#GuestPost Katherine Kayne, author of “Bound in Flame”

Have You Never Read a Romance Novel? Maybe Now is the Time…


It’s no secret that dealing with the pandemic has created challenges forKatherine Kayne everyone. Situations vary from merely inconvenienced to downright dangerous whether from illness or finances or both. The result? Anxiety and more anxiety.

I don’t know about you, but I find I need an escape. But not just any escape mind you, I’ve learned what’s best for me something comfortable, fun, and interesting but doesn’t keep me up at night. And frankly something with few surprises. Now is NOT the time to jump out from behind a wall and yell boo at me! Just don’t.

I’m not alone.

That’s why so many of us are re-visiting things. You know what I mean. Re-watching all the seasons of the Big Bang Theory. Or Gilmour Girls. Re-reading The Babysitter’s Club. Or even Harry Potter. And for music? The list is just as endless. Anything from the 80s works for me. On endless repeat. I re-do stuff to take myself back to times and places where life seemed more, dare I say, normal? But perhaps just as importantly, these things deliver experiences where the outcome is predictable. I know what to expect.

And right now that is a good thing. A very good thing. And I want more of it.

Enter the romance novel. I know. I KNOW. You’ve heard all the nonsense about frivolity and bodice ripping. Let me tell you something, today’s romance novels are very different from thirty years ago. These are not your mother’s romances. Of course there is always a romance and yes always a happy ending (which can range from happily ever after to happily for now) but there the resemblance ends. These books are high quality, the authors talented and the writing polished. And most importantly you always know how they will turn out. Like I just said, no surprises please.

Think about this for a minute. I can honestly say that the times we face contain the biggest wall of uncertainty I have ever needed to climb in my very long lifetime. It’s in your face every darn day. You need to do the best you can to take good care of yourself. That is why I think having escapes is so important.

Don’t get me wrong. I am actually optimistic that we will pull through this pandemic better and smarter than we were before. But until it is over I am afraid we have some long stretches ahead where It will be impossible to know what will come next. So why not choose to escape into the comfort of a happy ending? That is what I am doing.

Think of these books as comfort food. With zero calories. Why not?

Now romance novels, like life, come in huge variety. While a happy ending is guaranteed there can be some twists and turns along the way. Here are a few of authors to consider who write happy books.

The Friendship ListSusan Mallery – Susan, with multiple NYT bestsellers under her belt, just published her 150th book, The Friendship List I am preparing to hunker down with this one myself. I know I can count on Mallery for unexpected heroines, hunky heroes and a satisfying happy ending.


Alyssa Cole – The books in her Reluctant A Princess in TheoryRoyals series are delicious contemporary takes on the old long lost princess tales. Start with A Princess in Theory. A graduate student learns she is betrothed to an African prince by email? Of course it is a scam…or is it? You won’t be disappointed.


The Duke and IJulia Quinn – For something historical Julia Quinn cannot be beat. Start with The Duke and I which is the first in her Bridgerton series. Set in Regency England with all the necessary la-ti-da and tea drinking. And of course a scandal or two. The books are becoming a Netflix series right now! The buzz is amazing. It is a Shondaland project so of course it will be good.


And of course, if what you want is to be swept away to Hawaii please try my own effort Bound in Flame. Horses, magic, flower bedecked ladies with bullwhips. Not to mention those rarest of creatures – handsome men who like to dance. Pure Aloha. I’d love to have you join me.

Bound in Flame

Bound in Flame (Hawaiian Ladies’ Riding Society)

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So there you go, a few ideas for positive escapism. And may we all be moving toward our own Happily Ever After.

Be well.


Katherine Kayne is the author of Bound in Flame, the first in a series about hard-riding Hawaiian suffragettes at the turn of the twentieth century. Her next installment, a prequel novella, Pistols in Paradise will be out this fall! You can check her out and join her newsletter at katherinekayne.com. Yes, there are cocktail recipes!


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“An Extraordinary Union (The Loyal League Book 1)” by Alyssa Cole

An Extraordinary Union cover

An Extraordinary Union (The Loyal League Book 1)

by Alyssa Cole

Genre: Historical Fiction/AfricanAmerican

2.99 at time of posting!

An Entertainment Weekly TOP 10 ROMANCE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
Bookpage TOP PICK
Kirkus BEST BOOKS OF 2017
Vulture TOP 10 ROMANCE BOOKS OF 2017
Publishers Weekly BEST BOOKS OF 2017
A Booklist TOP 10 ROMANCE FICTION 2017

“Richly detailed setting, heart-stopping plot, and unforgettable characters.” —Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author

As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy’s favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . . .

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“A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals” by Alyssa Cole

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A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals

by Alyssa Cole

Genre: Romantic Comedy/Multicultural

5.99 at time of posting!

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

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“Let Us Dream” by Alyssa Cole

99¢ for a #LimitedTime!

Let Us Dream cover

“Let Us Dream”

Author: Alyssa Cole

Genre: Historical Romance/Multicultural/20th Century

Release Date: February 28, 2017

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**2017 RITA Finalist**
A rebellious cabaret owner and her stubborn chef pursue life, liberty, and happiness in 1917 Harlem…and find love where they least expect it.

After spending half her life pretending to be something she’s not, performance is second nature for cabaret owner Bertha Hines. With the election drawing near and women’s voting rights on the ballot, Bertha decides to use her persuasive skills to push the men of New York City in the right direction.

Chef Amir Chowdhury jumped ship in New York to get a taste of the American Dream, only to discover he’s an unwanted ingredient. When ornery Amir reluctantly takes a job at The Cashmere, he thinks he’s hit the bottom of the barrel; however, working at the club reignites his dream of being a force for change. His boss, Bertha, ignites something else in him.

Bertha and Amir clash from the start, but her knowledge of politics and his knowledge of dance force them into a detente that fans the flames of latent desire. But Bertha has the vice squad on her tail, and news from home may end Amir’s dream before it comes to fruition. With their pasts and futures stacked against them, can Amir and Bertha hold on to their growing love?