new? How I wish I could leave my old self behind as gracefully as a snake…

    Beads of sweat formed around my hairline, which did nothing to help my foul mood. I looked out the window of the cramped white passenger van, squished shoulder to shoulder, heading toward the middle of nowhere Arizona. Colossal sunglasses with wide lenses brushed the top of my lips, effectively hiding my raccoon eyes, and shielding the pool of tears that threatened to fall at any moment. Everyone in the van was headed to the same place, Desert Hills Resort, but I had a feeling I was going there for a different reason. While they talked animatedly, I stared out the window in silence. I purposely angled my body away from the rest, to not encourage idle chatter or human interaction. I wanted to take in these new surroundings in silence, and I didn’t want to pretend to be interested in conversation. I knew I wasn’t like the rest of them, with their easy smiles and perky eyes, I was the broken one.

    Blurb
    Penelope Pope is anything but the poster child for happiness. Trudging through a messy divorce that left her heartbroken, and losing her self-identity in the aftermath, she realizes she has to make a change. To create a fresh start she takes a sabbatical from her teaching job to travel across the country to work at a popular wellness resort and spa. When she arrives, the Arizona surroundings and staff have more of an emotional impact on Penelope than she would like to admit, and she finds the new environment is changing her in ways she didn’t think were possible. While trying to redefine life on her own, family turmoil bubbles to the surface creating unexpected outcomes for Penelope as she navigates a complicated web of secrets, and betrayal. A mysterious mechanic with a complex past makes life a little more complicated for Penelope, causing her to wrestle with what she is willing to risk to heal and love again. Arizona Hearts takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery, where loving and losing can lead to a new and hopeful beginning.

  8. Danielle Doolittle

    Author: Danielle Doolittle
    Title: For Keeps
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 53000

    BLURB:

    To save her stubborn brother’s failing business, Hannah Rowen needs cash. Fast. And she knows just how to get it when a new reality TV advertises for couples to compete in a cut-throat elimination game designed to test the strength of their bodies and relationships. Easy enough. The hard part will be convincing her brother’s best friend to pretend to be her fiance long enough for them to win the $500,000 prize.

    Gavin Williams was warned away from Hannah years ago and was determined to stick to his promise no matter what his body and heart were telling him. When Hannah comes begging for his help he thinks he can play the part and still keep the distance he’s always maintained between them. A strategy that proves impossible when they’re thrown together for national television. He can’t keep denying himself and plans to use the game to show Hannah just how right they are together. But winning the heart of a woman is hard with the world watching and devious couples are out to win the money at any cost.

    FIRST 200 WORDS:

    “Please. Please. Please.” Hannah Rowen stood in his doorway, foot firmly wedged in the jam, preventing him from slamming the door in her face. Smart girl. “Come on Gav.”

    “I don’t know any more ways to tell you no, but if you hang on a sec I’ll pull up a translator on my phone and we can see if we hit one you understand.” Gavin crossed his arms over his chest and glared down at the woman who’d been the bane of his existence for the past fifteen years.

    “Oh come on. Pllleeeeaaasseeee.” He should have known the glare wouldn’t work. It never worked. When Hannah got in into her pretty little head that she wanted something, nothing would stand in her way. Nothing.

    “Aren’t you a little old for whining?” Gavin turned around and walked deeper into his apartment, leaving Hannah to close the door. It wasn’t like she was going anywhere any time soon. Might as well get comfortable while she pled her case.

    Gavin settled onto the couch and watched the blonde pace. For the life of him he couldn’t fathom how so much terror inspiring tunnel vision could be packed into such a tiny package.

  9. I JUST REALIZED THE FIRST PART (NAME, TITLE, ETC.) GOT CUT OFF IN MY ORIGINAL POSTING. APOLOGIES.

    Author’s name: Jane Colt
    Title: Runaway Bridesmaid
    Genre: Erotic romance (Harlequin Blaze)
    Word count: 50,000

    Champagne, hot best man, and a sex tape? OH NO!

    Normally shy and reserved Emily Wilkins enjoys a night of wild sex with the drop dead gorgeous best man at her best friend’s wedding in Sin City. Mortified that the champagne transformed her into such a ‘slutbunny,’ she sneaks out of his bed in the middle of the night and rushes to the airport.

    Kirk Howard is heartbroken. He’s fallen in love with sweet, intelligent (and sexy) Emily, and he’s certain that—deep inside—she feels the same for him.

    A few years later, Fate gives the couple a second chance when their jobs bring them together. Still embarrassed over their night of debauchery, Emily pretends they’ve never met. Kirk plays along, hoping to win her over. She sees what a good guy he really is and starts to melt. But then she discovers he’s brought a bottle of the champagne that was her undoing and some pictures from the sex tape they’d made—which he’d promised to destroy. She concludes that ‘nice guy’ Kirk is just an act to give him another shot at ‘DTF Emily.’ Furious, she bolts again.

    Can Kirk explain the truth and win her back?

    *

    “Seriously? You’re getting married in Las Vegas! Are you kidding? ‘Sin City.’ Smoke filled casinos. Neon lights everywhere. Wedding chapels where you’re married by an Elvis impersonator! And that slogan: ‘Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’ Sure, it stays there—except for the pictures that end up on the internet!”

    “Come on, Em. Be fair.” Megan wagged her finger at her best friend courtesy of Skype. “You’ve never even been to Vegas. I told you I found the most romantic hotel on the planet. You’re my Maid of Honor. Trust me.”

    “Fair enough,” Emily conceded with a nod, smiling as she leaned in toward the screen. “I can tell how excited you are. I won’t be a wet blanket. I just want your wedding to be perfect—just like you’ve always dreamed. I suppose since you and Darryl decided only a month ago to get married, you were lucky to find a decent place. I’m thrilled for you. I really am. But you guys are crazy! Planning a wedding is a huge deal.”

    “It is, but my Mom loves the idea. She and my Dad got married in front of a JP because they had so little money.”

  10. Author: Kathleen Watson
    Title: Fallen Stars
    Genre: Romantic Suspense
    Word count: 51855
    Blurb: Memphis Detective Remi Devereaux searches for the truth after a brutal homicide leaves two families dead and one little girl a target. But he may not like the truth, and he definitely doesn’t like its source.
    Aurora Starr refuses to be cowed by the cynics and skeptics that call her a scam artist. She’s hid from the world the last eight years but her connection to a frightened child may be the only thing keeping a ruthless killer at bay.
    When the killer comes after Aurora, Remi is forced to choose: follow in the evidence that leads him one way, or follow the woman that challenges everything he believes.
    Line: Romantic Suspense
    1st 200:
    Aurora Starr talked to the dead.
    And despite what people might think, the dead were not quiet.
    Help me.
    The fear-filled words stole Aurora’s breath with the skilled fingers of a kleptomaniac. She stumbled beneath the sudden loss of air, letting go of the child’s glove she clutched with shaking fingers inside her pocket.
    She should know better than anyone to listen to her intuition. The name Aurora Starr practically meant intuition. Of course, it also meant fraud. Thanks for that, dad. And even though she wore her good leather gloves, she knew better than to pick up something on the sidewalk. A child’s glove. Some things should be safe.
    She shoved aside the nausea and pressed her internal shields outward but the voice, nearly drained of life, persisted. How much longer could they hold on? How much longer did she have to save them?
    Aurora stood frozen outside of Evergreen Middle School, watching the cars zip past the intersection of McLean and North Parkway on this blustery Memphis day. Behind her, the high pitched squeals of children’s laughter filled in the gaps between the tires whooshing by on the wet pavement and the incessant pounding of her heart.
    With trembling hands, she shoved the damp purple glove deeper in her pocket and headed back to her house rather than deal with the school officials. It would be useless. People tended not to believe you when you told them the unthinkable. Even when you had a reputation for knowing the unthinkable.
    Damn. Guilt dovetailed on the guilt building inside of her.

  11. Shirley Goldberg

    Book Title: Eat Your Heart Out
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 90,000
    Line: Harlequin HQN

    BLURB: 200 words
    Dana’s passions are teaching and eating chocolate, deep dark and nutty, despite her sweetie’s disapproval. Then her beloved school principal has a heart attack and is replaced by a micromanaging hound dog. When Dana’s sweetie dumps her on Facebook and becomes vice principal at her school, she launches her own search for a vice principalship and turns to Neal, a colleague and former fatty, whose avoidance of sweets doesn’t include her. Nothing, not the threat of a bad performance review, the charmer she falls for on the Internet, nor Neal—sweet, supportive, and hot—will change Dana’s mind. One ex-boyfriend teacher is enough.

    Neal, actor turned teacher, has shed 100 pounds, a new man on the outside. He wants more than anything to be normal, but not overeating is a daily challenge. Neal, attracted to Dana, but frustrated and fearing the risks, resorts to Internet dating, hoping she’ll come around. Neal confronts his worst fears about his former self when the son he never knew he had appears at his door—weighing in at 300 pounds.

    Neal is ready to convince Dana that a relationship with him would be a piece of cake.

    FIRST 200 WORDS:

    I’m not a drive-by-his-house kind of girl. Nope, I’m more the give-him-the-finger type. So, nix the phone calls, no drunk dialing, no texting or emailing, and certainly no cruising by his school.
    Too late. I’d made the turn automatically−old habits and all that. The playing field to the side was deserted except for an old woman in baggy sweats walking her dog. I braked, squinted up at the second floor window, stomach grinding. The stolid brick building wore a resolute, fixed expression. Daylight Saving Time is not a friend to amateur detectives. Maybe Jerry was setting up his classroom, or shooting hoops in the gym with the kids. Forty-nine years old and he moved like a teenager. Jerrold Slaughter, a marvel with kids, less marvelous in a relationship. Made me want to throw up.
    I extended my middle finger, pumping it twice for a double flick of the bird. “Take that. Compliments of Dana Narvana.” The adolescent tone in my voice sounded out of whack even to my own juvenile-attuned ears. I accelerated past the school and stopped the car. Stalker, my new official title. I’ve reached a new personal low.

  12. • Author’s Name: Xandra James
    • Book Title: The Temporary Marriage Deal
    • Genre: Contemporary romance
    • Word Count: 50,000
    • Line: Medical

    Thank you for the opportunity to pitch!

    Blurb:

    All it took was a little white lie to potentially ruin everything. And now, neurosurgeon Molly Jackson is desperate…for a husband. Not something she’d thought she’d ever admit. But with an offer of employment with one of the oldest and most prestigious private clinics in London, she’d do anything to pay for her mother’s continued care. Even marry a gorgeous stranger.

    Ryan Ferguson—golfer and tabloid playboy—is a drowning man. Being a single parent to a daughter he never knew he had is hard. With things taking a turn for the worst with his daughter’s health, he knows he needs specialist help. So when Sabrina’s beautiful doctor takes him into a storeroom and proposes, he finds he’s actually considering her offer. Even if years ago he vowed he’d never marry.

    Can this temporary arrangement be a forever kind of deal or will lies bring both their worlds crashing down around them.

    First 200 words:

    Molly Jackson’s stress headache worsened as she scanned the offer of employment she’d received three hours previously.
    It was perfect. Everything she’d worked for. Except… she shook her head. A long dark curl popped out of her top-knot and itched at her cheek. Quickly pushing it behind her ear to join the other escapees, she placed her phone securely back into her left pocket while retrieving her dinner out of the right.
    As she grabbed some alone time at the entrance to the A&E department of the Greenfields hospital, the drizzling rain gently soaked through her inappropriate jacket. Un-wrapping her chocolate bar, she contemplated her dilemma.
    She was stuck in quicksand of her own making, simply because she hadn’t accepted Troy’s proposal four years ago.
    “Dr Dishy was four years ago?” Molly rubbed her aching temple. There must be a solution. This raise in pay would fix everything
    Blue flashing lights filled her gaze then, as an ambulance parked and doors opened. Blinking, she shook her personal woes away, and was instantly back in work mode, stashing the uneaten snack into her pocket for later.
    A large man appeared in front of her, holding a small girl in his arms.

  13. Margaret McIsaac

    •Author’s Name: Margaret McIsaac
    •Book Title: Temporary Princess
    •Genre: Contemporary Romance
    •Word Count: 50,000
    •Blurb (Maximum 200-Words): Heartbroken Justine Swan has just been dumped by her fiancé and is marrying the Prince of Taralia in place of her older, disgraced sister. The Prince is marrying her to avoid a scandal that could bring down an already shaky monarchy. An arranged marriage to Justine that runs out after one year, but the Prince is secretly in love with her and determined to make their marriage permanent. Will Justine be able to resist his charms and escape with her heart intact?
    •1st 200 Words of the MS:Dawn was breaking over the tiny kingdom of Taralia.
    If Justine had still been in New York, she would have been gulping down her breakfast while she shoved her arms into her jacket, in a mad rush not to be late for work. But on this morning she watched the growing light of day from a different angle, in a different place.
    She stood, in the rented suite of rooms, with her cheek pressed against the dewy coldness of the mist covered window looking down on the quiet of a city, she was now to call her home.
    It was a small town to her, but to the people who lived in it – the Taralian’s, it was their capital city and far bigger than any of the other towns and villages scattered about the hexagonal shaped kingdom, or so she had heard. She wondered how many other guests were watching as she did, waiting for the sun to touch the distant hills that would signal the start of a day she dreaded. And those guests who would share this day with her, did they dread it as much as she did, or did they wish for it only to be over so they could return back to their daily routine. She wished she could do the same.

    •If your pitch is for a Harlequin line/imprint other than Presents, please indicate which one.

  14. Michelle Jo Quinn

    Author Name: Michelle Jo Quinn
    Book Title: CONFESSIONS OF A WEDDING PLANNER
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 60,000 words
    Blurb:
    Veronica believes in two things: the first is that everyone deserves a happily ever after, and second is that she is not capable of saying no, especially to her ex-boyfriend, the love of her life. He wants to hire her to plan the perfect wedding to his perfect fiancee. She wants to decline his request and then spend weeks in a crying jag while her wedding planning business suffers. Or she can try to keep her heart intact while she watches the man she loves marry another.

    The best man, Levi, wants to convince her that he isn not just another rich, good-looking playboy and prove that he is capable of loving one woman—her. But if he stays on the sidelines, Veronica might get back together with the soon-to-be groom, and lose any chance with the only woman who has captured his heart.

    They fly off to Paris with the entire bridal party, where Veronica experiences more heartaches than one can have in a lifetime. Lucky for her, Levi is not afraid to swoop in and save the day, which makes her wonder if there is more to the charming man than meets the eye.

    Can Levi convince her that he can giver her the happily ever after that she craves?

    First 200 words:
    “Nica, Will you please say yes?”

    In the midst of opulent dining, serenaded by romantic classical music, I heard desperation in those words. Words which I’d yearned to hear for so long. I saw pleading blue eyes before me. The same blue eyes that I stared at and got lost in so many times. The azure blues I’d woken up to, kissed, adored. What more could I answer with but a simple ‘yes’?

    I nodded.

    Jake jumped up with what I could only describe as pure elation, then he hugged me. “Thank you. Thank you, Nica.”

    And in that moment, in that tight hold, wrapped in warmth and heavenly scent I craved so much, my head swam in ecstasy and into a different future. The future that would be Me as Mrs. Jake Benjamin, like what I had imagined many times before.
    Visions of grand ballroom, french laces, me in a vintage wedding gown, and uttering the words ‘I do’ to the man of my dreams filled my mind, but I was ripped back into reality when I heard him say, “Sandrine, will be so happy.”
    Jake let go of me, whipped out his cellphone and dialed his fiancée’s number.

  15. • Tracy Poole
    • “A Shot Worth Taking”
    • Romantic Suspense
    • Word Count: 80,000

    • Blurb: Army Special Operations Sergeant Tony Vincenti adapts to play any role on a mission. To protect himself from another heartbreak though, he also camouflages his desire for a wife and family. The women he spends time, or just the night with, never reach his heart. Only FBI Special Agent Angela Hoffman sees right through him. On an earlier assignment together, they didn’t allow their attraction to jeopardize the mission but when their paths cross again things heats up.

    Nothing about Angela’s current undercover mission goes as planned. First she’s nearly killed by a terrorist, then they discover someone is trying to cash in on the contract on her life. If Tony does succeed in eliminating the danger, will he lose her once she’s safe? Somehow, he has to turn this lose-lose situation into a win-win scenario to keep Angela alive and for him to get a shot at love.

    Opening:
    Kandahar, Afghanistan

    The fun factor of camping out with eight of even his closest friends only lasted the first month or two, max, of a deployment. Five and a half months into sharing a space barely larger than his folks’ living room tested the most patient of souls at times—like right now.

    “Porter, I’m talking to my mom. Can you keep your shorts on a second?” Tony turned his chair and laptop so the bunked beds became the background on his Skype session.
    Too late. Based on her flushed cheeks and looking at the camera instead of her screen Mo got an eyeful. By now he was oblivious to the constant overexposure of his teammates’ junk, but was it too much to ask for ten minutes of privacy a week? His noise-canceling headphones kept him from making out his teammate’s response.

    “Sorry. What were you saying about Mrs. Pesci?”

    “That she ran into Carla last week at the market.”

    Not again. “Carla’s married and has kids and I’m—”

    “But she wasn’t wearing her wedding ring. Maybe you should get in touch with her.”

    “I can handle my own love life. Thanks.”

    “Really?”

    Ouch. Now would be a good time for the shitty internet to go out. It didn’t.

    • Imprint targeting: HQN

    1. And trying to format it for here, I somehow made Mom into Mo. Head slap. That’s what happens when this mom has to get out the door with three teen girls wanting to shop. Sorry, Carly & Pippa.

  16. Many thanks for this amazing opportunity, Carly and Pippa!

    Author’s Name: Judith Yi
    Book Title: Out of Her Comfort Zone
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 50,000 to 55,000 (when completed)
    Harlequin Imprint: Romance

    Blurb:

    Celebrity food critic Landon Grant didn’t know what he was searching for when he left on an impromptu road trip. He certainly wasn’t expecting to find himself stranded in Nowhere, USA and to discover a talented baker who’d turn your grandma green with envy. He sure as hell didn’t expect to fall hard and fast for her.

    Ethereal beauty Aubrey Taylor did not fit the bill for a small town bakery owner, but her quiet, solitary life suited her just fine. From the moment Landon Grant walked into her shop, she knew she should stay leagues away from the smoldering personification of male perfection if she wanted to continue guarding her heart against love.

    Kicked unceremoniously out of her life after four amazing days together, Landon vows to return to steal Aubrey’s heart once and for all. Whisking her away to California’s wine country, he seduces her relentlessly – demanding and pleading for her to let him into her heart.

    When Aubrey finally opens her heart to him, will Landon be able to fulfill his promise to be with her always? Or will fear, mistrust and the surprise pregnancy destroy their only chance at true happiness?

    First 200 Words of the Manuscript:

    “I will make you pay for this,” seethed Aubrey with a malevolent glint in her eyes. “I swear it on my mother’s grave.”

    “First of all,” Tara interjected with a wry lift of her lips, “your beloved mother is alive and well. I heard you talking to her on the phone just the other day.”

    “Shhh! It’s a threat not a sworn statement!” Aubrey whisper-screamed at her friend without breaking eye contact with her nemesis. She then upped the amp on her menace by squinting her eyes into dangerous slivers. Eat your heart out Dirty Harry.

    “Second of all, you’re making threats to your computer. Your computer,” Tara continued, ignoring the ridiculous face her friend was making at the computer. No matter how she scrunched up her face, Aubrey Taylor could not make herself look threatening. With skin as pale and translucent as porcelain and wide grey eyes that seemed to take up a third of her heart shaped face, Botticelli’s angels had a better chance of looking ferocious. “You seriously need a head exam, Bree. I admit your quirkiness can be adorable at times, but your crazy talk right now is just freaking me out.”

  17. Name: Kat Faitour
    Title: Risking It All
    Line: Harlequin Presents
    Word Count: 50,000

    Blurb:
    Dominic Martin lives a gilded life of wealth, success and fortune. As founder and CEO of his own software tech company, he guarantees the privacy and security of his high value clients.

    Sometimes that means bending the rules. Occasionally, a law is broken. And every now and then, someone gets a little used. No risk, no regrets.

    No one ever got hurt, though, until Natalie Enfeld. When Dominic broke the sophisticated Londoner’s heart, she vowed to never let a man into her life again.

    Now a year has passed and all he can think about is the icy beauty with the bold and generous heart. He must see her again. Kiss her again. Make love to her again.

    Last year, Dominic Martin decided to use Natalie Enfeld to get ahead. This year, he’s doing whatever it takes to get her back—but will Natalie allow her heart to be captured again by this modern-day rake?

    First 200 words of the ms:

    Dominic Martin was an exceptional dancer.
    Without missing a step, he pulled the slimly curved woman closer, admiring the soft auburn curls that teased his chin. He nuzzled her ear, muttering something flatteringly dirty. He smiled against her cheek as he felt her breath hitch in contained excitement.
    Knowing she was sufficiently distracted, he eased them into a graceful turn while discreetly scanning the room. He was looking for someone but without the comfort of knowing exactly whom. Someone was causing him and his family a great deal of trouble. He’d lay odds they would be here tonight. If he were right, it would be their first major mistake.
    This was the South, but Savannah, Georgia style. No one was at an event like this, an art auction set in one of the city’s most prestigious estates, without being an insider. You either had to be born into this, married into this, or be bedding someone who was. Money wouldn’t get you in, even buckets of it. Especially if it wasn’t local and it wasn’t old.

  18. Author’s Name: Donya Lynne
    Book Title: Finding Lacey Moon
    Book Genre: Contemporary (series title)
    Book Word Count: 65,218

    Blurb:
    Champion snowboarder, Lacey Moon, has lost her love of the sport, couldn’t care less about winning another gold medal, and has no idea who she is anymore. Desperate to find a way out of the vicious cycle sucking her into obscurity, she disguises her identity, flees the familiarity of home, and strikes out on the open road, following her intuition until she reaches Hope Falls, Idaho.

    Former football star, Scott McCord, has lived in Hope Falls since high school and runs McCord Cabin Rentals with his brother. Having suffered deception at the hands of his first love, Scott has abandoned hope of ever finding a woman to share his life with, choosing to devote his attention on his daughter instead.

    When Lacey’s path crosses Scott’s, fireworks fly. For the first time in ten years, Scott can see himself falling in love again. And the more time Lacey spends with the Scott, the more she realizes he is her future. There’s just one problem. Lacey hasn’t told Scott her true identity. When the truth comes out, she could lose everything she hoped to find in Hope Falls.

    First 200 words of MS:
    It’s okay to fall. Falling down teaches us how to get back up.

    Lacey stood at the mouth of the halfpipe, recalling the words her coach had said to her the first time she took a hard spill during a training run. That had been thirteen years ago. Why was she thinking about that now, when she was eyeing the icy tube and preparing to make her run for gold?

    Shoving her coach’s words aside, she bobbed her head to the up-tempo music pumping through her earbuds. Music usually calmed her before a competition, but not this time. And not just because this was the Olympics. Something within her competitive spirit had shut off in the last twelve months.

    She used to be a fearless, gushing spigot, ready to tackle any run down the pipe, no matter the situation. Now, she was a closed, dry well, completely tapped out. There was no fire in her belly. No hunger. Instead of the rush she used to feel as she stared down the pipe, she felt…

    Nothing.

    Nada.

    Zilch.

    Well, and dread. She definitely felt dread. But there wasn’t a glimmer of the old Lacey anywhere in sight.

  19. Author’s Name: Rina Gray

    Book Title: Fool For You

    Pitching to: Harlequin Kimani – Multicultural Romance

    Book Word Count (completed): 60,000

    Blurb (maximum 200-word):
    Melanie Foster, sports journalist and perpetual optimist, has been in love with her friend Damien Richards since he found her at age twelve, lost in the Southside of New York City.
    All grown up, Melanie snagged her dream job and now she’s ready to snag her dream man.
    Problem is. . . Damien loves her like a sister and asked his girlfriend of six months to marry him.

    She puts her heart on the line, and is rejected by her friend, making her feel utterly foolish.

    But when they discover his fiancé’s betrayal, Melanie’s fierce loyalty and loving heart makes him realize his feelings. However, he may be too late because Melanie doesn’t want to risk her heart again.

    Now Damien must convince her that he’s worth the risk and he doesn’t mind being a fool for love.

    First 200 words from MS:

    If Wile E. Coyote successfully trapped the Road Runner, he’d have the same just-won-the-lotto grin as Melanie Foster.

    She finished the text to her best friend Damien—a thumbs
    up, prayer hands and a dancing hippo emoji. Damien would get
    that she had good news to share. He always got her. She sent the
    message, leaned against the counter and glanced at the
    receptionist’s nameplate ‘Meena.’ No last name. Just Meena.

    “Meena, you are now looking at the new associate editor for SportsFanatic.com. I got the job!” She sang it and moonwalked backward in her borrowed stilettos. She tripped and luckily, grabbed the counter for balance before the hardwood floors became the most action she’d had in eighteen months.

    “Nice,” the receptionist steamrolled her Betty Boop eyes over her and clicked and clacked on the keyboard.

    From the way she hissed the word “nice,” Melanie was convinced the receptionist belonged to the House of Slytherin and was fluent in Parseltongue.

    “Listen Pollyanna, I’m sure Dave or Dale will email your welcome package.”

    Melanie yanked the form-fitting pencil skirt that was a pint of Chunky Monkey ice cream away from moving her up to a size six.

    “Thanks, Meena. I can already tell we’re gonna be great friends.”

  20. • Author’s Name: Isley Robson
    • Book Title: The First Word
    • Genre: Contemporary Single Title
    • Word Count: 97,000
    • Line: HQN
    Blurb: Occupational therapist Andie Tilly has made working with quirky kids her life’s work, but will never have children of her own. Scarred by a long-ago tragedy, Andie doesn’t do family. So, when technology wunderkind Rhys Griffiths offers her a live-in gig working with his autistic son Will, one of her recent clients, she knows she must refuse. The intimate domestic setting is sure to push all her buttons. But devoted dad Rhys—who struggles with Asperger’s traits of his own—has more than blue-smoke eyes and offbeat charm in his favor. Will, at almost three, has finally said his first word, “Andie,” and it’s bait she can’t resist.

    Soon Andie is out of her depth. Will’s sweetness cracks her right open, and Rhys has what it takes to find his way inside. Through a series of half steps and missteps, they move inexorably closer. But even the shadows of Rhys’s cavernous house aren’t deep enough to shield the spark of their passion. To claim the love she craves, Andie must face down her ghosts, and Rhys must confront another looming threat—his brilliant, broken ex-wife, whose desire to reunite with her son could be the undoing of them all.

    1st 200 Words of the MS:
    Andie Tilly peered at the walls of her cubicle through a gathering mist of tears. The colorful patchwork of photos, mementoes and cards from the families of the children on her case list rippled and blurred. I won’t cry. For more than two years, the bustling offices of Metrowest Early Intervention had been more home to her than her small, silent apartment. She never thought it would come to this—her job snatched unceremoniously from beneath her feet.
    Budget cuts, her boss had explained when he dropped the bombshell. A couple of big grants had fallen through, and as their most junior occupational therapist she was the one they were going to have to let go.
    Now she had just a few more hours to pack the most rewarding years of her life into a file box. She lifted down the giant inflatable baseball bat that hung over her desk: a gift from Ramón, a preschooler with autism who, with her help, was finally able to tolerate crowds well enough to have recently attended his first Red Sox game. She’d leave the bat for another client, Jade, who always giggled when she saw it.
    “Ms. Tilly?”

  21. Brooke Salisbury

    • Author: Brooke Salisbury
    • Title: An Education
    • Genre: Erotic Romance
    • Word count: 85k
    • Blurb:
    With doctorate in hand, Emily Frost is starting her dream job of professor. Life is perfect, until she is told by her new university she must teach a completely unfamiliar topic, Libertine Literature. Nothing seems more terrifying than teaching a class on eighteenth century erotic writing to college students.
    On her first day teaching, Emily almost collapses as her eyes lock with Daniel’s. He’s the unforgettable one night stand she had a week ago. He’s her student, she’s his professor, and he’s now a problem. But she can’t deny he awakened something within her. Something she can’t ignore. Daniel proposes an exercise to get her intimate with the syllabus—act out scenes from the erotic books they are reading in class. Together.
    Emily has other problems besides keeping up with Daniel’s stamina. She is learning the ins and outs of being a professor, trying to stand up to her department head, and fleeing matchmaking attempts by her new friend Eleanor.
    She can’t teach the class without Daniel’s help, and if she can’t hide her relationship with Daniel from the university, it could mean a premature end to her first year teaching, and worst case, her career.
    • 1st 200 words of the MS:
    Emily had never felt something so right so fast. As soon as she stepped into the 1930s house with its sun-drenched walls and classic black and white tiled kitchen, she knew it was hers. The potential shined through the male belongings still cluttering the house from the current tenant. The living room was painted a calm robin’s egg blue, with a bay window in the front. In the kitchen, light from a window over the countertop penetrated the walls with an ethereal golden glow. Through the odd mix of a gourmet sea salt sampler, cereal boxes, and a half-emptied bag of truffle fettuccine strewn under the window, she could see exactly where her espresso machine would go. She could look into the lowest branches of the dogwood tree outside every morning while she steamed her milk.
    After three days of looking at apartments around Berkeley, she had started to feel hopeless. It was already hard to make the transition to California from Paris, with its glorious architecture and historical significance practically punching her with its beauty every time she had walked in its streets.
    • Harlequin HQN

  22. •Author’s Name: Jo Hughes
    •Book Title: Can’t Deny Their Love
    •Genre: Contemporary Romance
    •Word Count: 60,000

    •Blurb (Maximum 200-Words):
    When Abbie catches her fiancé Nick in a compromising situation with his secretary, she runs away to New York with her best friend, Lucy.

    Marcus is going to New York to solve a mystery surrounding the hotel that he owns and to get away from his money grabbing ex.

    When they meet it changes their lives forever. Will they give into their feelings?

    As they find each other will their happiness be destroyed by Abbie’s ex or is a tragedy about to force them apart?

    What happens when they Can’t Deny their Love?

    First 200 Words

    “Damn, who left that stupid thing there,” I say, after falling over some of the clothes I’ve thrown and all over the room, kicking the bed and stubbing my toe in the process. Coco, my Yorkshire terrier looks at me through her dark eyes as if I’m totally stupid.

    “I know it’s my own fault for dancing around the room instead of getting my clothes packed. Oh, Coco.” I scoop her up and dance around the room with her, Coco tries to reach my face with her pink tongue. “I’m so excited about going to New York, it will be amazing.” She yips in my arms as if she understands my excitement.

    I put her back down on the floor and she immediately jumps back onto the bed lying on Nick’s pillow. “Coco, you know you shouldn’t be on there,” I tell her laughing. “Daddy will go ballistic if he catches you.” Coco sighs and rests her head on her paws giving me evil eyes for leaving her. “Everyone would think I’m crackers talking to you Coco.”

    I make an attempt to pick up the clothes and then give up, dumping them on the chair in the corner.

  23. •Author’s Name: Valerie J. Clarizio
    •Book Title: Family Forever
    •Genre: Contemporary new adult
    •Word Count: 60,000
    •Blurb (Maximum 200-Words):

    Since the death of his parents at 22, Dylan has been caring for his five younger brothers while managing the family farm.

    After a couple years running himself ragged, he hires the 18 year-old neighbor as a nanny. Marissa falls in love with him, and he feels the same for her. But he’s been down this road before, and has had his heart broken by women unable to handle the responsibility that comes along with a large ready-made family.

    Dylan’s affections for Marissa become impossible to dismiss, and he fears she will someday leave for a more exciting life than he can offer, and break the hearts of his brothers.

    Dylan’s oldest sibling, Cole, wants his brother to be happy, but realizes he needs a shove to accept and act on his feelings. He conspires with Marissa to make Dylan jealous. It works—until Dylan discovers they manipulated the situation. Dylan is furious they lied to him and avoids Marissa. Eventually, Dylan forgives his brother and Marissa. Before he proposes to Marissa, he asks his brothers for their blessings. He will not marry her unless they all approve. Marissa accepts the proposal from all of them.

    •1st 200 Words of the MS:

    “Up next, the forensic team,” announced Vice Principal Henning. He glanced at his notecard. “It says here they are each auctioning off eight hours of spring cleaning at your home.”

    Dylan’s brother elbowed him in the ribs and laughed. “What a bunch of geeks. I wouldn’t pay twenty-five dollars for the lot of them.”

    Dylan cut his younger brother a sideways glance. The boy was knocking on the door of sixteen and sometime during the past year he developed a smart-mouth attitude about everything. “Show some respect. Those girls are contributing just as much as the rest of you are for the student spring trip fundraiser.”

    His brother pointed at the six girls standing on the stage. “Come on, really, the forensic team. What the heck kind of team is that anyhow?”

    “Just zip it.”

    His brother’s eye-roll didn’t go unnoticed, but it went ignored because he just didn’t have the energy to deal with it at present.

    The bidding started. The first two girls went quickly for $100 each. Not bad. It took a bit longer for the next three to go. Thank goodness for family and friends, another $300 rolled in for the forensic team.

    Pitch: Harlequin American Romance

  24. Author’s Name: Melissa Despina Fragiadaki (w/a Melina Kantor)

    Book Title: Once Upon a Playlist

    Genre: Contemporary Romance

    Word Count: 90,000 (I apologize that the word count may be over your limit. Please disregard this entry if it’s a problem.)

    Blurb (Maximum 200-Words):

    Evi, former host of the hit travel show Urban Nomad, understands the appeal of the whitewashed houses and blue shutters of the tiny Cretan seaside village where she grew up. The place is so authentic it’s got a resident village idiot.

    But one person’s paradise is another’s dusty, bug-infested recurring nightmare, which is why Evi hasn’t visited Myrtos in six years. When her beloved grandparents ask her to bring their granddaughter for a visit, Evi can’t say no. Especially since her grandparents announced they’re selling their café, a place Evi has always considered more of a home than her parents’ house.

    Returning to the traditional village with a daughter born out of wedlock isn’t easy. Before she leaves Brooklyn, Evi decides to give herself six weeks to find a way to buy the café, and then go back home.

    Everything changes once Evi finds out her grandparents have already sold the café to Mathaios, the village’s mysterious, geeky science teacher. She wants to hate him until she comes across a playlist on his computer, which leads to the discovery that there’s more to him than meets the eye.

    As Evi and Mathaios get to know each other, she finds out that their pasts are intertwined in ways she never could have imagined.

    1st 200 Words of the MS:

    The driver turned up the volume on the radio, lit a cigarette, and slammed on the brakes just in time to prevent a flock of sheep from suddenly turning into street souvlaki. I spotted a crooked sign that read, “Irapetra, 2 kilometers. Myrtos, 8 kilometers,” and felt my stomach lurch.

    Okay, look. I get that sparkling blue seas, mountain views and sunsets appeal to some, but I’ve got to let you in on a little secret, which is this: one traveler’s paradise is another traveler’s dusty, hot, bug infested recurring nightmare.

    “Will you look at that?” the driver commented, the pride dripping from his voice, and pointed to a sparkling white church overlooking the water.

    Screw the spoon, I thought. If he says one more word about how beautiful the view is, I’ll need to be gagged with a shovel.

    True, Crete isn’t the worst place my literal guilt trip could have led me, but I was too sticky, cranky and exhausted to care.

    The taxi driver, current host of this nightmare, turned and looked at me over his shoulder. I don’t know who was more annoyed. Him, by my lack of enthusiasm for returning to my homeland, or me, for the fact that he’d taken his eyes off the crumbling, snaking mountain road.

  25. Brooke Winters

    • Author’s Name: Brooke Winters
    • Book Title: Deadly Dreams
    • Genre: Paranormal Romance
    • Word Count: 80,000
    • Blurb (Maximum 200-Words):

    When anglo-saxon king Penda of Mercia died an organisation was founded in his name. For centuries Penda’s has protected humans from non-humans and trained humans to develop their psychic abilities.

    Ronnie would rather ignore her prophetic dreams than learn to control her talent but when one of her deadliest dreams comes true she has no choice but to give up everything, move to Brighton and join Penda’s. Spencer grew up in Penda’s and joined their combat department as soon as he was old enough.

    Ronnie is placed in Spencer’s home and the attraction between them is instant. One night Ronnie dreams that one of their housemates is being murdered. When she wakes up it has already happened. Spencer is determined to find the killer. Ronnie’s dream offers a clue but she knows that if she shares it she will reveal her own secret.

    In Penda’s everyone has their secrets. Can Ronnie and Spencer’s relationship survive theirs?

    • 1st 200 Words of the MS:
    Chapter One

    It was happening again but this time it wasn’t a dream. Ronnie’s chest tightened as the now familiar barista locked up the coffee shop and turned to walk towards her. Ronnie had witnessed his fate so many times but didn’t know how to stop it. She struggled to move her feet, to keep him from crossing the road. She tried to shout out to him, to warn him, to do anything to get his attention. No sound came out.
    She stood rooted to the spot, silently reliving her dream.
    Like in the dream, the gigantic beast rushed out of the alleyway. It’s claws extended like grappling hooks, an inhuman wail coming from it’s gaping mouth.
    I’m going to wake up now, Ronnie thought as the beast stumbled towards the barista. Except this wasn’t a dream. This was real.
    I can’t stop it, she realised. Panic clawed at her chest, her breath came in short gasps as she realised the inevitability of what was happening. She couldn’t even close her eyes.

    If your pitch is for a Harlequin line/imprint other than Presents, please indicate which one: Nocturne

  26. Author’s Name: Sun Chara
    Book Title: GREEK GAMBLER, REBEL WIFE
    Genre/Series: Contemporary Romance/Presents
    Complete Word Count: 50,000
    Blurb:
    The ultimate betrayal…
    Maryana Baskov, waif of the underground gaming clubs made a heart-wrenching decision and ditched Greek heartthrob, Nikos Santinis for his older, wealthier archenemy to save her family from ruin. Unknowingly, she’d plunged a stake in Nikos’ heart leaving him nothing but ashes.
    The ultimate revenge…
    Twelve years later, Nikos Santinis, now owner of a string of resort casino hotels is hellbent on bringing the Russian beauty to her knees. He’ll entice Maryana into a high roller match at the gaming table and the bedroom… winner take all…and Nikos will have the victory at any cost.
    1st 200 words of manuscript:
    “I’ll raise you one hundred thousand rubles.” Nikos Santinis snared the Russian beauty in his blade thin focus, his nerves steel.
    Not by a flicker of her mascara-laden eyelashes did she clue what was going through her female head—her scheming mind.
    A raindrop meandered down his nape from his rain-spritzed hair, but he ignored the distraction. A siren sounded in the distance.
    Maryana Baskov, the only woman who’d driven a spike through his heart, and his pocket book—she had stolen everything from him.
    “Reckless of you.” She fanned the cards between her scarlet-tipped fingers and twitched her pert nose against the smoke-tainted air in the Club.
    He chuckled, the sound empty even to his own ears.
    He’d been reckless once in his life…

  27. I’ve never entered a pitch contest so let me know if this is not done correctly.

    Name: Lawrence Hill
    Title: Love in the Fall Semester: Kate and Rory
    Genre: Romantic Suspense/Mystery
    Word Count: 65,000
    Blurb:
    “Son of a bitch!” Rory Callahan, transplanted Texan and former Marine special forces commander, yelled as he rocketed out of the executive chair. Ten seconds earlier he was on top of the world as he strolled into the office and sat down for the first time as Mid-South University President. The quaint little college town daily Terre Haute Herald headlines in front of him read: MID-SOUTH RUNS WITH SCORPION MAFIA AND ALDGEDLY CHEATS BETTORS.
    His quiet, peaceful world had just been blown apart. Regaining control, he sat down and tapped his fingers on the warm surface of his favorite coffee mug and inhaled the nostril clearing vapors of the midnight black liquid. He hadn’t created the mess but it was his to clean up.
    Everyday mafia members and unscrupulous business persons approach universities with questionable business proposals to solve budget shortages. Surprisingly these proposals are occasionally accepted which ultimately leads to scandal, media frenzy, loss of University mission, and the President being fired.
    This a love story of a former military commander who inherits such a mess. As newly appointed President of Mid-South University it’s his job to clean up such a mess and restore the University mission. The task is complicated by a pesky, ponytailed, smart and beautiful female ace reporter charged with digging up the dirt and reporting the scandal. The conflicting challenges of their roles, their personal demons, and an undeniable attraction to each other present many obstacles to their mutual desire to put the university and their love lives back on course.
    First Two hundred words:
    “My God! I think I see escaped murder Luther Booth in the food court.” Kate Sizemore nudged her sister Carla aside, grabbed the handles of her nine-month-old nephew’s stroller and took off. She shouted back to her sister, “When I’m sure it’s him, I’ll give Ethan his toy. Call my editor at the Chicago Times daily and tell him to hold the evening addition, then call the police.” Carla didn’t have time to protest. Kate shoved the stroller using it as a spearhead and sped past the Woodfield Mall Orange Juicer cart, the fishy smelling Chinese Wok, and McDonalds. She had to pull up in front of Annie’s Cookie outlet inhaling the fresh baked cookie aroma. A three hundred pound big bertha blocked the path. The morbidly obese woman was leaning down, yanking her plump little boy’s arm and yelling at him to behave.
    Kate shouted. “You fat cow, get out of the way or I’ll run you down.” The startled woman with jowls that hung a couple of inches below her chin stood up, gritted her teeth, and tightly clinched her free fist.
    Carla slipped up beside Kate. “Sorry mam, my sister didn’t mean anything by it.” When the heavy woman adjusted her stance, it created a pathway. Kate flashed by her, bumping the oversized woman in the process. Fatty stumbled backward, slammed into a customer behind her and both tumbled to the floor. The whining child was pulled on top of his mother, screaming.

  28. Author: Katie Z. Hartman
    Book Title: All I Believe In
    Word Count: 65,000
    Contemporary Romance (With time travel element)

    Blurb:
    After her mother’s death Gwen Howard needs the emotional equivalent of Bob Villa to come and remodel her life, not a surprise trip overseas. Traipsing to Scotland when she’s never even left Oklahoma is overwhelming, but because of her mother’s dying wish she is about to be thrown into an entire new world. Literally. Her first clue that all may not be well in paradise is the band of Highland warriors dragging her to their castle. What starts out as a reluctant adventure quickly turns into a fight to survive that has Gwen questioning everything she thought she knew about the world she lives in and the power of true love.

    First 200 Words:
    “Are you sure that you’ve stuck it in all the way?” she asked him.
    “Of course,” he replied tersely.

    Gwen Howard inwardly sighed as she rolled her eyes, thinking not for the first time today, that she was well on her way to sainthood due to the supreme amount of patience she was forced to exude on a daily basis. “Well,” she continued, “if you’re sure it’s properly plugged in, the computer should run just fine after the software update and re-boot. Try turning it on now.” She heard a grunt on the other end of the line and could only assume that the know-it-all was powering up his computer. What was it about men and gadgets? she thought sourly. Clearly he knew on some level that he needed help considering he called the customer service number of the national software company where she worked. But every step of the way the guy managed to belittle and snap at her. Rolling her shoulders while she waited for Mr. I-Only-Called-You-Because-I’m-So-Busy, she glanced at the clock and did a little victory shimmy in her rolling chair. After this call, she would be F-R-E-E!

  29. A Place to Call Home
    Contemporary Romance/Carina Press
    37,000

    Blurb –

    Sharon Cavanaugh is an interior designer who finds herself homeless after walking in on her boyfriend with his pants down. Luke Anderson is a carpenter who shows up at Sharon’s office to deliver an envelope that mistakenly arrived on the jobsite. Sharon was shown a seemingly abandoned house sitting in the woods and she enlists new friend, Luke, to walk through the house with her. Disastrous blind date, a hurricane and a house fire bring Sharon and Luke closer together. Little does Sharon know though, Luke owns the house that she wants as A Place to Call home.

    First 200 words –

    The garage door was already up as Sharon pulled her car into the driveway. She spotted the Chevy Tahoe and smiled, pleased he beat her home from the construction project they were both currently working.

    She stepped out of her car and her high heels landed in a crack, bobbling the car keys and almost dropped her cellphone. Relieved she wasn’t going to have to replace her most valuable form of communication, Sharon closed the car door with a hip bump and walked toward the door in the garage.

    She got closer and closer to the door and heard peculiar sounds. Uncertain she wanted to know what was making the noises she hesitantly twisted the door knob.

    Her eyes widened and she dropped here keys making a loud clanging on the tile floor. The young blonde with her skirt around her waist screamed. Sharon’s now ex-boyfriend with his dress shirt hanging over his ass and his pants bunched at his knees just lowered his head to the blondes shoulder.

    Sharon scooped her keys from the floor and walked past the pair. “Don’t let me interrupt. I’ll be out of the house in just a few minutes.”

  30. Title.Her Replacement Groom
    Author.Mary Fahey
    Contemporary Romance (targeting Mills and Boon Cherish).
    50000 words. Completed.

    Blurb.
    Chloe’s hectic dating schedule feeds city gossip. Her solution is to get married. The groom is immaterial as all relationships turn sour eventually so Chloe proposes to her ex boyfriends.
    Silas, her twenty ninth choice, accepts so nobody else can. Once women get you hooked, they introduce unwelcome lifestyle changes Chloe dumped him twice for being naive, intense and romantic so he guarantees their third attempt is also unlucky.
    Attraction sizzles as they cancel her wedding. If Silas trusts her and Chloe follows her heart rather than gossip, fourth time might be a charm.

    First 200 Words.

    “I need a replacement.” Chloe Cathcart dropped her designer bag heedless of scuffing it on the tarmac forecourt. It was unfair to contact him but he was the final name on her list.

    Silas Lowry emerged from under a car bonnet with startled brown eyes half covered by chin length curls. He smiled, but the smile didn’t reach his eyes He indicated the sign listing his dealerships. “What did you have in mind, Chloe?”
    “No, not that. My car is fine.”

    He looked good, even more gorgeous than she remembered. Tall and lean with eyes that made her feel she was focus of his entire world. When they locked briefly with hers,her emotions stirred for the first time that week.

    He towered over her height challenged five foot five inches plus designer heels. “Who’s in trouble then?”.
    His presumption was logical when she taught his teenage brothers.
    “No, Conrad and Walter behave now.”
    His garage was probably the wrong place to say what she intended. A romantic restaurant came into her mind. “Would you like to go for coffee?”
    “No, thanks.”
    She needed to do this before she thought straight or her courage would desert her. “How about a walk?”
    “No, I’m busy.”

  31. Jessica Calella

    Title: She Laughs in Pink
    Author: Jessica Calella (w/a Jessica Calla)
    Genre: NA Contemporary Romance (Targeting Carina Press)
    Word Count: 93,000

    BLURB:
    Four years after her twin’s murder, Juliet Anderson continues to struggle with guilt, her parents, and her relationships. Two things keep her from falling into a deep, dark place— dancing and her best friend, Ben. When Ben decides to play football for New Jersey University, Juliet doesn’t hesitate to follow. Away from her past and looking forward to her future with Ben, nothing will stand in the way of winning his heart. Being at college together will make things that much easier.

    Until she meets his roommate, Chase, who greets her with intense, purple eyes and an attitude that makes her insides twist.

    On probation and hell-bent on adhering to a “new life plan,” aspiring artist Chase leaves his New York City home for New Jersey University and meets Juliet before he steps foot on campus. For him, their connection is instant. She’s the most vibrant girl he’s ever seen. Her colors explode on his canvas, and he’s never been more inspired in his life.

    Too bad she’s madly in love with his seemingly perfect, good guy roommate.

    FIRST 200 WORDS of MS:

    Chase

    I put Gram in a cab to the airport and kiss her goodbye, then weave my way through the city streets hauling the two duffel bags I packed for college. I make it to the station in record time, rushing even though I’m not in a hurry, because that’s what you do in the city. You rush. I hope New Jersey moves a little slower. I need the break.

    As I push towards the stairs that lead underground to the station, I notice a hot brunette a few yards in front of me pulling a suitcase with one hand and holding a phone in the other.

    I’ve seen her a million times before. The beautiful girl, new to the city, searching for Broadway, dreams alive and hope shining as brightly as Times Square. I check out her form as I follow her, admiring her entirely too long legs shrouded in entirely too tight yoga pants. Her tan arms flex as she lifts her giant suitcase and carries it down the stairs. She’s thin but curvy, tall and toned. Based on the body, if I had to guess I’d say wannabe Rockette.

    At the bottom, she stands her suitcase then

  32. Amanda Uhl
    MIND WAVES

    Contemporary Romance (Targeting Harlequin Nocturne)
    Word Count: 87,000

    BLURB: He has been in her mind. He knows her thoughts. He will do anything to protect her.

    David is the leader of a little-known segment of the U.S. government responsible for guarding the nation’s intellectual capital. His team must navigate deadly brain waves to infiltrate minds, erase and implant thoughts, and keep the enemy from possessing the nation’s secrets. He’s at the top of his game, until he encounters a powerful energy source — a madman who will steal the secrets he is protecting, even if he must kill the woman David loves to get them.

    Grace is a struggling freelance writer, who knows from experience that most men can’t be trusted. All she wants is a good paying job and to see her beloved, but flighty sister to the altar. She’d be a fool to fall for her mysterious new client. Still, there’s something about him that has her dreaming of happily ever after. Until she finds herself in the middle of a mental tug of war — one that has her reeling from nightmares, resisting the enemy, and fighting for her life. Are her feelings for David authentic or is she a victim of his mind-altering abilities?

    FIRST 200 WORDS: The bell over the antique door chimed as she opened it. She smelled the familiar scent of fresh coffee and muffins and heard something else familiar, too — a dry laugh. Grace glanced to the left sharply as she looked for a seat in the crowded end of the coffee shop. She had heard that sound before and recently, too. She searched for the source, her eyes alighting on a couple nearby. As she had thought, it was HIM, the Job Crusher – the name she had privately given him after the fiasco that was her morning. The jerk who had watched her presentation with unblinking eyes and then jotted something in his notebook. The high-profile advisor who she was certain had swayed her client into ending her lucrative contract. Whatever was he doing here, now, in her small corner of the world? It couldn’t be a coincidence, could it?

    She studied him carefully under the guise of perusing the drink list. He was dressed in charcoal gray slacks and a black shirt. His dark brown hair looked exactly as it did in the morning – perfect. Except now she noticed there was a slight curl on the right side. Ha!

  33. Marianne Rice
    Flight Risk
    Contemporary Romance
    55,000 Words
    Harlequin Romance

    Blurb: After an altercation with a passenger that’s posted on social media, pilot Graham Riley is forced to go on administrative leave until his name can be cleared. And to make matters worse, before getting his wings back he must attend anger management classes. Wanting to escape the media frenzy near his home base in Texas, he heads to his family home to Rocky Harbor, Maine to fulfill his punishment.

    Anger management therapist Maggie O’Fallon is looking for stability in her life and only dates men with normal 9-5 jobs. But when Graham walks into her office, sits his delectable butt on her therapy couch and flashes his toe-curling smile, she’s at a loss for words.

    Graham reminds Maggie too much of her globe-trotting neglectful father, but she can’t help falling for him. He’s sweet and funny and nothing like what the media has made him out to be. But can she settle for a long-distance relationship filled with constant worry and loneliness? Or will Graham clip his wings and confine himself to the life he never wanted to live?

    First 200 words:

    Graham Riley packed a duffle with the bare necessities and tossed it in the back of his jeep before sliding behind the wheel and turning on to Interstate 30. He was looking forward to a few days of solitude, open road, and sunshine. Unfortunately he hit construction, detours and torrential downpours.
    A metaphor for his life.
    He’d flown for Global Air for eight years with a perfect record and was now grounded because someone with a cell phone caught him at a bad time. He’d never shown up for work hung over or with beer on his breath. He didn’t date flight attendants, although some offers were very hard to refuse. He’d been punctual and performed well in his role as co-pilot, and more recently as pilot. An impeccable record, scratched only because he defended a flight attendant.
    Policy demanded Graham be grounded until internal affairs and TSA did a thorough background check. The dozens of videos passengers recorded on their phones showing Graham in the right wasn’t enough to deem him innocent. So here he sat, with the top to his jeep on in the middle of July, escaping Texas and heading home to his large, eccentric family in Rocky Harbor, Maine.

  34. Melinda Hale
    SEDUCED IN HIS HOTEL
    Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 50,000

    News anchor Carolyn Reynolds books a vacation at the luxurious Bronze Diamond Hotel in New York, but instead of finding relaxation, she encounters a passion that heightens all her senses. Surrendering to her intense attraction with Nick Clarke, the man providing her room service, is a moment of pure pleasure.

    As the owner of the hotel and a millionaire, Nick knows his money can’t always buy connections, and Carolyn is his ticket to saving the hotel from obscurity. Seducing her is proving more than a delicious distraction – he’s tempted to break his professionalism and divulge his secret, knowing it will endanger everything he’s built. But is it a risk he is willing to take?

    FIRST 200 WORDS:

    Unlike most people, Carolyn Reynolds didn’t look forward to her vacation. Thanks to her boss insisting on it, she had one week to herself and after accepting her job as a news anchor three years ago, she hadn’t taken any time off. Now she didn’t know what to do with it.
    She checked over the bag she’d packed with clothes and her Kindle e-reader. Everything in preparation for four nights of relaxation. Yet her body felt tense. How could it be relaxing in a room that wasn’t her own, in a bed that others had slept in? The cost hadn’t been cheap. She always loathed the idea of paying to hire out a room when she was happy to sleep in the car.
    After making it through the mind numbingly slow traffic, she entered the parking lot outside the Bronze Diamond hotel. A barrier gate stopped her from driving any further. As she slowed to a stop, a man emerged from the adjacent booth, smiling widely. She lowered the window as he approached.
    “Welcome to the Bronze Diamond Hotel. Let me take your car and park it for you, ma’am.” He gestured to the bag opposite her. “And I take it this is your bag for your stay?”

  35. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity!

    Name: Eliana West
    Title: A Vintage Romance
    Genre: Multi Cultural Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 50,879

    After a savage beating, Anthony Jackson is forced to leave his home on the Conti family estate. Leaving his first love behind, starting a new life in Walla Walla and building his own winery. When his daughter, Pavia, inherits ten acres of valuable vineyard land from the Conti patriarch she learns about the secrets and lies that tore the Conti and Jackson families apart. Determined to redeem her father from past betrayals, Pavia leaves her home for the Sierra foothills, to claim her inheritance.

    Alex Conti is shocked to learn that his grandfather has given away a parcel of land that has been in their family for generations. Alex and his brother Nick are determined to keep Pavia from making a success of the small winery she plans to build until Alex meets her face to face. One look at the African American beauty throws him into turmoil, as he begins to question everything he thought he knew about love and his family.

    Can Pavia trust the family that betrayed her father? Will the legacy of racism and hatred destroy Alex and Pavia’s chance at happiness? Or, can they overcome secrets from the past to create a future together?

    Chapter 1

    The lawyer read the terms of Antonio Conti’s will in a dull, business-like tone. Pavia sat in stunned silence while her hands turned to ice. She turned to her father with wide eyes, her voice trembling. “Papa I don’t understand.”

    Anthony Jackson reached over, the warmth from his large hand enveloping her own. A comforting gesture that helped steady her. “It’s okay baby girl, I can explain.”

    He stood abruptly facing the lawyer. “I think that’s enough for now. My daughter will be in touch in the next few days”

    The lawyer paused, “Of course. I understand this is a lot to take in. Mr. Conti’s bequest is very generous. Two-and-a-half million dollars and ten acres of some of the finest vineyard land in Saint Helena is an impressive inheritance.”

    “Won’t the family try to fight the terms of the will?” Pavia asked.

    “Mr. Conti made his wishes clear. Anyone contesting the will forfeits their inheritance. Mr. Conti wanted to make sure you received this gift.” He looked at both father and daughter with raised eyebrows. “I assumed you were aware of the provisions Mr. Conti made for Miss Jackson. Now I understand this has come as a complete surprise.

  36. Author: Becke Turner
    Title: Flight for Love
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Imprint: Superromance
    Word Count:85,411
    Blurb:
    Arabian horse trainer and single mother, Lacy Yarborough has worked seven days a week to qualify her mare for National competition and salvage her career after being unjustly suspended for abuse. Conner McGovern hopes that rebuilding the family Arabian farm will unlock the secret to his niece’s depression. But when his niece insists he hire Lacy, he learns he has a bigger problem than confronting the woman who destroyed his family. He’s the father to her child. Can he convince Lacy that love and family are a far greater reward than winning?

    Opening 200 words:
    She was back.
    Trainer Lacy Yarborough set the emergency brake on her three-horse rig. Although rain often dampened the Ohio show held every Memorial Day weekend, today bright sunshine reflected off the trucks and trailers parked behind the main horse barn. Nickers of nervous animals filled the air. Uneasy, Lacy pulled her baseball cap low over her eyes. Her colleagues would recognize her soon enough. For now she just wanted to unload her mare, Sinny, and her client’s gelding, Dargin.

    After lowering the ramp so she could lead her horses from the trailer to the pavement, Lacy entered the shadowy interior infused with the strong scent of horse urine and sweat. Restless, Sinny chuffed her impatience to escape the cramped space.

    “Easy girl,” Lacy soothed, pulling the slipknot from the tie ring.
    Although her bay mare had been in the trailer multiple times, today her horse moved in jerky motions. Lacy tightened her grip on the lead rein. She knew tight quarters and large animals could lead to disaster. Her best friend, Joanie, had suffered a permanent brain injury during a freak trailer accident—and Joanie had unloaded a seasoned horse. Sinny was only three and considered green.

  37. Author’s Name: Muna Sheik
    Book Title: Type B-Billionaire
    Genre: Contemporary (targeting Harlequin Romance/Cherish)
    Word Count: ~55000
    Blurb:

    Far from home?
    Adrift in the language and cultural barrier in Tokyo, Erika Murakami begins to give up hope on opening her themed maid café. Instead she finds support in the least likely of persons, with quasi-family friend Saimon Hajime. Erika is happy for the extra hands, but the more she works side-by-side with the brooding billionaire, the more she wishes for a less professional relationship…

    Now a politician, too, Saimon gives Erika access to all wealth can buy. At first he does it to distract himself from the family scandal ruining his career. But playing business partner to Erika catches up with him when their feuding fathers make their disapproval plain. Having gotten everything easy in life Saimon realizes fighting for Erika and his happiness will be the hardest thing he’s done yet.

    1st 200 Words of the MS:

    The lengths he went through for family…

    Saimon Hajime folded his hands into the pockets of his suit jacket to avoid strangling the man in front of him. Defense General Hayato Murakami surveyed him with his usual coolness. The older man was in his element, surrounded by bodyguards, his hair and shoes polished to glossy blackness as he occupied one of the dining chairs across from him.

    “I don’t think I’ve had this view before.” Murakami’s hard eyes had a glint to them. He would notice the detail; Saimon didn’t doubt the old man knew the entire layout of the building by now, having once been a frequent resident himself.

    “This room was reserved for my mother.”

    Murakami appraised him with a look, but he said no more on the matter to Saimon’s relief.

    When the early dinner was polished off, Saimon’s own food barely touched but collected by his employees, Murakami launched into real meat and bones of their reason for sitting across from each other.

    “When I told you to handle this, I hadn’t expected such a gesture. You’re too bold.” What he meant was stupid, but Saimon was too polite and too irate to point out the fine details.

  38. Tiffany N. York
    The Beautiful and Not so Pretty
    Young Adult
    66,000 words
    Pitch for Harlequin Teen

    BLURB
    High school senior, Julia Ray McKinion is fed up with her book-smart, color-within-the-lines lifestyle so she vows to reinvent herself. Taking some risks and trying not to hate her body so much seems like a good place to start. On her eighteenth birthday at the club, YOLO, she risks it all by dancing with Danny Rivera, the sexy Puerto Rican guy from school who inhabits her dreams.

    She never imagines her dreams would become reality as they begin a passionate relationship that challenges all her plans for the future. Following her heart isn’t so easy when her head has been leading all these years. As Julia’s carefully-planned world crumbles around her, she’s forced to confront her demons with or without Danny…or self-destruct.

    CHAPTER 1

    My day always begins with me standing in various forms of nakedness in front of the full-length mirror, twisting my head around to see how fat my ass looked. At the moment, all I wore was a black miniskirt. Black helped to camouflage my curves a bit, but it didn’t change the fact that this skintight material clung to my body like a piece of saran wrap. There was no way I could wear this out dancing tonight without a long shirt to cover my bulges.

    Next up was a view from the side to see how far out my stomach was protruding, depending on what I had eaten the night before. Hmmm, not too bad. All those sit-ups I’d been doing had started to pay off. Okay, side view: passable.

    Now, the front view: the hardest to face. Holding my head high, I put my shoulders back and stared at my reflection. My bangs were too long and needed a trim. As for the rest of my face—wait, oh no. There was a zit brewing on my chin. I poked it with my finger and groaned. This one would be ripe soon since it already hurt. What a great birthday present.

  39. Sophie Rodger

    Author Name- Sophie Rodger
    Book Title: The Italian’s Lessons in Love
    Genre: Romance
    Word Count: 50,000
    Blurb:
    Clara Quinn, Classics Teacher at an all girls boarding school is livid to hear while on holiday in Rome that her small town library is to be sold for land. It was her refuge when times with her famous parents became tough. Despite hating confrontation, thanks to her parents constant bickering, she confronts the man in charge who claims to be from Maryton and still wants to destroy it.
    Phoenix Thunder J’Ett (Nik) has no love for the town that ostracized himself and his sister. He knew his ‘family’ were different and he was seen as the town ‘bad boy’ but he tried to shield his sister from the town’s hate and the abusive men his mother constantly fell in ‘love’ with. He hated the library because it reminded him of a time that shouldn’t have been allowed to happen and how hateful and narrow minded people could be and now as the lawyer in charge of buying the land, he is determined it will go.
    Clara is determined the library will stay open just as much as Nik is determined it’ll go. In this battle of wills, who will triumph?

    First 200 Words of MS:
    Plashet, Bower and Perk LLP. Via Firenze, 28-Rome.
    This was it. There was no turning back now!
    Clara scrunched up the scrap of paper whose blue ink was melting into her panic dampened palm and threatening to leave a tattoo print of the name of her nemesis on it. Its contents had been going round in her head as she made the journey here, to his office. It had circled in her head like a vulture; like the vulture that he was. The name of one Mr. N. J’Ett was burned into her mind and soul.
    She sucked in a determined breath and reached up to push the heavy blackened glass door, unprepared as it swung wide beneath her hovering palm, her fingertips dropping, closely followed by her feet then her body in their momentum, onto a crisp light blue shirt and tie housing a decidedly well muscled, male torso.
    The scent of fresh, non-humid, air conditioned clothes whooshed up her nose, a low humming buzzing through her from the top of her head to her toes, for some reason stopping to concentrate in her fingertips and where they were still pressed against him.

  40. Mageela Troche
    Scandalous Billionaire’s Baby
    Category Contemporary
    Word Count: 50, 235 words
    Blurb:
    New York socialite Brooke Hewes had it all until her husband died in a car accident along with his mistress. Brooke has been given a second chance to get it back when she is appointment the President of her family’s scandal ridden children charity. All she has to do it turn it around and only one man can help—the man she walked away from.

    Aidan Grant is a self-made billionaire who cannot rid himself of his past of the Hewes’ charity poster boy. The Hewes family has destroyed the man who was the only father he had known. When he learns Brooke needs his help to restore the reputation of the children’s charity, Aidan knows this is his chance for justice. No matter, that Brooke Hewes, the woman who stomped on his heart, is still arouses him.

    When the deal leads to seduction then a baby, he wants his family and her in his bed. Aidan and Brooke must decide what do they value more status or their love…

    1st 200 words of MS:
    Brooke stepped inside the bar. Arctic Air-conditioned air blasted away any lingering heat from New York City’s sweltering street. This slickly designed place was the wrong spot to meet with Aidan Grant. From the outside, this place appeared a pleasant after-business bar where a drink and some business talk could happen. What she had taken as shade was actually dim corners, made even dimmer by the Scotch, cognac and brandy decor and blackened windows.

    Every eye turned on her. All that was needed was the needle scratching across the record player. She tucked her purse under her arm and made her way to the bar. The men gawked, sitting on the edge of the chair or craned their neck to watch her.
    “Brooke Hewes—she’ll fail–surprised she’s here. Her husband—brought her down a notch—had a good career—Daddy gave her a job.” The drowning whispers crashed over the hum of the television.

    Her steps were measured. Heel to the ball to her toes. Her scalp prickled but her chin remained notched and weakness won’t show in one action. Across the flat-screen television, her photo flashed and their attention shifted to the six o’clock news.

  41. Elizabeth Dudak

    Name: Elizabeth Dudak
    Title: Wanna Bet?
    Genre: Contemporary

    Blurb (200 words)
    It is an expression, like “it’s raining cats and dogs” or “a penny for your thoughts”. It is an expression of doubt, and Harper McReynolds has all sorts of doubts about this bad-to-the-strings-of-his-guitar ex-rocker. What is his interest in her? Besides being five years older, she has responsibilities, namely a tenacious teenaged daughter and one with special needs! She has read of all the wild Brody Reeds tabloid stories. He is the opposite of the stability she needs to heal a chaotic past. Yet, the minute he takes her up on the expression, “wanna bet” spilt so carelessly from her mouth, Harper knows her life will forever change; she can bet on it.

    Pasts are hard to shake and Brody’s thinks his may be the reason Harper, the woman with a rocking body and the rolling laughter, pushes him away at every turn. Yet looking into her violet lollypop eyes, Brody sees flickers of fear that may hold the key in knowing all of her. If a bet is what it takes to peer over the walls of protection Harper has so carefully built, then Brody will take that bet…even if it means losing his heart.

    First 200 Words:
    Kissing is an art form and right then I knew I was not kissing a man who doodled. I was kissing a da Vinci.

    His lips were soft yet commanding. He knew when to nibble and when to explore. His tongue performed arabesques in my mouth, dancing to its own beat of pleasure. I moaned and whimpered and sighed and purred, all from his mouth on mine.

    When we came up for air, he leaned his forehead against mine, his deep breaths matching my own gulps of airs.

    “We shouldn’t be doing this.” I pulled away from him and shook my head. “No, no, no, no. We shouldn’t be doing this at all.”

    When he didn’t say anything, but slanted his head as if to coming in for another kiss, I pushed him back and distance myself. “I said…”

    “I heard.” He put his hands in his pocket and looked down at his pair of pointed, cowboy boots. His grey, wolf-like eyes stared back up at me through a jungle of light lashes. God he was sexy.

    “No, no, no.” I wagged a finger and walked away to put space between us. It’s what I needed – space and a weaker libido.

  42. Author’s Name: Reagan Phillips
    Book Title: River Deep
    Genre/Imprint: Harlequin Teen
    Word Count: 60,000 words
    Blurb (Maximum 200-Words):

    Six years ago, after the death of her father, Julian Andrews escaped Spring Falls to live with her aunt. Now, two days before the beginning of senior year, she is forced to return and deal with the emotions she left behind. Her mother suffers from depression. Her sister hates her for leaving. Her aunt is across the ocean in Europe. The only person who doesn’t hold a grudge against her is the boy her father died saving. Trusting him feels like dishonoring her father’s legacy, but the more she pushes away, the more ways Grayson finds to become part of her life until she learns the whole town is keeping the truth about her father’s death a secret.

    1st 200 Words of the MS:
    “I’m not going.” I stomped a booted foot on Aunt Bombi’s marble entryway and sent frustrated echoes through the open French doors and out to the waiting town car.

    Determined to ignore the drastic change the last week played on my life, I’d dressed in my usual black boots and tan breeches for my scheduled Saturday morning riding lesson.

    For added dramatics, I crossed my arms over my chest. Determined not to believe Bombi so heartless that she would A) make me return to the place where my father died, and B) desert me there.

    “Whitney’s parents offered to let me spend senior year with her family. I could stay in Nashville with them. Problem solved.”

    Bombi, with her Jackie-O sunglasses, clenched teeth, and persistent personality, managed an emotionless smile. Her lips pushed up, and her too white teeth gleamed underneath, but the rest of her face stayed unreadable.

    Branson, in his driving jacket and little black cap, collected the last of my Burberry plaid luggage from the front hall of Bombi’s Nashville estate and loaded it in the trunk.

    Bombi’s head tilted to the side exposing her narrowed eyes above the rims. “Get in the car, Julian.” Each word shot out like a single bullet aimed at my future happiness. Each a direct hit that destroyed any chance of keeping my carefully crafted plans for senior year at Briarwood Prep intact.

  43. Gina Hagedorn

    Author’s Name: Gina Hagedorn
    Book Title: A Mann’s Business
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 50,000

    Blurb:

    Lexi Scott spent ten years proving she doesn’t need a man to take care of her – and trying to forget the man she loved. She’s beautiful, successful, and strong. Still, she’s never gotten over the scandal that ultimately led to her father’s death – or the way Jameson Mann pushed her out of his life and her home. Now, on the eve of her thirtieth birthday, she is ready to retire from modeling, join forces with her mother, and claim what is rightfully theirs. The only obstacle standing in her way, it seems, is the same man she fled from all those years ago.

    Jameson Mann left the British army to become Alexander Scott’s head of security for the Paisley Hotel. When Alexander died, he was loyal to Alexander and his memory. He brought the Paisley back from the brink of collapse and honored Alexander’s request to keep his daughter Lexi far away from the scandal that ruined his name.

    Now, ten years later, Lexi’s returned and her mother is kidnapped. Jameson must keep Lexi close to him until he can unravel the decade-old mystery that ultimately destroyed his friend, and is now threatening Lexi and her mother.

    First 200 words:

    “Can you tell me why my mother wasn’t at the airport?” Lexi Scott’s anxious eyes met the shuttered gaze of the driver in the rearview mirror.

    “No, miss,” he replied with a shake of his head. “Mr. Mann simply sent me to collect you.”

    As if she weren’t on edge enough with her mother’s absence, hearing his name immediately churned her emotions, rivaling the stormy panorama outside the car window. Goose bumps rose on her skin. Jameson Mann. Owner of the Paisley Hotel, owner of the Highland Casinos. Owner of his unreachable heart.

    And her reason for leaving Colorado.

    Lexi dialed her mother’s number on her cell again. Voice mail. Crap. Why wasn’t she answering her calls? They were supposed to meet at the airport, then leave for their planned vacation to Scotland.

    The last thing Lexi wanted was to return to the Paisley – or face him again. It would dredge up memories of when her father owned the hotel. Before everything went to Hell. But she had no choice now. Her mother still lived there. And surely she wouldn’t have gone to Scotland ahead of her.

  44. Name: Sasha Kohl
    Book Title: A Very Sexy Delivery
    Genre: Contemporary/Erotic Romance (Blaze or Carina)
    Word Count: 50,000

    Blurb:
    High school English teacher Sophie Black is ready for love… She thinks. She creates an online dating profile thinking she’ll find Prince Charming, and instead goes on a lot of terrible first dates with way too many frogs.

    She’s ready to give up and resigned to spinsterhood when fate–aka the United Parcel Service of America and her erotic toy order, delivers Jake Sullivan to her door.

    Jake is instantly attracted to Sophie, and their relationship is too hot to handle. However, when a teenage girl accuses him of having an inappropriate relationship with her, Sophie decides the risk to her heart is too great and cuts Jake out of her life.

    First 200:
    Soft warm lips brushed against her mouth, feathered down her neck, and whispered seductively over the curve of her breasts. Firm hands caressed their way up from her knee, sliding and delicately kneading the firm flesh they found. She closed her eyes, immersed in sensations, and hummed with pleasure. Those questing hands continued their upward trajectory and found the lower curve of her full, plump breasts. His tongue thrust into her mouth, sliding erotically across hers, tangling, caressing. He nipped at her lower lip, then licked away the sting. An arc of heat arrowed straight to her core, intensifying the ache rapidly building there.

    He was licking… her arm? What the hell? She cracked open an eyelid to see a wet black nose heading straight for her face. “Blargh!” She sat up with a yelp, effectively yanked out of the sexy daydream she’d so been enjoying. Wiping the dog slobber off her arm she sighed and shot an irritated glance down at man’s best friend, or in this case woman’s. “Thanks a lot. That was just getting good.”

    Sophie Black obviously needed a man in her life.

  45. NAME: Stacy Brewer
    •Book Title: Embracing Destiny
    •Genre:Contemporary Romance
    •Word Count: 60,000
    •Blurb:
    Your body may die, but your soul carries on…searching.
    The women in her family were different. Tired of running from the accusations of devil worship, Mary Aine settled in America with hopes for a better life and until the man she loved died, she’d been happy.

    It had been almost a year since his death, but with each passing day Abraham Lugh fell deeper in love with his brothers’ widow.

    On the night he asked her to marry him, a violent event caused dual spells to intertwine, sending them both out and into the Universe. The first, a wish during the heat of a passionate encounter and the second – a curse after a horrendous crime was committed by an upstanding pillar of the community.

    Delivered by magic and reincarnation, their cursed souls travel, connected and parallel, searching through time.

    Journey through the aftermath of the Witch trials, onto a field hospital during the American Civil War, into a Speakeasy in Chicago, Illinois during the roaring 20’s and finally in the present as the characters involved realize who they were, who they are now and more important how to finally defeat the one man who started it all.

    FIRST 200 WORDS OF THE MS:
    Her body emerged from the dark abyss from which it laid and reentered the thin surface of reality shivering. An immediate sense of self-preservation heightened her mental awareness forcing her to synch with the strange surroundings, more noticeable with each passing second. Deep, cold sensations traveled with her, increasing in strengths through the thriving fibers of her small physique. Reluctant at first to wake, her muscles and nerves flipped about, jumping into action and adjusting to the foreign imbalance that had suffocated her during the deep slumber.

    She strained to understand and identify the odd but familiar noise infecting her sense of hearing. It had begun as a constant and steady comforting tempo, but picked up pace and then slow off to a halt, leaving her to assume it had stopped. She counted the seconds of subdued silence, desperately begging it to restart again. She needed the sound; it gave her peace. It was the only comfort she’d found in her dark unfamiliar existence.

    Her chest felt heavy, submerged under pressure. The immense pain she felt inside of her body made its presence imminent, rising up into and between her shoulders. It moved as an internal foreign alien, navigating around her collar bone and tearing through the multiple layers of pale skin.

  46. Author’s Name; Elle Marlow
    Book Title; Protecting the Cowboy’s Baby ~ Courtland Ranch Series
    Genre; Harlequin Special Edition/Contemporary western romance
    Word Count; 52k

    Blurb;

    Heir to a Texas dynasty, Rancher Hayden Courtland had everything but children. He’d planned on having that family with his beautiful Comanche wife, but she traded Texas cattle for Hollywood glamour a year ago, and he hadn’t seen her since.
    Actress Alana Austin should have never left her hometown cowboy. But Courtland money attracted deception that caused the loss of their unborn baby. As they struggle with the past and one man consumed by his lust for power,they give into one night of reckless passion. Her cowboy is not an actor, but will he step into the role of daddy?

    First 200 words Chapter One

    “You can do this, Alana. Just knock on the door and dang it, breathe…”
    Alana Austin inhaled, then with renewed determination, placed her boot on the worn out step. Just like her resolve, the wood beneath her began to weaken and wobble. She hesitated as tension squeezed her belly, warning her to turn back. She couldn’t. It was too late to change her mind. Maybe, just maybe it wasn’t too late to convince Hayden how sorry she was. So sorry she couldn’t bear it.
    A chill of uncertainty trickled down her spine when her gaze swept over the front door. The once vibrant cherry-red paint was now barely noticeable on the sun-battered wood. The condition of the door triggered her anxiety, pricking goose bumps along her arms. What if more than just the door had changed? What if another woman lived here?
    Alana forced her worries aside. She had to, this mild case of nerves couldn’t hold a candle to the onslaught of terrifying panic attacks she’d been experiencing on the movie set. She’d promised her producer she’d at least try to talk to Hayden about helping her fears. And maybe, she could use it as an excuse to right a terrible wrong.

  47. Author’s Name: Rebecca Thomas
    Book Title: Her Alaskan Hero
    Book Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Book Word Count: 53,000

    Blurb: After being left at the altar, California girl Sabrina Tate needs to make a fast getaway. With her famous overbearing parents and the paparazzi hot on her heels, where else is a jilted bride to go to lick her wounds but Alaska? With only her tropical honeymoon clothes in tow, she makes her escape. For two weeks, she’ll live on her own and prove to herself—and her family—that she can make it without a husband.

    Zak Forrester is a man on a mission. He’s turned his rugged yet luxurious Alaskan lodge into a hotspot for hunters, all in the hope to make up for a painful event in his past. But when Sabrina—one of the rare women to enter his rugged realm—stumbles into his world, he can’t get rid of her fast enough. He has no time for her yoga, vegetarian meal requests, or Scrabble.

    Soon, neither can resist the other, and two hearts collide. With time ticking away, they have to decide where they belong. Is a life in a different world better than being a world apart?

    1st 200 words of the MS
    Sabrina’s heart beat at an unsteady clip. She avoided looking into her sister’s eyes, glancing instead at the staid, white walls of the room that looked more like a hospital room than a bridal suite. Her father loved this church, so she’d agreed to get married here, just as Susan had last year. Sabrina had even agreed to have boring white roses as her wedding flowers for her mother’s sake. Now her sister had decided to interrogate her only minutes before walking down the aisle.
    Sabrina coached herself to take deep breaths. “Any woman would be over-the-moon to marry Kyle.”
    “That isn’t what I asked,” Susan replied flatly.
    “Of course I’m anxious to start my wedding night, but come on, we’ve been together a long time.” Sabrina shrugged. “So things have become a little routine in the bedroom, I don’t mind.”
    Susan’s eyebrows shot up. “Routine?”
    A knock sounded on the door to the church’s private room. Finally the ceremony would begin. The course for her life had been set. She’d managed to do everything she’d planned for her life so far. Her college education and now she’d marry a great guy who she loved.
    Maybe now, her father would see her as a fully independent woman, able to make decisions on her own without consulting him.
    Imprint: Harlequin American

  48. Margo Bond Collins

    Author: Margo Bond Collins
    Title: The Billionaire’s Bangkok Bride
    Genre: Contemporary Romance – Harlequin Presents
    Word Count: 51,000 words

    Blurb:
    When serious, bookish LILAH MARTIN’s life falls apart, she takes a job teaching English in Bangkok to escape the fallout. All she wants is peace and a chance to heal. Unfortunately, soon after she arrives, the school loses funding and she’s out in the cold.

    Billionaire tycoon CHRISTOF STAVROS is working to expand his luxury hotel business from Europe into Asia. The sticking point: his potential business partner will only work with a family man, something playboy Christof has no interest in becoming. If a bride is the key to enlarging his empire, he knows he can make it happen with a snap of his fingers. But finding a wife isn’t as easy as he planned. None of the women in his world fit the part.

    When a chance encounter at the Temple of Reclining Buddha brings Lilah and Christof together, he knows he’s found the perfect “good girl” to play the role of wife. Lilah isn’t certain about a marriage of convenience, but she’s not ready to face the mess she left in London, either. Neither expects the passion that erupts between them, and their marriage sham quickly turns inconvenient as they realize they’re risking everything, including their hearts.

    Chapter 1

    “In Thailand, grooms give their prospective brides gifts of gold.” Lilah Martin jumped a little at the sound of the deep, slightly accented voice.
    The golden Buddha statue stretching out in front of her probably should have drawn a gasp of wonder, or at least appreciation. It was bigger than a 747 jet. The brochure in her hand, complete with illustrations, said so.
    But the lyrics to “One Night in Bangkok” kept running through her mind and she had to fight the urge to duck under the security rope to run her fingertips along the cool metal.
    She couldn’t afford to get deported.
    She had nowhere else to go.
    Giving the giant figure an appraising look, she spoke quietly over her shoulder, amused at her daring in flirting with the stranger. “That would be quite the gift. How much do you think it’s worth?”
    A low chuckle sent a shiver up her back. “Calculated by the ounce, or black market value for the statue itself?”
    He moved to stand beside her and she glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, curious to see if it was possible for any man to do justice to that sensuous voice.

  49. Julieta Querol

    Author’s name: Julieta Querol
    Book Title: Kings of Midnight
    Genre: Harlequin Contemporary/Erotic Romance
    Harlequin Presents Pitch
    Word count: 138,000 completed

    Blurb:
    Camila’s whole world is ballet. From the day she was born every step of her future has been carefully planned. At twenty-three, she is finally on a fast track to the top at the most prestigious ballet company in Buenos Aires.
    Sebastián is panty-scorchingly gorgeous and a successful architect. But his last name is also one of the most powerful and dangerous in Argentina. To Camila it means nothing. To the rest of the country it equals corruption, dark deals that happen during the midnight hours and total control of the Argentinean docks.
    Camila and Sebastián meet by chance and, even though their worlds could never include each other, a powerful attraction coerces them together.
    A fascinating, heart-wrenching story that explores the deepest corners of love, erotic passion and obsession.
    How far will Camila and Sebastián go to shield their love from a dark world of power, deceit and even their own dreams for the future?

    First 200 words of the MS:

    That morning, the morning of the old man and the speeding car, the morning I met Him, didn’t start any differently. Life chuckled at me from above, nothing tipping me off on how it was about to mess with me, big time.
    ***

    I rushed down the streets of downtown Buenos Aires to another full day of rehearsals for Giselle. My body complained from the lack of rest, but being a professional ballerina was a dream come true. Even after a year in the corps de ballet of the Colón Theatre, I still felt a high as I walked to work every day.
    The muscles in my legs screamed from the sauté fouettes the day before. I stretched them as I walked, ignoring the familiar knot that settled in my stomach on the weeks before a performance.
    Dancing was my whole world. I loved it with all my heart, poured my life into it. But it was never enough. There was so much talent around me. For the past year I had pushed myself harder than I ever thought possible.
    Needles of wind bit my cheeks. I shoved my fists deeper into my pockets wishing I had worn my parka instead of a hoodie. Humming to the beat of the Arctic Monkeys I dodged bodies in suits and heels, detached faces marching to work as if their hurried pace could make the weekend come sooner.

  50. Name: Jean Barrett – writing as Alice J Miller
    Title: Rising From The Ashes
    Genre: Contemporary Romance for Hqn Carina UK
    Word Count: 30,000 (Novella)
    Blurb:
    Amanda’s world is safe and controlled, until Nick comes along and forces her to break her own rules. Now she’s fallen head over heels in love with handsome, funny, smart, sexy Nick. Just one problem. He is still grieving for his dead wife.

    Five years ago Nick lost his pregnant wife in a car crash. Time has diminished his grief, but left a gaping hole in his heart. His desire for Amanda burns hotter than the noonday sun, but guilt inflaming his soul is strong. He is running scared, terrified at wanting someone in his life again, yet drawn irresistibly to Amanda.

    Amanda needs financial security the way other people need air. One night spent with Nick leaves her carrying his baby, but safe, secure Nick has decided to leave his steady, well-paid job to start his own business.

    Will Nick find the courage to step out of the shadow of his dead wife and take another chance at happiness?

    Given Nick’s apparent reluctance to commit, can Amanda fight her childhood fears and refuse her ex fiancé’s promise of a financially secure life?

    Can Amanda and Nick face their problems, overcome their painful pasts and together forge a united future?

    First 200 words:
    Nick Kent stopped at the large van blocking his drive. Inside, a small, pert denim-clad bottom bent over a pile of boxes. It was the finest he’d seen.
    ‘Any idea how long you’ll be?’
    The rear-clad jeans swung round. For only the second time in his life his world stopped spinning, but he was never going there again. Never.
    Around five foot six, her tight clothes accentuated her curves. Her hair, tied back in a ponytail, looked in danger of breaking free around her shoulders. She had a pretty face, but not just pretty. Behind hazel eyes predominantly green lay an interested intelligence – curious, and brimming with fun. And oh boy, did her mouth match her figure. Flawless. Not too big, not too small. It sent a challenge zinging round his body to kiss lips tinged with a trace of red. Helpless to resist, she grabbed his latent desire, slammed it to the floor and pinned it down. Shocked, his heart upped its beat.
    He stepped closer. Too close. Her beguiling perfume cut into his senses. His mind made the instant jump to a warm bed, naked bodies, and the feel of cool flesh under his hands.

  51. Thanks for this opportunity, Pippa and Carly! I’d like to pitch my 75K Harlequin Historical THE RAVEN AND THE WOLF.

    Blurb:

    In medieval Denmark, the daughter of an assassin must choose between her father and his next target: the handsome stranger who once saved her life. On a grueling journey north where the landless lord Thor can claim land for the people under his protection, outcast Britta discovers her father isn’t the only one targeting Thor, and Thor himself is hiding secrets about his time on the battlefields that could disqualify him as lord and leave the entire company in mortal danger. With attraction flaring, but the gap between a lord and an outcast serf widening with every mile Thor rides closer to his birthright, can Britta and Thor stand together against betrayal and find a future for their people and their love?

    Opening:

    The raven lay crumpled at the foot of the birch he had flown into, shattering one of his wings.

    She should move on, quickly. Robins or tits were worth the effort to keep alive, to sell on the market as songbirds for rich ladies. Magpies were wanted by their husbands, to do tricks. They walked down the table during a fest, stealing spoons and cursing people, flying off when an indignant guest tried to catch them, laughing at them from on high.

    But a raven?

    The law even forbid their keeping, as their ominous roh-roh-roh was considered a portent of death. Where the ravens gathered, prey was to be had.

    A movement caught Britta’s eye.

    A wolf stood in the clearing, fixating her with his amber eyes. He inhaled the sweet scent of blood, and those eyes lit wit dead-on aim. Once the hunt was on, wolves didn’t feel pain, didn’t care for a boar’s sharp tusks that could slash open the vulnerable stomach. Resistance only made them stronger. .

    The raven’s cries echoed off the circling trees. Die, die, die.

    With a low growl the wolf jumped for her throat.

  52. Author’s Name: Suzanne Purewal
    Book Title: Embracing Destiny
    Genre: Harlequin Romance or Romantic Suspense
    Word Count: 82,000
    Blurb:
    Sara Taylor is standing at a crossroad. Disillusioned with her love life and lackluster career, she searches for meaning in her life. Change is on the horizon.

    Joe Lazaro’s burning desire for Sara has never been stronger. Yearning to make his own life complete, he intends to reconnect with his soulmate.

    However, an unexpected event sets Sara on a journey. Outside forces intervene, and danger lurks in every shadow.

    First 200 Words:
    An automatic meeting reminder popped up in the middle of the computer screen, accompanied by a loud dinging noise. Sara Taylor positioned the mouse over the notice and clicked on it. The thirty-minute countdown started. She stared wistfully at the collection of pictures on her desk. These pictures, as well as a few irreverent, work-related cartoons, livened up the ugly, steel gray cubicle.

    A simple gold frame held a high school graduation snapshot of Sara with her best friend, Laura. Most people mistook the tall, thin girls as sisters. It was an easy mistake, considering they both had long brown hair and blue eyes. Sara remembered graduation day well—the excitement, the anticipated freedom, the endless opportunities. Their grand plans had been filled with hope for the future and of making a difference in the world.

    Another picture, in a wooden frame with a grizzly bear etched in the lower right-hand corner, contained the happy Taylor family, posed in the foreground of the Grand Canyon at sunset. With her left hand, she picked up the picture. A fellow tourist had snapped the shot. It represented a minor photographic miracle for the Taylors—no bunny ears or weird faces.

  53. Charlotte McFall

    Charlotte McFall

    Title: Two week Fiancée

    Word count 51000

    Presents/Romance Pitch

    No strings business arrangement.

    Blurb :- Mogul Nick Brookes wants a hot deal to promote his company, the only problem, he needs to travel aboard to Japan, and with a fiancée he doesn’t have. When PA Melody Read accepts this crazy position of being the perfect fiancée she didn’t bargain giving her heart to Nick. Only have it broken to pieces by the iceman. Misunderstandings-terrifying fears keep them apart but can love heal them?

    200-word pitch

    “How about I take you away from all this?”
    Melody placed the pile of papers on her desk. Staring down at her was the athletic figure of her boss, Nick. “Such a cheesy line, Nick. Been reading a hundred and one ways on how not to chat up a women, again?” she chuckled.
    “No, but I have a massive favour to ask you. Just wondered if you fancied going to get a coffee.”
    She looked at him as his green eyes were sparkling with mischief. Ever since she had begun working at Neasan Computer Security, she had been forced to suffer Nick’s practical jokes. As his PA, he relied on her to ditch his dates and even get his dry cleaning. He had a ruthless head in business, but his personal life lacked organisation.
    “Really? What do you need me to do this time? Tie your shoelaces? Melody bit on her bottom lip to keep from laughing at her own joke. Shuffling the stack of papers on her desk, she stood to put them in the filling cabinet.
    “Is that anyway to talk to your boss?” His husky voice had its usual effect, sending a shiver down her spine.

  54. Author’s Name: Robyn Van Matre w/a Robyn Rychards
    Book Title: Dancing With the Best Man
    Genre: Contemporary Romance/Harlequin Romance
    Word Count: 52,859

    Blurb (Maximum 200-Words):

    Jade Nichols works hard to avoid situations that involve physical contact, but when her beloved sister Lexi asks her to be her maid of honor and take choreographed dance lessons for the wedding, she doesn’t hesitate to agree. Even though they’re from the best man, celebrity dancer, Alejandro Rivera. It reawakens issues from her past she’s avoided dealing with for a decade, but she’ll do anything for her sister. Even if it ends up giving her a nervous breakdown. Or a broken heart.

    Alejandro Rivera cares about two things. Dancing and his dance studio for underprivileged children. Women are something he enjoys only when he feels the need. And Jade Nichols? She’s a complication he’d normally avoid. So why can’t he stop thinking about her? Or keep his hands off her for that matter?

    Through their time together in Los Angeles and in Alejandro’s dance studio, Jade comes to terms with her past and learns the joys of physical contact, not only with Alejandro, but with the people she cares about. Jade teaches Alejandro that women have a lot more to offer than he grew up believing, and he comes to appreciate his life is nothing without her in it.

    1st 200 Words of the MS:

    “Hold the elevator, por favor!”

    The delicious male voice floating across the lobby as the doors started to close sent a completely unexpected, and unwanted, thrill down Jade Nichol’s spine. She would’ve loved having the elevator to herself for the ride to the restaurant on thirty-fifth floor of the hotel and she barely suppressed a sarcastic ‘Ha!’ at herself. As if… She jabbed the Door Open button as the man darted across the lobby and slipped inside.

    “Gracias.” He pushed his hair back off his forehead, that lock the only indication his sprint to catch the elevator affected him.

    Jade gave him an incredulous look when he stayed directly in front of the doors, and suppressed a shudder at his proximity. Who gets in an elevator and doesn’t move to claim their own space? Seriously. She was standing right by the door at the control panel, so close his arm was in danger of touching her. She gave a mental shrug. Another weirdo in L.A., no surprise there. Her hand tightened around the strap of her purse. He’d probably be riding with her all the way to the restaurant, L.A. Prime, too.

  55. Author’s Name: Tanya Dawson
    Book Title: Salem’s Feud
    Genre:Harlequin Historical
    Word Count:75,000
    Blurb (Maximum 200-Words):

    Mary Hatter and many generations before her have lived on this earth as healers, until recently when the business of being a witch could have you swinging from a tree.

    Samuel Sabean’s family are witch hunters, who would search the far ends of the earth to condemn anyone practicing magic. Of course the land they have accumulated in their searched is only a bonus.

    Will Samuel’s love for Mary last when he learns what she is?

    1st 200 Words of the MS:

    1672 in a small village outside of Salem…

    The sun slowly awoke that morning, warming up the cool air in the forest and every creature in it. Mary stopped for a moment as she caught a warm ray through the trees. It was magical to feel such warmth, yet see her breath flowing like a mythical creature out of her body and into the air. Fall was her favorite time of the year, the cold mixed with bursts of warmth covering her like a soft wool blanket. She mustn’t indulge in the mornings pleasures while her little sister lay sickly, however she could not resist the woods and its charms.

    This was the only time of the day where she can do her work safely. She clutched her red wool cloak close to her body, partly to cover the soot on her dress, and partly to keep the cold air at bay. The color made her feel different, it was a bold choice and she really only felt comfortable wearing this cloak on her secret trips into the woods. For people in her village, red was the devil’s color, for Mary it represented life. She felt alive when she wore it, and it made her stand a few inches taller than her normal dark clothing.

  56. BLURB

    Champagne, hot best man, and a sex tape? OH NO!

    Normally shy and reserved Emily Wilkins enjoys a night of wild sex with the drop dead gorgeous best man at her best friend’s wedding in Sin City. Mortified that the champagne transformed her into such a ‘slutbunny,’ she sneaks out of his bed in the middle of the night and rushes to the airport.

    Kirk Howard is heartbroken. He’s fallen in love with sweet, intelligent (and sexy) Emily, and he’s certain that—deep inside—she feels the same for him.

    A few years later, Fate gives the couple a second chance when their jobs bring them together. Still embarrassed over their night of debauchery, Emily pretends they’ve never met. Kirk plays along, hoping to win her over. She sees what a good guy he really is and starts to melt. But then she discovers he’s brought a bottle of the champagne that was her undoing and some pictures from the sex tape they’d made—which he’d promised to destroy. She concludes that ‘nice guy’ Kirk is just an act to give him another shot at ‘DTF Emily.’ Furious, she bolts again.

    Can Kirk explain the truth and win her back?

    FIRST 200 WORDS OF MS.

    “Seriously? You’re getting married in Las Vegas! Are you kidding? ‘Sin City.’ Smoke filled casinos. Neon lights everywhere. Wedding chapels where you’re married by an Elvis impersonator! And that slogan: ‘Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’ Sure, it stays there—except for the pictures that end up on the internet!”

    “Come on, Em. Be fair.” Megan wagged her finger at her best friend courtesy of Skype.

    “You’ve never even been to Vegas. I told you I found the most romantic hotel on the planet. You’re my Maid of Honor. Trust me.”

    “Fair enough,” Emily conceded with a nod, smiling as she leaned in toward the screen. “I can tell how excited you are. I won’t be a wet blanket. I just want your wedding to be perfect—just like you’ve always dreamed. I suppose since you and Darryl decided only a month ago to get married, you were lucky to find a decent place. I’m thrilled for you. I really am. But you guys are crazy! Planning a wedding is a huge deal.”

  57. Author’s Name: Jade Chandler
    Book Title: Stand Strong
    Genre: Contemporary Romance Harlequin Blaze
    Word Count: 54,500 (Completed)
    Harlequin Blaze

    Blurb:

    Real estate developer, Gabriel Parker, lives for the win. He has scraped, gambled, and pushed for every bit of success. Trouble with his company means his next project in Sage Springs must not fail. When a trip down a rabbit hole sends him to the medical clinic and into the care of Harper Mason, he’s forced to choose between her and the project that will save his company. Battle lines are drawn and the stakes are higher than ever before.

    Harper has come to terms with the tragic loss of her husband and built a simple life she loves. Although she’s sworn never to open herself to the soul-shredding agony of love again, her logic wars with her body’s desires from the moment she meets handsome, cocky Gabriel. Their overwhelming chemistry draws them to each other, but the fact he may be out to destroy her little town with his resort development drives them apart.

    Their attraction backfires when Harper publicly opposes Gabriel’s development plans. Distrust simmers underneath the uneasy peace they forge when both find it impossible to resist the enemy. Only when they learn to trust can the two find what they need – love beyond their wildest dreams.

    First Two Hundred Words:

    Harper listened to the steady beat of the patient’s heart and clear breaths from the lungs. The bronchitis was gone, for now. The white paper lining the exam table crackled when Mrs. Gavney tried to find a comfortable position on the universally uncomfortable tables.

    “Sounds great in there.” She patted Mrs. Gavney’s shoulder. “Next time come in at the first sign of cough.”

    “I just hate to be a bother.” The octogenarian patted her bouffant and avoided Harper’s stare. “Have you got the knack for my Savannah sweet tea yet?”

    “Well, I hate to be a bother . . .” Harper waved away her question. “Never mind.”

    The spry Southern lady harrumphed. “In my day, ladies didn’t sass their elders.” A twinkle gleamed in her eye.

    “And they listened to their health care providers,” Harper let her playful tone do the work nagging wouldn’t accomplish.

    “Such sass.” Mrs. Gavney’s face wrinkled like a Sharpei when she smiled wide.

    The door swung open and her nurse, Janice, barged into the room. “Harper.”

    “Sorry.” She sputtered between breaths. “They brought in a hiker with a swollen ankle, could be broken. The new developer, according to the Sherriff.” Janice rushed on.

  58. Author’s Name: Tanya Dawson
    Book Title: Till I See You Again
    Genre: Harlequin Romance
    Word Count: 50,000
    Blurb (Maximum 200-Words):

    Sadie Hampton enjoys a life of routine – until a photograph of a WWI couple surfaces and the woman looks exactly like her. She dives into researching the couple and begins to question her own relationship.

    Tyler Mason is a journalist in London who will get down and dirty for any story. When he receives an e-mail with a photo from WWI that bares his resemblance, his boss wastes no time sending him across the pond hoping this story will clear his bad boy reputation.

    Could they possibly be the couple from the picture? Does love know no time line?

    •1st 200 Words of the MS:

    Just press send…

    The words echo in her ear as she stares at the computer screen and taps her finger on her desk, completely zoned out of the conversation around her. Sadie Hampton was in a peculiar situation. Surrounded by her two best friends, being challenged to participate in their next crazy scheme, she re-reads the small paragraph of words in front of her. Her stomach squirms and performs acrobatics that any gymnast would be jealous of, as the thought of hitting another button on her keyboard could possibly send her running to the bathroom. What would she be starting?

    “It definitely looks like him.” Wendy replies, leaning in close to the screen to compare his picture with the picture in the newspaper.

    Sadie picks up the local newspaper again and looks at the picture of a young couple in the local town’s Remembering the War section. Staring back at her was a woman, who looks exactly like her, and a handsome young man. She runs her finger down the woman’s face – same shape of eyes, cheekbones, and most curiously the same mole on the right side of her neck.

  59. Author’s Name: Carol Opalinski w/a Carrie Nichols
    Book Title: The Sheriff’s Little Matchmaker
    Genre: Contemporary Category
    Word Count: 55,000 words
    Harlequin Imprint: Harlequin American

    Blurb (193 words)

    Remy Fontenot doesn’t regret leaving the excitement of New Orleans to return to his hometown, or his life as the sheriff in sleepy Bayou Fortier, and he certainly doesn’t regret his daughter, Evie. But he does regret having chosen a wife who didn’t want to be a mother, and he does worry about being a single dad in his profession. So now that he’s divorced, Remy sets out to woo the perfect mother…Evie’s teacher and favorite person in the whole world.

    Sasha Honeycutt has already been the wife of a small town policeman, and she knows it can involve sacrifice and heartbreak. Despite longing for a family, she’s not signing up for that again. And, as much as she loves little Evie Fontenot, she’s not signing a marriage license just to give Remy peace of mind.

    Except there’s that scorching kiss Remy and Sasha can’t forget. And, against her better judgment, Sasha is falling for the insufferably charming sheriff. And Remy is rethinking his dogged pursuit of commitment over passion. He wants more than a mother—he wants a wife. Can he convince the gun-shy Sasha to take a chance on another lawman?

    First 200 words of manuscript:

    “You better make this good. I’ve got money riding on this kiss.”

    Sasha Honeycutt blamed her bold behavior on New Orleans and rum. Lord knew, without those hurricanes she’d been sipping all evening, she’d never have found the nerve to stand in front of the most gorgeous man in the piano bar and ask for a kiss to win a bet with her friends.

    The sexy stranger’s obsidian eyes glittered and one corner of his generous mouth lifted. “Don’t you worry, chèr, I’ll take good care of you.”

    Even in the ridiculously high heels, Sasha had to stand on tiptoes. The man was a freaking giant. She swayed and grabbed his upper arms to steady herself. Thoughts of bulging biceps and hot skin swirled through the fog in her brain.

    His arms encircled her and rough calluses brushed her bare skin. She shivered, unsure if she should rejoice or curse her open-backed dress. He groaned deep in his throat and those callused fingers tightened their hold and crushed her against his hard chest. Rejoice the dress!

    Slowly, as if he enjoyed the anticipation, his mouth descended to meet hers.

    A tilt of his head and Sasha’s brain stopped functioning altogether.

  60. Author’s Name: Abigail Owen
    Book Title: SAVING THE SHERIFF
    Genre/Imprint: Contemporary Romance / Harlequin Romance
    Word Count: 53,000 words

    Blurb (Maximum 200-Words):
    There’s a storm brewin’ for Holly Jensen, the new large animal veterinarian in Las Colinas, Texas. Someone is threatening to expose the secrets she holds. Holly is reluctant to go to the sexy…and single…sheriff, as what she knows could rip his family apart. Besides, he’s made it clear he wants nothing to do with her.
     
    The day his wife died, Sheriff Cash Hill discovered their marriage had been based on deceit and lies. How could the single dad ever trust another woman again? Especially not his wife’s best friend, Holly. Still, something about Holly’s sweet, sassy vulnerability has his protective instincts kicking in hard.
     
    Both are faced with a choice…stay locked in the past or allow their reservations to be silenced by a passion hotter than Texas summer nights. Can they learn to trust their own hearts and each other?

    1st 200 Words of the MS:
    “Daddy?”

    Feeling the tug on his belt, Cash looked down into the tiny face of his almost-five-year-old daughter. “What, honey?”

    “Isn’t that Mommy’s doctor friend?” she whispered. She raised her small hand and pointed behind him.

    “Mommy didn’t have any doctor friends,” he murmured, trying to keep his voice down. He faced forward, eyes on his full grocery cart and the person ahead of him in the checkout line. He didn’t turn to look, didn’t need to. He knew exactly whom Sophia was talking about.

    Holly Jensen.

    Sophia gave an exasperated sigh that was very grown-up, despite the stuffed tiger she clutched in one arm. She was getting so big so fast. “I know that. I mean animal doctor. Is it her?”

    He stifled an inward groan. Sophia obviously wasn’t going to give this up. He half-turned and crouched down in front of her. As he did, he caught a flash of long, chestnut-colored hair from the corner of his eye. “We talked about this, Soph. Do you remember?”

    She shook her head, her big blue eyes wide and solemn.

    “Some of the people Mommy knew aren’t really our friends. They were hers. Seeing us might make them feel sad.”

  61. Lora Mathews
    THE SACRIFICIAL GROOM
    Contemporary Romance/Presents
    76,000 Words

    Blurb
    Socialite turned secretary Emory Brooks doesn’t miss her estranged dad’s control, but the makeshift family she’s created with her sister and nephew sure misses the money. Emory needs a groom so she can get her hands on her inheritance and get her family out of poverty. Emory chooses Clay Thorston, a hot CEO who misses his life as a ski bum and needs a storybook wedding for publicity to improve his company’s tarnished image. When she falls for him only to uncover an embezzlement scandal, she dabbles in a little bit of blackmail to save her man.

    First 200
    “I got you something.” Emory said to her sister, holding out the cheap yellow gift bag with a dump truck on it.
    “You got me Marcus’ birthday bag?” Leah teased.
    “Open in.”
    Leah pulled out a pair of red patent ballet flats, still hooked together with the clear plastic ring from the discount store. She squealed and squeezed her sister.
    “Oh I love them! Thank you so much! I can’t wait–” She stepped out of her scuffed black loafers and slipped them on, pivoting her foot and pointing her toe to admire them. “They’re perfect, Em! I didn’t get you anything, though…” Leah trailed off, chewing her lip.
    “You never have to get me anything again because you shared Marcus with me.” Emory said fondly.
    “It meant the world to me that you walked out on all that and followed me. It still does.” Leah blinked away tears. “It seems like you’ve been picking up after me since the day Mom left.”
    Emory tucked her sister’s hair behind her ear and smiled.
    “You’re my family. You and that fine boy.”
    “Don’t you regret it sometimes?”
    “No. Never. Except maybe I wish I’d taken that Renoir from my bedroom when I left. We could’ve sold it.” She grimaced.

  62. NAME: Tamara Lush

    TITLE: At the Italian Billionaire’s Command

    LINE: Harlequin Presents

    WORD COUNT: 50,000 words

    BLURB:

    Formula One racer Dante Annunziata is known for his prowess behind the wheel and in bed. Now in his final year of racing, Dante will let nothing stand in his way of a winning season before taking over his family’s multinational automobile conglomerate. His traditional Italian father wants him to soon oversee a merger with Jenkins Intl., a profitable American company.

    American Savannah Jenkins is the heiress to her father’s global tyre company, and desires to learn the business from the ground up. So when she becomes Formula One’s first female tyre changer, she’s lauded by everyone — except Dante, her team’s brooding and sexy driver. He doesn’t think a woman has any place in the male-dominated sport, but the feisty Savannah knows otherwise. Their strong personalities clash immediately, and the attraction between the dark Italian and the fiery redhead sizzles both on and off the track.

    Dante’s plan to seduce Savannah to oust her from the team stops short when he discovers she’s a virgin, and a steamy encounter leaves them both hooked on the taste of the forbidden. Their families’ mutual business interests force them together even more and their hearts race for each other. Dante realizes that his Southern beauty is more captivating than he anticipated and he’ll do anything to claim her as his … forever.

    1st 200 words of the MS:

    ‘I will not allow a girl to change my tyres.’

    Dante Annunziata’s nostrils flared when he spied his engineer’s mouth quirking into a half-smile. Scowling, Dante’s voice turned icy, his Italian accent thick with derision. ‘Dio Santissimo. I’m not going to dignify your laughter with a response. This is serious.’

    The engineer, a stout Australian named Charlie, sobered and rapped his knuckles twice on the table in front of him. ‘Look here, mate. I know you don’t want a woman on the pit crew. But it’s boss’ orders. You might as well get used to it. She’s part of the team now.’

    Dante snorted and raked a hand through his raven-hued hair, the back of which almost curled over the crisp collar of his blue oxford shirt. He needed a trim prior to the next race. Like he had time for anything besides staying in top physical condition and the ever-increasing demands of his family’s multinational company.

    Boss’s orders. A girl in the pit crew was a distraction he didn’t need.

    Dante’s next words were accompanied by a dismissive sweep of his hand. ‘There’s never been a female tyre changer in the history of F1. A girl will ruin the team.’

  63. Author’s Name: Abigail Owen
    Book Title: FALLING FOR KATE
    Genre/Imprint: Contemporary Romance / Harlequin Presents
    Word Count: 50,000 words

    Blurb (Maximum 200-Words):
    Professional skydiver Kate Nichols never felt as though she fit in the pampered, privileged world of the aunt and uncle who raised her. She’s much more at home with the freedom that comes with falling through the sky, and she refuses to give up the sport she loves. Even if that means disappointing her family or people like Sean Wells, her uncle’s protégé and the man she’d once considered a friend…until he proved otherwise.

    Having grown up poor, Sean was not born to his position but earned it through hard work and guts. He has little time or patience for freeloading rich kids, and Kate obviously falls in that category. Too bad, because she’d had so much potential once upon a time. But when his mentor starts hinting that he’d like to keep Nichols Oil “in the family” Sean wonders if marriage to Kate might be the answer.

    Can a free-spirited skydiver and an up-and-coming CEO get over their pasts and perceptions to see each other’s true worth?

    1st 200 Words of the MS:
    Wind whipped through the cabin of the plane, causing a reverberation of white noise all around them. About twelve-thousand feet below, the land looked like a patch-work quilt of greens and browns. A familiar pattern Kate Nichols had seen hundreds of times. They were close to starting their jump run.

    She watched for the light beside the open door to switch from red to green, her signal to get into place. As soon as she saw it light up, she poked her head outside, double-checking their location. Satisfied, she reached out to grasp the bar located just above the door on the outside of the plane and swung her body out while keeping her grip, pushing against the wind, which wanted to tear her off the plane. She waited for the rest of her team to get into position and watched for the signal which would come from her teammate Jordan beside her.

    On his count, Kate and the other seven members of her professional skydiving team–Falcon Force–jumped in perfect sync with each other. Her focus total, Kate concentrated on keeping her movements small and precise as they moved quickly from formation to formation.

  64. Fiona Marsden

    Name: Fiona Marsden
    Title: The Other Brother
    Category: Presents
    Word Count: 50k

    Blurb: Dacia Temple should never have trusted Yuri Pajari to organise her visa to work in his adopted country of Australia. Alone and out of a job, she’d been dazzled by his talk of sunshine and tropical heat in the midst of a cold English winter. Facing the threat of deportation and the loss of every penny she’d spent on getting to Brisbane, her only choice was to do as Yuri’s brother demanded.

    Financial wizard Ruslan Pajari had put his years as a numbers man for the Russian mafia behind him when he crossed the world to give his young brother a better life. Now everything he’d built was in jeopardy because Yuri had manipulated a company lawyer into falsifying documents to bring his gold digging girlfriend into the country.

    Ruslan had no use for such a woman, but with his highly confidential contracts with the intelligence agency at a delicate stage, he could not afford to draw undue attention by revealing the fraud and allowing her to be deported. With Yuri already committed, he had to find a viable, medium term solution. The fastest and most efficient option would be to marry her himself. With his lawyers in close attendance.

    First 200 Words:

    ‘How many fiancées can a man have?’

    Dacia blinked at Ruslan Pajari’s abrupt question. ‘One, of course.’

    In spite of his accent and the way he sat hunched over the desk, he dominated the room. She’d expected him to be good looking, like his brother. She didn’t expect the face of a tortured angel. The severe, closely cropped pale hair only enhanced the sculptured bones of his long face and the dark ringed, grey-blue of his irises. She’d never had a physical response to a man like this. Her whole body prickled each time her gaze rested on his face and the intensity of those remarkable eyes.

    ‘It seems my brother has two.’

    A cold lump settled in the pit of her stomach. She should have known. ‘I need to be married.’

    The steely gaze flicked down to her flat stomach but she resisted the urge to dignify the unspoken question with an answer. ‘My visa requires it.’

    ‘How much?’

    Yuri had warned her but she asked anyway. ‘How much what?’

    ‘Money, Miss Temple. To enable you to vanish once more into the abyss?’

    ‘I don’t need money.’ Not yet, anyway.
    ‘There will be no marriage. You will be compensated.’

  65. Author Name:
    Kate Pharr

    Book Title:
    The Managing Director’s Proposition

    Genre:
    Contemporary Romance – Harlequin Presents

    Word Count:
    49,900

    Blurb:
    A cozy cabin in the French Alps, a crackling fire, and a bottle of Scotch spell disaster for Nicole Williams. In one reckless night, Nicole engages in a passionate affair with a handsome stranger, handing over her heart and her innocence. But when she learns that the man sleeping beside her is international playboy and oil tycoon Dominic Forester, she flees into the snowy night determined never to see him again.

    Dominic is accustomed to getting what he wants in life, and there is nothing he wants more than Nicole—the beautiful woman who vanished from his cabin a year ago. When she finally reemerges in the Alps, he approaches her with a proposition that she cannot refuse: move to London to be his personal assistant by day and his lover by night. But with secrets, lies, and emotional scars standing between them, Dominic soon suspects that their arrangement will not prevent Nicole from fleeing again.

    First 200 Words of Manuscript:
    The fresh, powdery snow could not withstand the weight of her boots. It caved instantly, the shape of her foot marring the pristine landscape. Nicole lifted her eyes from the blinding white and gazed at the pine trees towering above the ski lodge nestled on the mountainside. She was here. She was really here… in the French Alps, in the same place where she had given away her heart one year ago.

    Stamping her boots on the welcome mat, Nicole took one last breath of the crisp mountain air before opening the lodge’s front door. The din of the Friday night crowd assailed her ears, more harsh than pleasant after the peaceful walk from her cabin. She stripped off her red beret, her winter coat, and her scarf to hand to the coatroom attendant. She walked down the hallway toward the large lounging area—the room in which most skiers came to relax and flirt after an exhausting day on the slopes. But Nicole was not here to relax and flirt. She was here to bury memories. She was here to prove that she hadn’t been broken beyond repair.

  66. Melanie McCarthy
    Hiding from the Billionaire
    Contemporary Romance
    62,000 words

    Blurb

    What if you had to tell a man he was a father – not of an unborn life, not of a swaddled infant, but of a child of four?

    Sound difficult?

    Then how about this: What if you had to tell it all to a man you’ve never met?

    Four years ago, Laura conceived her child through the magic of science. On a search for medical records, she finds the birth father, only billionaire businessman Aidan Bancroft was never supposed to be a donor. What happens when the powerful man follows her to her small town and discovers the truth?

    Chapter One

    It was the type of house you pointed at as you drove past in your middle-aged sedan. The one that made you gasp – just a little – as you stared in dreamy wonder at its soaring stories, expansive lawns and pristine gardens. The home you’d never own, no matter how many extra hours you put in at the office or how many promotions you scored. The one your boss couldn’t afford, nor his boss and probably not even the one above him.

    It made you wonder who could afford it. If you knew this person to be male, in his prime and a self-made billionaire, as Laura knew to be the case with this particular mansion, then you automatically knew aspects of his personality: Strong. Powerful. In control. Uncommonly intelligent. Yes, indeed, Aidan Bancroft was all of these. Plus one other moniker, which even he didn’t know:

    Father.

  67. Author’s Name: Stephanie Haefner
    Book Title: Lemonade in Hell
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 82,000

    Blurb (Maximum 200-Words):

    When life handed Callie Dixon lemons, she made them into the number one selling citrus beverage in the country. But that sure didn’t prevent her from landing in hell anyway.

    Callie’s lemonade company is dominating the beverage world and she finds a fabulous way to expand. But coming home for a simple business deal after five years away isn’t such a great idea after all. After battling love-hate emotions for her ex, and succumbing to flirty flutters with a new guy, this quick trip turns into a complicated stay, filled with pain-in-the-ass siblings, business disasters, falling in love for real, and figuring out a 3000-mile long-distance relationship. But on the upside, she has a tasty beverage to sip while in hell.

    Ethan Evers finally has a chance with the girl of his teenage dreams, but he’s terrified beyond belief. He’s falling for her fast and his time with her is limited. He has to somehow convince her to stay in the tiny town she couldn’t run away from fast enough. But his insecurities get the best of him and he has to either come to terms with being second place in her life after her company, or walk away forever.

    1st 200 Words of the MS:

    Callie Dixon looked over at the mini Meyer lemon tree that had started it all. Damn, it had felt good to crush that first lemon with her bare hands. And she sure as hell had pictured a certain asshole’s face while doing it.

    “Ms. Dixon?” Callie’s assistant’s voice boomed through the intercom. “Marvin Appleman from Appleman’s Pies is on line one for you.”

    “Thank you, Jenna.”

    Finally. She’d been waiting to hear back from him, and hopefully move on to the next phase of her plan to dominate the food and beverage world.

    That first crushed lemon, along with all her crushed hopes and dreams, are what lead to the creation of Lemonista’s Lemonade and her lemonade empire. Callie herself was the Lemonista, offering the public her original lemon, strawberry, blackberry, pomegranate, and her newest flavor, acai berry. Bottles flew off store shelves faster than her ex had packed his stuff and moved out of their apartment. Soon there’d be a Lemonista button on every Hoagie Boys beverage station in the country, and if things went as planned, her name would also be on some pretty damn good pies, too.

    If your pitch is for a Harlequin line/imprint other than Presents, please indicate which one.

    HQN

  68. Ruth Collins
    LOVE IN OVERTIME
    Sweet Romance
    58,471 words

    LOVE IN OVERTIME
    Physical Therapist Maegan Duggan works as a basketball referee nights and weekends to save the money to start her own PT clinic for children with special needs. So when she accidentally lands in the lap of broadcaster and infamous playboy Wally McCoy, she tries to brush off the instant connection. Unfortunately, hard as she tries, she can’t get him off her mind.
    At first sight, Wall doesn’t identify Maegan as the history-making referee—the first woman to referee an NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden. He only sees her as a stunningly beautiful woman he’s drawn to in a way he’s never experienced before. When he’s not working on earning his own sports talk show, every sportscasters’ dream, he pursues Maegan in an all-out blitz.
    Can they overcome the conflicts between them and forge a love that will last the test of time?

    CHAPTER ONE

    Wally McCoy’s gaze fastened on a gorgeous woman with long red curly hair, eyes to rival the putting green at Pebble Beach, and legs worth insuring with Lloyd’s of London.
    She stepped into the first class cabin chatting with a much shorter blond woman who, if she’d been standing beside anyone else, would have been quite attractive. She looked like a plain Jane standing beside the redhead. Wally had never felt so captivated by a woman he had laid eyes on for the first time. There was something about those green eyes that compelled him to know her.
    He wished she could sit in the window seat beside him, but it was already occupied by his broadcasting partner. He looked at the empty seats across the aisle and hoped the women would sit there.
    He watched as she walked down the aisle toward him, pulling a small rolling bag behind her. As she was about to pass him, Wally noticed the blond lose her balance and push her.
    The woman lost her balance. Her arms flew up, and she crashed landed sideways in Wally’s lap. At their first touch Wally’s heart vaulted up against his throat.
    Laughter broke out in

    Pitch is for Harlequin Romance

  69. Laurie Hoffman
    Home Field
    Contemporary Romance
    75,000 – Harlequin Heartwarming

    Blurb: One year after her husband was KIA, Julie Ellis is living back in her hometown. Looking for fresh start, her focus is on raising her son, while fighting to uncover the truth about John’s death in Afghanistan. So, when she attends a military appreciation banquet, Julie’s caught off guard by her attraction to Reagan Harrison – a cocky, charming pro-football linebacker. As she begins to fall for Reagan, there’s one big problem…she’s still in love with her late husband.
    Reagan Harrison enjoys a successful profession football career. When he’s introduced to Julie Ellis, he finds every excuse in the book to spend time with her – along with her cute kid. His self imposed rules… avoiding commitment and never dating single a mother…get tossed out the window.
    As their relationship becomes more serious, Julie acknowledges that her feelings for her dead husband eclipse her love for Reagan. Because of his pride, Reagan walks away from not only Julie but from her son, the kid he’d grown to think of as his own. Julie’s left with a choice – continue to keep her heart closed off or fight for a future with Reagan.

    First 200 words:
    Four hundred and eighty four. That number cycled through Julie’s mind in cadence with her footfalls as she pushed her weary body toward home. Four hundred and eighty four days ago, Julie Ellis had answered the door to two uniformed casualty notification officers. Every day since, she’d spent in a strange limbo, not dead herself, but not truly living either. She’d woken up that morning with a strange desire to go for a run…it was time to see if she could feel again.
    Just as she couldn’t imagine taking one more step, she stumbled up to her front door and stepped into the refreshing, cool air of her house. Her body screamed that running today might have been the world’s dumbest idea. But as dumb ideas go, agreeing to attend the banquet tonight with a bunch of pro-football players tipped the scales.
    A shiver of exhaustion ran up her body. That ‘easy’ three mile run had quickly turned into a struggle on her out of shape legs. She felt as wobbly as a newborn giraffe. Running used to be fun. Now, it felt like a punishment. But then again, that was kind of the point.

  70. Dear Pippa and Carly,

    Thank you for this great opportunity!

    Name: Andrea M Hutchinson

    Title: The Surgeon’s Secret

    Genre: Contemporary romance

    Word count: 51,000 words

    Blurb: After his wife’s death, and discovering that he isn’t his teenage daughter’s biological father, the Italian Riviera should have been a new chance of anonymity for pediatric surgeon Marco. His efforts to keep the truth from his daughter, and stop her spiralling path of self-destructive behaviour binds him to neonatologist and pet therapist Ilaria, and puts an immediate end to their physical relationship that started after he helped deliver Ilaria’s premature niece.
    Ilaria will do anything to save her baby niece’s life. Even return to work at the neonatology department she publicly accused of contributing to her own child’s death. But trusting her instincts and medical ability is hard after she didn’t realise the deterioration of her baby’s condition. Trusting her heart after she was betrayed, impossible.

    First 200 words:
    Ilaria couldn’t stop the bitter taste of panic rising and finding it’s hand around her throat.
    No matter how many times she told herself that she knew what she was doing, a little voice would worm its way into her head and gloat that while she may be a pediatrician in Italy’s leading children’s hospital with a specialty in neonatology, she hadn’t actually delivered a baby since medical school.
    There was no need for Roberta to know that. And for her sister she could do calm. If the damn woman in the car in front of them would just stop letting everyone push in, she would be perfectly capable of doing calm.
    Breath. Remember to breath. In for three, out for….
    Ilaria made it to two before she blared her horn, and threw her hands up in frustration. ‘How many more people are you going to let by?!’ she shouted, as if the blasted woman could hear her.
    She took her eyes off the traffic and looked at her sister, mentally doing an examination. She placed a hand on Roberta’s belly, heard her breath hitch as her abdomen grew hard, and glanced at the digital clock on the dash.

    Harlequin line: Harlequin Medical Romance

  71. • Author’s Name: Jess Russell
    • Book Title: Mad for the Marquess
    • Book Genre: Historical (Victorian)
    • Book Word Count (completed): 97K
    • Blurb (maximum 200-word):
    In MAD FOR THE MARQUIS, brilliant JAMES DRAKE, Marquess of Devlin, is imprisoned at Ballencrieff Hall, a private madhouse. His father, though desperate for an heir, will not leave the dukedom to a drug addicted degenerate. Dev battles the devils within his head but cannot fight the ones that surround him.

    ANNE WINTON is sent to Ballencrieff from a charity school where she hopes to share her gifts of healing. She sheds her shy naiveté to immerse herself in “Lord Devil’s” tortured life, and vows to save him from his father, his brother—the perfect son—and especially from Lord Devlin, himself.

    However, as Anne struggles to reconcile her fear and attraction for this complicated man, Devlin plots to use Anne as a pawn to extricate himself from his prison. Will his schemes fall to pieces as he begins to see her not just an ends to a means, but as a beautifully passionate and caring woman? And will she ever forgive him?
    • 1st 200 words of the MS:
    The Scottish Highlands
    Late March, 1864
    At last.
    Anne Winton stepped onto the portico. The fortress of Ballencrieff Hall rose before her dark and overwhelming. A huge brass phoenix, red glass eyes staring down, dared her to enter.
    She turned back toward the iron gates far below. Like a broom her too-long cloak marked her progress through the rime of heavy frost. Would this journey be a path to freedom or only more heartache? A home or another kind of prison?
    She squeezed her eyes shut. There was no choice. She could not go back.
    Her fate lay within the walls of this madhouse.
    “I want this.” Her whisper, a puff of mist, hung in the frigid air. She straightened her shoulders and tucked the stray hairs beneath her bonnet.
    As she lifted the curved beak that served as the door’s knocker, a muffled scream came from within.
    • If your pitch is for a Harlequin line/imprint other than Presents, please indicate which one: Harlequin Historical

  72. Jessica Calella

    For consideration by Harlequin Teen

    Author: Jessica Calella (w/a Jessica Calla)
    Title: Since September
    Genre: YA Romance
    Word Count: 77,004 (completed)

    Blurb:

    Content living her life on auto-pilot, Abby has a knack for juggling everything perfectly: her divorced parents, her autistic preschool brother, her grades, and most importantly her dance career. Upon the urging of her mentor/guidance counselor, Abby catches the eye of her long-time crush, Sam, Class President and all around Mr. Perfect.

    When Sam returns Abby’s affections her life is turned upside-down. Not only is an evil cheerleader obsessed with making Abby’s life miserable, but Abby is thrown into the fires of high school hell—parties, football games, prom planning. Abby accepts that dating Sam means dating his persona too, and trusts that their love will conquer all.

    Enter Max. When Abby meets Max in December, she’s immediately drawn to his calm, relaxed approach to high school and life and they become friends. Until they become more than friends.

    As Abby struggles with her new “shaken up” life and deciding between her love for Sam and her attraction to Max, she makes a series bad choices that put her health and her heart in danger. Abby learns the hard way that succeeding in life and love requires more than a plan—it requires following your heart.

    First 200 words of MS:

    I opened the door to the Guidance Office for my first day of senior year work-study and found myself in the midst of chaos. I sighed as I looked around at the disaster, wondering how I was going to make sense of all the paperwork scattered on the giant conference table waiting for my attention. Five of the seven closet-sized offices that branched off the main room were occupied with counselors and students. Phones rang, students whined, counselors counseled. I shoved past the worktable and pushed my way through the line of impatient, overheated students. I peeked into the window of Mr. Castaldo’s office. A student sat slumped in Mr. C’s guest chair, the chair usually reserved for me. I knocked and the student jerked around while Mr. C. waved me in.

    “Hey, Double A. How’s my favorite senior?” he asked.

    The phone rang. “Hold that thought,” he said, as he picked it up. “Guidance, Jack Castaldo.”

    Mr. C. rolled his big, brown eyes and grabbed a pen as I innocently checked him out. I hadn’t seen him in two months and realized at that moment how much I’d missed him. He’d spent the summer mountain climbing in Colorado

  73. Mary Jo Springer

    Author’s Name: Mary Jo Springer

    Book Title: TAKEN BY THE SHEIK

    Book Genre: Contemporary romance/Presents

    Book Word Count: 55,392 words

    Blurb: Cassandra Sanger would do anything for her identical twin, Madeline. Anything. But this . . . this perilous scheme of twins switching places to deceive Sheik Jaffar el Karim Abdullah, the most powerful and dangerous mam in the Middle East? No way. However, Cassandra Sanger never expected the Sheik to kidnap her and plunge her into a world of mistaken identities and intrigue as perilous as the shifting sands of the Sahara. By the time Sheik Jaffar Abdullah uncovers the truth, Cassandra is in the hands of his enemies. He has to save her, she’s his new sister-in-law. What about all the lies and trickery he’s uncovered? What about the staggering fact that he’s fallen in love with her?
    MANUSCRIPT:
    It was him!
    One glance at Sheik Jaffar el Karim Abdullah and all of Cassandra Sanger’s nameless nightmares materialized. The Prince of Darkness as her sister, Madeline, tagged him. Holding back a frustrated screech of horror, every muscle in her body tensed as his laser gaze swept the ballroom, searching, searching, and then to her dismay, locked on her. Fighting off his potent stare, Cassandra turned her head and noted the exits.
    She knew why the most feared man in the universe was here . . . he’d come for her.
    Run!

  74. Vanessa Grace

    Vanessa Grace
    ROOMMATES WITH THE HOLLYWOOD PLAYBOY
    Contemporary Romance
    50,000 words
    Pitch for Harlequin Desire

    Blurb:
    Recovering from an attack by a stalker, author Lisa Graves retreats to a friend’s beach house on the Oregon coast, hoping some peace and quiet to finish her next book. Instead, gorgeous actor and notorious Hollywood Playboy Kellan Kavanagh appears, insisting he leased the beach house for the summer. His claim proves to be valid, and to keep their whereabouts secret from the world, Kellan and Lisa reluctantly agree to be temporary roommates.
    Dealing with an unwanted houseguest proves more complicated than Lisa thought as tempers flare – and sparks fly. Lisa is intrigued to find a man of substance behind Kellan’s flirtatious charm. When Kellan indicates he wants to be more than roommates, Lisa decides to give in to their mutual desire.
    Indulging in a no-strings summer romance proves to be the healing balm Lisa needed. Only the rest of the world will not be ignored for long. When Lisa’s stalker tracks her down, her secrets puts both her and Kellan in danger. She might share her body with Kellan, but can she trust the Hollywood Playboy with the truth – or her heart?
    1st 200 words
    “You were right, Joan. A few weeks here is exactly what I need.” Lisa Graves leaned against the rough wooden railing separating her from the sandy beach and amazing sunset. A soft wind tousled her already bouncy auburn curls. “I can never thank you enough.”
    “Anything to keep my favorite author safe,” said Joan through the cell phone. “Besides, if it’ll help you meet your deadline, I won’t weep at the thought of not making it to Coos Bay myself this year.”
    “I knew this generous gift wasn’t altruistic.”
    “Of course not. What kind of an agent would I be if I wasn’t completely focused on your career? Besides, you needed to get out of Chicago. Just keep me posted on your progress. I’ll handle Rick until Random House can assign a new editor.”
    Lisa’s stomach twisted at the mention of her former editor and the prime suspect in her stalker case. She took a deep, calming yoga breath and reminded herself no one but Joan and the police knew her location. “Joan, you are a treasure. Worth far more than the paltry fifteen percent you get.”

  75. Theresa Kemble

    Author Name: Terry Bennett (Pen Name)
    Book Title Picture Perfect.
    Book Genre: Harlequin Blaze
    Book Word Count (In Progress) : 55,000

    Blurb: All Lana Hamilton wanted do was to live her life on her terms. A daughter of famous parents however didn’t give her that luxury she desired. Assuming a different identity to her was the logical choice. What she didn’t bargain for was meeting a handsome mysterious stranger at speed dating event that turned out to be the hottest night of her life! The big problem? The next day on a new job, Mr. Hot Speed dater is her new boss!

    Garrett Williams didn’t need any complications in his life. He had enough trying to please his father making amends for a horrible mistake in his past. Going on a lark with his buddy to a speed dating event changed all that. He met a spunky, young beautiful woman who gave him a night of passion he hadn’t experienced in a long time. To his shock and amusement, the next day Ms. Spunky walks into his world as his new intern. The problem? He needs to resist her to keep his father happy and his priories in check. Will it happen? Probably not.

    ****
    1st 200 words.

    Why did I let Sam talk me into this? I surveyed the room full of men; some young, others not too young, hairy, bald, skinny, and those who like to eat carbs and proud of it. They waited to talk with me, and judging from the looks on their faces, they had no idea who I was. To them I was number twenty-three in the speed dating line. And Sam already left with the second guy on her list. Damn her! It’s okay; I’ll get even with her when she comes with me to the next poetry reading. And oh boy, I’m going to write the worst poetry I can think of. Maybe I’ll do some Haiku. That should teach her not to mess around with me. Sam is such a sweet girl and I know she’s just trying to help me through my break-up with Guy Silverman, my college beau. He’s the boy wonder, playwright, with phenomenal acting abilities I wasn’t quite aware of. I really should have seen this coming. That he would use me to get ahead into show business. When you’re the daughter of famous parents in the entertainment industry, you are always on your guard.

  76. Man of Stone
    Presents – 50,000
    Pitch
    Hedge Fund owner Zach’s heart has been frozen since the death of his wife and he has no intention of loving again. One of the world’s richest men his icy reserve is never breached until the intriguing Summer crosses his path. A body made for sin and compelling personality the ice starts melting.

    Summer learnt the hard way that she has only herself to rely on after being thrown out on the streets at 16 by her mother. All she craves is a home to call her own that no one can take away and has spent 6 years developing a software programme that can add profit to stock market trades.

    Three months to prove to the unnerving Zach it works, their uneasy awareness of each other is not helped when a hacking attempt means he whisks her to his private island to complete the trial. Their burning chemistry ignites but back in the UK Summer over hears him dismissing their time together as nothing special. Broken hearted she leaves. It takes Summers departure to wake Zach up from his cryogenical stupor and risk opening up to love again.

    First 200 Words

    God he was bored, he flicked a disparaging glance at the heavy platinum watch wrapped around his wrist calculating the minutes till he could make his escape. The banqueting hall was buzzing with the sound of laughter and chatter as the well clad guests took full advantage of the no expense spared hospitality, yet he remained impervious to it all. Through world weary eyes Zach disdainfully surveyed the roomful of merry wedding attendees enjoying themselves in one of the most exclusive castles in England and grimaced, he would rather be anywhere than here.

    Seated at the top table he had prime view of the proceedings unable to ignore the women fawning over themselves keen to catch his eye, some subtle some blatant but all with the same end goal. His jaded gaze lazily scanned the room, he knew all he had to do was click his fingers and any of the overly preened women would gladly come running at a moments notice. He could see it in their movements, the way they sat up straighter or started flicking their hair if he so much as glanced in their direction.

  77. Thank you CRW,Ms Roscoe and Ms Byrne for this opportunity to pitch my book to Harlequin/Mills & Boon.

    • Author’s Name: Marie Dry
    • Book Title: Greek Destiny
    • Book Genre: Contemporary Category Romance (Presents)
    • Book Word Count (completed): 51 000 words
    • Blurb (maximum 200-word)
    In London, a heavily pregnant Mikhaela, whose husband died eight months ago, battles her evil mother in law for custody of her unborn child. Nicholas Mavromichalis who savagely broke her heart five years ago, appears out of the blue, saving her by claiming her and her unborn child as his. Whisked to his tower in the Deep Mani in Greece, Mikhaela is falling in love again with the man whose motives she dared not trust, the man who had destroyed her once before.
    • 1st 200 Words of the MS:
    “You’ll never take my baby. Never,” Michaela’s scream echoed in the luxurious boardroom.
    Sudden quiet intensified the noise of the traffic outside. Car horns and an occasional shout penetrating the air-conditioned room. The three officious lawyers, sitting opposite her at the conference table, exuded power and satisfaction at her outburst.
    Portly sharks dressed in expensive suits, it said a lot about her mother in law’s power and influence that all three partners of the Lawyer firm of Hunt, Hunt and Dryer, were present at this awful meeting designed to take her unborn child from her.
    “They’re talking about buying my baby the moment he is born, as if they’re discussing a business merger. Its disgusting,” she raged softly to Charles who sat next to her. He pressed her hand and shook his head slightly. He’d told her to let him do the talking, to remain calm. She could’ve told him no mother could possibly remain quiet when threatened to have her child taken away.
    How did this happen? How did she find perfect happiness only to lose it and end up fighting for the right to raise her unborn child. Michaela looked down at her rounded stomach.

  78. P.J. Vye
    I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING
    Contemporary Romance/Harlequin Romance
    Book Word Count – 52,000
    PITCH
    Ava Remmer is a modern day mentalist who wants to teach the world her trade—by becoming a famous motivational speaker.

    Larrison Karole has no time for make-believe. But he’s desperate for a sell-out tour and is forced to manage Ava’s seminars, knowing the firm has deliberately set him up to fail.

    Ava’s special abilities have a way of convincing even the most hard-core of cynics and as the entire country falls under the charms of Ava Remmer, so does Larrison. He moves into seduction mode, only to find his not-so-subtle advances crash and burn. It seems that Ava, the human lie-detector, who can sense a secret through a ten-inch lead wall, is completely blocked when it comes to Larrison. She can’t see him longing for her.

    Ava’s transformation into an informed and professional speaker is due entirely to Larrison. She owes him everything. But his apparent ‘indifference’ consumes her. Believing her depth of feeling will never be returned, she solicits an international touring offer with another firm to put some distance between them.

    How can Larrison tell her how wrong she’s been without jeopardising her career and her credibility as a mentalist?

    FIRST 200 WORDS
    Could it be possible, that Ava Remmer—the Ava Remmer, had become victim to some kind of con? All the signs shook their finger in an I-told-you-so kind of way. The white marble walls, the reflective tiles on the floor, the designer lighting—they all seemed to be sparkling at her, just to be condescending.
    She couldn’t afford the services of a place like this. So why had they agreed to her terms, if not to swindle her out of all her savings?
    The company name shone proudly above the reception desk. SYDNEY CONSULTING AND MANAGEMENT SERVICES.
    Then it hit her.
    It was the acronym. S.C.A.M.S.
    Hoping for some reassurance, Ava glanced at the lady behind the desk with trendy red hair and designer glasses that were an uncanny match. She didn’t need much. Just a smile, a raised eyebrow, a snarl even. But the woman refused to make eye contact with her, as if she sensed a massacre and didn’t want to be emotionally involved.
    With her hands clasped tightly together, and Morse code banging in her chest, Ava resolved to stay strong. If they were trying to take advantage, she was prepared to get tough.

  79. Peggy Jaeger
    COOKING WITH KANDY
    Contemporary Romance
    Word count: 90,000
    Blurb: When private investigator Joshua Keane is hired to protect chef-lebrity Kandy Laine from a stalker, it’s a recipe for home cooking and hot loving. Mix a dash of The Bodyguard with Top Chef Masters, toss in a handful of colorful and scrumptious relatives, add a pound of heart-stopping danger and a cup of delicious, succulent sex, and you’ve got Cooking with Kandy, my contemporary romance – baked to perfection and ready to be devoured whole.

    First 200 words
    The moment Josh Keane saw Kandy Laine’s sexy, heart-stopping smile come through the wall mounted plasma monitor, he knew he was in trouble.
    Serious trouble.
    Standing on the sidelines of the studio kitchen set, where a television studio intern had instructed him to wait, visitor badge secured to his jacket, Josh watched the hostess of EBC’s most popular food show, Cooking with Kandy, film her season premier.
    “Today’s cake recipe was one of Grandma’s favorites,” Kandy said, a dimpled smile aimed directly at the camera. “She discovered early on the benefit of adding pudding to the batter to increase the moisture content.”
    Josh ran a hand through his thick, black hair from temple to neck, and blew out a breath. He was impressed, awed, and a little uneasy as he stared up at the screen. Impressed by the practiced ease with which she moved around the set kitchen, talking non-stop, explaining the details of the recipe she was preparing. Awed by the memory of what he’d read the night before in the bio her assistant had faxed him. The uneasiness came from a little kick to his midsection every time Kandy glanced up and spoke into the television camera.

    1. Author’s Name: Cheryl Jackson
      Book Title: Her Safe Place to Fall
      Genre: Contemporary Romance
      Word Count: 58,000 words
      Blurb (Maximum 200-Words): Grief-stricken Ally Parker’s anxious to forget her turbulent past and start life anew in Colorado. First, she’s got one promise to keep. Ally delivers a letter to stranger Zane McBride, a man first mentioned on her sister’s dying lips. However, the stunned Mounted Ranger drops a bomb; revealing her childless sister is his daughter’s mother! As the shocked pair navigate the uncharted waters of damaging family secrets and lies, they experience surprising attraction. Nevertheless, their mutual past heartbreaks may threaten their love—unless Ally and Zane recognize in time that the walls protecting their heart may truly be prisons.
      1st 200 Words of the MS:

      Ally Parker ignored the knots in her stomach. Her polished nails rapidly drummed on the vintage ruby-red restaurant table.
      She checked her watch. The stranger she’d arranged to meet was late. His tardiness didn’t help her fraught nerves. “Zane McBride, mystery man, where are you?” she whispered.
      She checked her cell. No messages.
      Ally peered out the Home and Hearth restaurant booth window. The historic rust-colored storefront structures of downtown Vista Peak, Colorado shimmered in the daylight. Sunlight, in ribbons of fire, painted the cobalt the sky. Beyond the buildings, purple snow-capped peaks stood in grandeur. She admired God’s handiwork.
      She observed the mountains’ sloping descent into sand-and-sienna foothills. So different than the familiar rolling green hills of Tennessee. She marveled to now call the idyllic town her home. Had it only been a few months ago that she’d bravely trekked westward, intent on a new life? Ally recalled how she’d fallen in love with Vista Peak during childhood visits to her big sister Sierra’s Alma-mater.
      Sierra. She gulped, still unable to believe her only sibling was dead. At just thirty-four. Ally clutched the pristine white sealed envelope in her lap. Her sister’s final communication. Meant for the overdue stranger.
      • Pitch for: Love Inspired line

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