Friday, January 6, 2012

Hold Me If You Can Launch Party + Giveaway!

A BIG Casa welcome to fellow Sourcebooks Casablanca author Stephanie Rowe, celebrating the release of the final book in her Soulfire Series, Hold Me If You Can!

Hooray! I'm SO excited for the launch party for my new book, HOLD ME IF YOU CAN, the third book in my Soulfire series. I love all the books in this series, and I adore all the manly warriors who are so resistant to their softer side (e.g. "Who me? Expert hair stylist? I have no idea what you're talking about." Tattooed warrior attempts an innocent expression while shoving his round hairbrushes behind his oh-so-sharp sword.)

The Soulfire series is about a team of immortal warriors who have recently escaped from the Den of Womanly Pursuits, after 150 of torture and sensitivity training by Death's grandma. These hardened survivors can, much to their dismay, wield a pair of knitting needles as well as they can vanquish a demon with a sword. Not that they will admit that. Ever. Denial only goes so far, however… If a man's got a talent with a curling iron, he can hide it for only so long…

In HOLD ME IF YOU CAN, book three, Nigel Aquarian is the only warrior who's entirely at peace with his softer side. Give him a sketch pad and some markers, and he's happy. But those that giveth taketh away, and Nigel suddenly finds that his art has become deadly to those he loves. Without his art, Nigel has no outlet for his darker side. He has to find a way to regain control before he kills everyone he loves, and the only woman who can help him is Natalie Fleming, a passionate woman with a talent for chocolate, demons and maybe, just maybe, his salvation. If, of course, they don't kill each other first.

Does that whet your appetite for a little sensitive warrior time? If so, well, this is your lucky week! To celebrate the release of HOLD ME IF YOU CAN, one lucky commentator from today's post will win a copy! See the end of the blog for details about how to enter.

The reviews for HOLD ME IF YOU CAN are already rolling in, and I'm so excited to see that other people love Nigel and Natalie as much as I do (I particularly like the one that ruminates over whether I am brilliant or slightly psychotic…J):

·         "Stephanie Rowe is a master of literary illusion… She is either brilliantly gifted or just a tad psychotic. If it’s the latter, the world is in serious trouble, because she is insidiously devious. She has created this sparkly, incredibly detailed magical world." You Gottta Read Reviews
·         "HOLD ME IF YOU CAN is a paranormal romance with a lot of spunk and heart! Stephanie Rowe has crafted a fun and fantastically addictive series with zany characters and plenty of thrills…. I devoured this book in a few sittings. Mainly because among the humor and excitement was a truly captivating story! HOLD ME IF YOU CAN will have you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what's going on and how the story will pan out. Not to mention the fact that this book is dangerously sexy. Natalie and Nigel have a pretty amazing chemistry that will leave readers gasping for breath." The Romance Reviews
·         "The third in Rowe’s Soulfire series, Hold Me if You Can is full of smart quips, adventure and sultry romance and, good news for new readers, this title can stand on its own. It’s a great escape for fans of paranormal, and there’s a little levity mixed in with the death-defying danger. Rowe writes books with something for everyone and is an author to keep on your must-buy list." RT Book Reviews

And here's a sneak peek, so you can see for yourself exactly how much trouble Reina and Jarvis are going to be causing for each other… 

Minutes, hours, eons of time passed before Natalie finally slowed the car down. She looked over her shoulder, but there was no one following them. Of course no one was following them. There was no car for the bad guys to chase her with. 

Natalie unclenched her hands from the steering wheel and flexed them, trying to get the cramps out. They'd made it out alive. They weren't being followed. They were alive for chance number two… and heaven only knew what that was going to be.

It took several more minutes, but she finally found the highway and pulled out on it, heading back toward the city. The car purred effortlessly as she edged up the speedometer, but this time, the ride wasn't smooth and relaxing.

This time, there was the rapid thumping of hundreds of knives peppering the interior of the trunk. How long would Nigel continue the assault? How long until he cut through the metal and started destroying the world? Where could she take him to get help for him?

Christian has said to meet at Nigel's house, but she had no idea where he lived. She'd seen Nigel only at her house that she used to share with her sister, when he'd come by with Jarvis to see Reina, before her sister had moved into Jarvis's place.

So… where was Christian? Nowhere she could find. Not before—

A blade hissed past her shoulder and thudded into the dashboard.

Okay, yeah, so apparently they were now out of time. She didn't have time to find Christian. It was up to her, which really weren't the odds she was hoping for. She rifled through Nigel's glove box and found a sketchpad and pens. She hated to violate his oath by giving him drawing supplies, but he had to get sane, and quickly. He'd be more upset if he killed everyone… wouldn't he?

She took the next exit off the highway and pulled off onto a side street. Ahead was an empty ball field, a local park that was quiet and apparently shut down for the evening. She yanked the steering wheel to the right, and the car lurched over the curb with a clank that couldn't be good for a luxury vehicle. She careened down a steep embankment, floored it to the outfield, and then slammed on the brakes.

She dove out of the car as a series of metal darts escaped from the trunk. A knife slammed through the headrest right where her head had been. Yes, okay, this was going well.

She grabbed the drawing supplies, dropped to her belly, and inchwormed along the side of the car, trying to stay beneath the range of killer metal. She reached the back door and gripped the trunk. "Okay, Nigel," she shouted. "I'm going to throw you a sketchpad—"

"No!" His roar was deafening even though the metal.

"Yes! Just don't finish the picture!" She pulled the cover off so he could access a blank page, and then froze when she saw the image he'd drawn on the book.

It was of her.

Sitting on the windowsill in her family room, knees hugged to her chin, staring out the window. She was wearing slippers, sweats, and a tattered pink teddy bear T-shirt. Her face was in shadows, her eyes heavy, and a single tear was on her cheek. She remembered that moment. It had been the first day after she'd nearly died. Her first morning alive without being cursed.

She'd been too terrified of who she was to even step outside, so she'd sat there in the window and watched the flowers.

Nigel had sat in that room all day with her. Never speaking. Never intruding. Simply being there, providing reassurance that if the Godfather came back, if all hell broke loose, Nigel would be there to help her manage it.

He'd been drawing all day, but never looking at her.

She hadn't thought he'd drawn her. She hadn't realized. But…

She flipped to the next page.

Another drawing of her. The same pose. The same clothes. The same moment.

But this time he'd drawn her with a smile on her face. A twinkle in her eye. She was laughing, and her arms were outstretched, as if she were reaching for him to give him a hug.

Her heart tightened as she looked into her carefree eyes. It was a face of peace, a face of laughter, a face that had learned not to fear life, or who she was, but to simply love.

He'd drawn her as she wanted to be. Courageous. Happy. Dear God, she never thought she'd see that expression on her face. And there she was. He'd seen it. He'd caught it. He believed in her. She looked beautiful.

Tears filled her eyes. Dammit. Why couldn't she be that woman? Why couldn't she just be happy? Why did she have to live in fear? Maybe Smutty was right. Maybe the answer was to cleanse the hell out of her and let the inner peace rise to the top.

Angry now, angry at herself, angry at Nigel for making her see what she wasn't, she tore the paper off, and then gaped at what he'd drawn on the next page.

She was on a bed. A huge bed with white posts and a white comforter. She was on her side, wearing a sexy black silk nightgown. Simple, edged with lace, with thin straps so decadent and tempting. It was the Natalie of Sex. Natalie of Orgasms. The Natalie who had gotten herself killed.

Her body wrenched, and cold fear coursed through her as she looked at the decadent woman she'd once been, the one that had died for sex. Of course he would see her like that! He'd been there when she'd lost it. When she'd gone over the top toward her death. When she'd been drugged out on the big O…

Then she noticed the bouquet of roses on the table by the bed. Pink roses for love, not red for passion. And then she saw the expression on her face. It was a half-smile of peacefulness, of invitation, of softness. There was no desperation in her eyes, and her body was relaxed and at peace, as if she was waiting for romance, for lovemaking, not for random hot sex with an almost stranger.

She gripped the pad, her throat tightening. The picture was beautiful. It was sexy but peaceful. Safe. It was lovemaking, not raw, hard, dangerous sex. It was lovely. It was sensuality in its most beautiful form. Passion that would never hurt, never endanger, never threaten.

Tears filled her eyes, and she pressed the pad to her chest. Nigel really saw her that way? She hadn't thought of lovemaking in such a beautiful way since her awful experience. Nigel's kisses had been beautiful, and they'd created a yearning in her, but never had the vision of the kind of love and passion she craved been so vivid.

Nigel's picture, the way he'd captured the tenderness on her face, the love shining in her eyes… he made her see a future she hadn't taken the time to conceive of. He gave her hope. Was it really possible for her to get there? A man like Nigel, with his art, and his vision, could he take her there? Keep her safe and make her a woman at the same time—

A blade sliced through the sketchpad. She jumped at the intrusion and looked up to see a gaping wound in the trunk of the car. She could hear grunts now, Nigel's courageous battle to defeat the monster within.

She looked down at the sketchpad, at the picture of her being the woman she wanted to be. Seductive, loving, embracing of life. Passion in a world of beauty and commitment of the soul. Nigel had seen her in that way and he'd believed in her enough to bring her along on his foray into the Den. He'd trusted her to keep him safe, to keep the monster at bay, to keep him from betraying his friends. He'd known she had that sensuality inside her, and he'd counted on her being able to access it when it counted.

Her fingers closed over the pen. How could she abandon him? Take a shortcut by forcing him to draw and endanger someone else he cared about? If Nigel saw so much peace and serenity in her, if he perceived her as a sensual being who basked in the glory and wonder of desire and passion, then so could she.

She threw the pen aside, tore the sensual picture out, and tucked it in her back pocket. She would treasure it always, use it as her inspiration for the future she wanted.

Then she turned to face the trunk. She took a breath and set her hands on the handle. She closed her eyes and focused on the image he'd drawn. The pure, beautiful passion of it. She imagined his hands caressing the paper as he'd drawn her body. As he'd created her lace nightgown, the curves of her body, and the beautiful spirit that he saw flowing from her soul.

She envisioned the woman she wanted to be, allowed the sensual part inside her that had been dead for so long to come alive. At the first pulse of desire within her, fear came fast on its heels, dampening the budding passion. Dammit! She wasn't going to be able to reach that place of powerful sensuality by herself. She couldn't break through those barriers on her own. The fear was too deep, and quite frankly, the high pressure situation was just not making her feel sexy.

But men could feel sexy at any time, right? They were like steam pistons. And Nigel could make her feel safe… even while he was unloading knives and daggers into her? Well, only one way to find out.
She'd responded to Nigel before. Why not again? This time she wanted it. She needed it. She needed to be the woman she had never been.

It was time to take control. Or rather, make him take control of her. If he could trust her to bring him back from the edge, then she could trust him not to hurt her.

Another blade cleaved through the trunk and narrowly missed  her side. Okay, maybe she did trust him, but clearly, there wasn't time to waste debating it. It was time to bring Nigel out and allow him into her soul, into her heart, and into the very core of who she was. And that was far more scary than any blade could ever be.

But as she gripped the latch on the back of the car, she knew that if there was anyone she would trust with her greatest terror, it was the man who had come to mean so much to her.

It was time for her to stop running, and to find the courage she'd never had.

She took a deep breath, swallowed hard, then kicked the trunk open and turned herself over to him.

The dark, tortured, deadly warriors in the Soulfire series all have their special talent, be it crossing stitching, hair styling or flower arranging. What's your favorite unusual quirk that has made you fall in love with a hero in a book you've read? Share it in the comments, and a lucky commentator will receive a copy of HOLD ME IF YOU CAN!

Four-time RITA Award nominee and Golden Heart Award winner Stephanie Rowe is a nationally bestselling author and has more than 25 contracted titles with major publishers such as HarperCollins, Dorchester, and Harlequin. Stephanie has charmed reviewers with her unique blend of humor and otherworldly magic. She lives outside Boston, Massachusetts. You can find out more at

Thank you for visiting with us again, Stephanie! Answer Stephanie’s question in the comments and you’ll be entered to win one of two copies of Hold Me If You Can! 2 winners, US and Canada addresses only, and please leave an email address so we can contact you. Winners will be chosen on Monday, December 9.


  1. Hi Stephanie,

    just wanted to stop by and say hello. The series sounds terrific and I love all the covers.

    Don't enter me in the contest, because I live overseas

  2. Congratulations on your latest release! Reading the premise gave me my first smile today.

  3. Congrats on the new release! Not entering, as I live in Holland.

  4. Congrats on the release, Stephanie. I really like your hero's quirk. Usually it's the heroines who have a quirk. Great idea!

  5. Love quirky heroes. It makes them oh, so human! Congratulations on the release.

  6. Congratulations on your release, Stephanie!! Really sounds great!

  7. Hi Danny! Thanks for stopping by and for the nice words!

    Thanks, Tracey! Smiles are a very good thing!

    Thanks, Aurien!

    Thanks, ShanaGalen & Carolyn! I'm glad you like my twist with my heroes. I wanted to be little non-traditional with this series and make these guys a little more complex. They aren't so happy with me, of course...

    Thanks, Terry!

  8. When a premise is this good (why-didn't-I-think-of-that good) the book has to be a great read. Is three the limit, or will there be more epic battles over knitting needles and ninja demons?

  9. You're so funny, Grace! I'm glad you like the idea! There will be more books! SEIZE WITH YOUR KISS will be out this summer with Christian's story.

  10. I love Val the pianist in The Virtuoso by Grace Burrowes. Those hands! Looking forward to reading this, Stephanie!

  11. I enjoy quirky characters. It makes them more human.

    sgiden at

  12. I read a book not too long ago, and the hero was afraid of the dark. It was well written and believable. Made you want to just reach thru and help the handsome devil.
    Thank you for the chance at the giveaway!
    Sebrina_Cassity at yahoo dot com

  13. Hi Stephanie, congrats on the new release. This book looks great and would love to win and read. You are a new author for me and always looking for new books to check out. Loved the excerpt and can't wait to check out the rest of the book.
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  14. Don't know if it's a quirk per se, but in one series I read the Hero was always calling home to check on his "girls" they were his dogs! I loved that!

  15. the quirk I love the best is their snark. I love a man in lit with snark and wit and Rowe has created that in her characters in spades. It is sad to see the end but that cover is a powerhouse of hotness!
    thank you and congrats for this series.

    terilhack at yahoo dot com

  16. I enjoy some dark hidden mystery in my men in books and with this series these men are all so fabulous.
    Congrats on bringing these characters to page, it has been a great series to read.
    The post was fabulous.

    kasuranna at yahoo dot com

  17. Hi Stephanie

    I have your other books in this series. So great! This definitely whets my appetite. I can't wait for more. Would love to win.

  18. Enjoyed the description...snickered at the idea of being "tortured" by learning handicrafts. I like the heroes who have "dust bunnies" that look mild and unassuming until they are threatened...I identify with them (-:

    Thanks and good luck with the new release!

  19. It's not really a quirk, but I always fall in love with a hero who falls for a women who's not of the "conventional" norms for beauty, for the person they are, not their looks. Gets me every time.
    Love the story idea, will have to read these, don't know how I've missed them. (adding to my TBR list :D )

  20. not really quirkiness, but I just love Gideon from Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld. His inability to tell the truth makes for some interesting reading....
    Thank you for the contest and the opportunity to win your wonderful book.

  21. I love a painter or musician. I can't explain it. Maybe it comes from my husband who has such a sexy voice when he sings but can't read a note of music.

  22. i love a bit of weakness.. makes the big tough heroic man a bit more appealing... and a sense of humor!
    i would love to win this book, thanks for the chance!

    alainala AT hotmail DOT ca

  23. Hello...

    Congrats on your release. I like Eloisa James' Duke of Villiers who enjoyed playing chess even more than his own health.

  24. What's your favorite unusual quirk that has made you fall in love with a hero in a book you've read?

    In Eloisa James' When Beauty Tamed the Beast, the hero was an Earl, but he was also a physician, who treated patients, studied medicine, and just wanted to heal, even though he had a leg injury that left him in pain constantly. His relief for his pain was swimming in an ocean pool, which was a bit quirky as well as his profession.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  25. Wow - what an exciting exceprt! Congratulations on your latests release!!

  26. Congrats on the new release Stephanie! In the book Inside Out by Lauren Dane, the hero gives the heroine poems he wrote as well as sketches of her. He had always come across as a devil may care ladies man. I guess still waters run deep. His poetic side was a pleasant surprise.

    geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

  27. Blaine stole my heart with his concern over keeping that one cross stitch project safe. It totally threw me for a loop when I first read it, but then I realized it was sort of his calming safety net. Just like that, sucked in.

    eyesofblueice (at) gmail (dot) com

  28. Enjoyed the excerpt and what a gorgeous cover! Probably not a quirk but when they talk with a bit of an accent I find it sexy lol.


  29. Hi Stephanie!
    CONGRATS on your latest... looks really good!!!

    Your hero's certainly do have some interesting quirks:) Can't wait to read more about them! I actually can't recall reading about an interesting quirk in a hero during my reading travels.

  30. Hi, Stephanie.

    I enjoyed the post. The characters have grabbed me, already. I'm adding this to my wish list.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  31. Congrats on the new release. Sounds like a great book. Can't wait to read it. Thanks for the giveaway.


  32. Congrats Stephanie on the new release! And congrats on the totally awewome reviews! I do love quirky heros, and ones that have some weaknesses too.


  33. Congrats on the release! Looking forward to reading it. Its funny, I love quirky characters, they really add alot to a story. But I cant think of one trait right now.

  34. Congrats on the release Stephanie.
    I enjoyed the excerpt.

    In Rachel Caine's Morganville series there is a really quirky character. he has a pet spider and fanged bunny slippers.He just does unexpected things that throws everyone off.I love Myrnin.


  35. Hello! The winners of Hold Me If You Can are Kara Lee Lovell and Linda McDonald. I will be emailing you shortly--congrats!