Saturday, July 29, 2017

Romance Writers of America (RWA) RITA® Award Winners!

ORLANDO, FL Romance Writers of America (RWA), the trade association for published and

aspiring romance fiction authors, announced the winners of the 2017 RITA®Awards on Thursday, July 27, at a black-tie awards ceremony at its 37th Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

The RITA® Award is the highest award of distinction in romance fiction and recognizes outstanding published romance novels and novellas. 

Up to 2,000 romance novels and novellas from 13 different categories are judged each year in the RITA® competition. After the first round of judging by fellow published romance authors, the competition narrows to approximately 100 finalists. Then, final round judges, also published romance authors, select one winner in each category from among the finalists. 

2017 RWA Live Stream
RITA awards begin at 25:50 minute mark
The YA Romance award starts at 38:34 minute mark

The 2017 RITA® Award winners are:

Romance Novella: Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan

Crash has never let the circumstances of his birth, or his lack of a last name, bother him. His associations may be unsavory, but money, friends, and infamy open far more interesting doors than respect ever could. His sole regret? Once lovely, sweet Daisy Whitlaw learned the truth about how he made his fortune, she cut him off.

Daisy’s father is dead, her mother is in ill health, and her available funds have dwindled to a memory. When the local parish announces a Christmas charity bequest to help young people start a trade, it’s her last chance. So what if the grants are intended for men? If she’s good enough, she might bluff her way into a future.

When Crash offers to show her how to swagger with confidence, she knows he is up to no good. But with her life in the balance, she’s desperate enough to risk the one thing she hasn’t yet lost: her heart.

Self - published
Editor:  Lindsey Faber

Contemporary Romance Long: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

It will take a Christmas miracle for two very different souls to find each other in this perfectly festive fairy tale of New York!

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she's given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn't expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife's death looming, he's isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn't appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

Publisher: Harlequin, HQN
Editor: Flo Nicoll

Young Adult Romance: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

Publisher:  Harlequin, HQN Teen
Editor:  Margo Lipschultz

Historical Romance Long: No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke

USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke is back with the latest in her dazzling An American Heiress in London series, in which a reformed rogue finds all his honorable resolutions tested by the only woman who ever broke his heart...

After spending his youth as one of the wildest rakes in the ton, Lord Denys Somerton has devoted the past six years to putting his past behind him. He is determined to fulfill his duties, find a suitable wife, and start a family, but that plan changes when Lola Valentine—the red-haired temptress from his past—returns to London, sparking the same irresistible desires that almost ruined his life once before.

Lola is a woman with no romantic illusions. She knew love would never be enough for a British lord and an American girl from the wrong side of the tracks. For Denys’s sake, she walked away from him and the glittering life he offered. But when an unexpected inheritance brings her back to London, Lola discovers the passion between them is as hot as ever. Can they vanquish it, or will it burn out of control again and destroy them both?

Publisher:  Avon
Editor:  Erika Tsang

Romantic Suspense: Repressed by Elisabeth Naughton

Hidden Falls is exactly as Samantha Parker left it—small, insular, and prone to gossip. Eighteen years have passed since she witnessed her brother’s murder, but she’s still the talk of the town. Until a handsome child psychologist with haunting memories of his own arrives.

Dr. Ethan McClane isn’t exactly a newcomer. If it weren’t for his latest case, he’d never set foot back in Hidden Falls. Thankfully, no one seems to recognize him as the troubled teen from years past. Not even Sam, the delightfully sharp and sexy high school chemistry teacher he can’t stop thinking about.

When Sam and Ethan work together to help one of her students, sparks ignite. But Sam’s hazy memories of a long-ago night concern Ethan, and unlocking the repressed images reveals a dark connection between them. As the horrors of the past finally come to light, their relationship isn’t the only thing in danger. A killer will strike again to keep an ugly secret hidden, and this time no one will be safe.

Publisher:  Montlake Publishing
Editors:  Charlotte Herscher and Christoper Werner

Paranormal Romance: The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy

An Orphan's Throne

Magic has broken free over the Twelve Kingdoms. The population is beset by shapeshifters and portents, landscapes that migrate, uncanny allies who are not quite human…and enemies eager to take advantage of the chaos.

Dafne Mailloux is no adventurer--she's a librarian. But the High Queen trusts Dafne's ability with languages, her way of winnowing the useful facts from a dusty scroll, and even more important, the subtlety and guile that three decades under the thumb of a tyrant taught her.

Dafne never thought to need those skills again. But she accepts her duty. Until her journey drops her into the arms of a barbarian king. He speaks no tongue she knows but that of power, yet he recognizes his captive as a valuable pawn. Dafne must submit to a wedding of alliance, becoming a prisoner-queen in a court she does not understand. If she is to save herself and her country, she will have to learn to read the heart of a wild stranger. And there are more secrets written there than even Dafne could suspect…

Publisher:  Kensington Publishing Corp.
Editor:  Peter Senftleben

Erotic Romance: Off the Clock by Roni Loren


Overtime has never felt so good…

Marin Rush loves studying sex. Doing it? That’s another story. In the research lab, Marin’s lack of practical knowledge didn’t matter, but now that she’s landed a job at The Grove, a high-end, experimental sex therapy institute, she can’t ignore the fact that the person most in need of sexual healing may be her.

Dr. Donovan West, her new hotshot colleague, couldn’t agree more. Donovan knows that Marin’s clients are going to eat her alive unless she gets some hands-on experience. And if she fails at the job, he can say goodbye to a promotion, so he assigns her a list of R-rated tasks to prepare her for the wild clientele of The Grove’s X-wing.

But some of those tasks are built for two, and when he finds Marin searching for a candidate to help her check off her list, Donovan decides there’s only one man for the job—him. As long as they keep their erotic, off-the-clock activities strictly confidential and without strings, no one will get fired—or worse, get attached…

Publisher:  Penguin Random House, Berkley
Editor:  Kate Seaver

Amazon | B&N

Historical Romance Short: A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen

Love takes the stage...

Elise deVries is not what she seems. By night, the actress captivates London theatergoers with her chameleon-like ability to slip inside her characters. By day, she uses her mastery of disguise to work undercover for Chegarre & Associates, an elite agency known for its discreet handling of indelicate scandals. But when Elise is tasked with locating the missing Duke of Ashland, she finds herself center stage in a real-life drama.

Noah Ellery left the glamour of the London aristocracy to pursue a simpler life in the country. He's managed to avoid any complications or entanglements—that is, until he lays eyes on Elise and realizes there's more to this beautiful woman than meets the eye. But when Elise reveals her real identity—and her true feelings for him—the runaway duke must confront the past he left behind . . . to keep the woman he loves forever.

Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Editor:  Alex Logan

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements: My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray

Former bad girl Katie Stone can feel the weight of her reputation settle over her as she drives home for the first time in years. Feeling deeply guilty about her past mistakes, Katie wants to do the right thing for once. But the small town where she grew up is not nearly as forgiving as she’d hoped. Despite it all, she’s determined to help her parents cope with her mother’s recent illness, and Katie finds a surprise ally in the man next door.

Asher Powell never minded being the son of a small-town pastor until a recent breakup leaves him wounded by lifelong members of his church. He remembers his new neighbor as a mean-spirited high school troublemaker, but he senses that her newfound faith and desire for forgiveness are sincere.

Through an unexpected friendship, two people from different worlds find peace, hope, and a second chance they never dreamed was possible.

Publisher:  Amzon, Waterfall Press
Editor:  Amy Hosford

Contemporary Romance Short: Christmas on Crimson Mountain by Michelle Major


Peace and quiet—that's all Connor Pierce wanted from the rented cabin on Crimson Mountain. Yet the caretaker turned out to be lovely April Sanders—a total distraction. As were the two little girls she was caring for. Connor's plan to forget his painful past soon detoured into giving the ladies a Christmas to remember.

Being named guardian of two motherless girls has upended April's world. Add to the mix a mysterious, brooding writer claiming he wanted to be left alone while going out of his way to bring a little joy to the girls, and she has quite the quandary. April had counted herself out of a happy ending. But maybe Santa still had a few surprises up his merry old sleeve…

Publisher:  Harlequin, Special Edition
Editor:  Gail Chasan

Contemporary Romance Mid-length: Carolina Dreaming by Virginia Kantra

When it comes to love, anything can happen on Dare Island—especially in this latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra.

After escaping a disastrous marriage, bakery owner Jane Clark has convinced herself that she has everything she needs—her precious son, a thriving business, and a roof over her head. But the arrival of a handsome stranger on the island shows her exactly what she’s been missing...

The only home Gabe Murphy ever had was the Marine Corps. He's working hard to rebuild his life. It will take a special place, and a special woman, to make him want to stay.

Now Gabe is determined to prove that he's worthy of Jane’s trust—and her love. But when her past reappears, that trust will be tested, and Jane and Gabe will have to fight hard to hold onto their love and make their dreams a reality...

Publisher:  Berkley Publishing Group
Editor:  Cindy Hwang

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel

There is no easy path for a woman aspiring to power. . . .

A concubine at the palace learns quickly that there are many ways to capture the Emperor’s attention. Many paint their faces white and style their hair attractively, hoping to lure in the One Above All with their beauty. Some present him with fantastic gifts, such as jade pendants and scrolls of calligraphy, while others rely on their knowledge of seduction to draw his interest. But young Mei knows nothing of these womanly arts, yet she will give the Emperor a gift he can never forget.

Mei’s intelligence and curiosity, the same traits that make her an outcast among the other concubines, impress the Emperor. But just as she is in a position to seduce the most powerful man in China, divided loyalties split the palace in two, culminating in a perilous battle that Mei can only hope to survive.

The first volume of the Empress of Bright Moon duology paints a vibrant portrait of ancient China—where love, ambition, and loyalty can spell life or death—and the woman who came to rule it all.

Publisher: Sourcebooks, Landmark
Editor: Shana Drehs and Anna Michels

Best First Book: Once and for All by Cheryl Etchison

The Rangers of the 1st/75th fight hard, train hard and play hard. They are physically strong and mentally tough, disciplined and courageous. But all their military training hasn't prepared them for falling in love.

Rule #1: Military and matrimony don’t mix.

But if there’s one person Staff Sergeant Danny MacGregor would break all his rules for, it’s Bree—his first friend, first love, first everything. Maybe he likes playing the hero. Maybe he’s trying to ease ten years of guilt. Either way, he’ll do whatever he can to help her.

Wish #1: A little bit of normal.

Bree Dunbar has battled cancer, twice. What she wants most is a fresh start in a place where she can find a new job, and where people aren’t constantly treating her like she’s sick. By some miracle her wish is granted, but it comes with one major string attached— the man who broke her heart ten years before.

The rules for this marriage of convenience are simple: when she’s ready to stand on her own two feet, she’ll walk away and he’ll let her go. Only, as they both know all too well, things don’t always go according to plan… 

Publisher:  Avon, Impulse

Congratulations to all the winners!

Which books have your read?  Which ones will be added to your TBR list?


  1. I haven't read any of these, so I have a whole bunch to add to my TBR

  2. I also haven't read any of these. I just added No Mistress of Mine to my TBR!

  3. So happy to see JLA win a RITA! I loved The Problem With Forever and it deserves all the love.

  4. Haven't read of these, but The Problem With Forever is on my TBR for the end of this year.