Hot toddies: Robyn Rychards

NSFW content: please note that our ‘hot toddies’ series contains explicit language and (very) adult situations.

Here in Australia, the weather is getting colder. We’re dragging out the blankets and brewing up the cocoa, but it’s not doing the job. We need something hot.

Luckily, Escape artists have come to the rescue. They’ve provided some of the most scorching scenes from their books for us to enjoy. As the cold winds blow outside, we’ll be heating up with some ‘hot toddies’.

Winter is coming. And so our are heroes and heroines.

From Her Knight in Shining Armour by Robyn Rychards

There was a few minutes of silence, the only sound Sterling’s movements and the murmur of voices from across the lake. Then he said, his voice low, ‘Paisley, I want you to come out here and give me a big hug.’

Just in time she managed not to screech her reply, ‘What?’

‘For crying out loud, just do it.’

The urgency in his tone was more than enough. She scampered out of the tent and flung herself into his arms, wrapping one arm around his neck and resting the hand of her sore arm on his waist. Laughing heartily, he snatched her to him, squeezing her tightly before moving his hands to the small of her back, pressing his hips into hers as he arched back from her slightly. In a hushed voice he told her, ‘I have no idea why, but they are headed back over here. I want to scare them off.’ He buried his face in her neck, making sure his body shielded her from their view as they neared the campsite.

Letting out a moan, she told him huskily and just a touch loudly, ‘My God, Sterling, you turn me on faster than a light switch!’

He laughed quietly into her neck before he lifted his head and said, ‘You little animal. You’re wearing me out you know. Who would’ve thought camping could be such a turn on?’

She moved her hand from his neck and tangled her fingers in the hair on the side of his head, surprised by how soft and silky it was. ‘Something about being naked in the wilderness, I think,’ she told him before grabbing a handful of his hair, and pulling his face closer, she placed her open mouth on his. Curiously, she felt him stiffen as she ran her tongue over his bottom lip, and she thought for a moment he was going to pull away. Then his mouth opened, his tongue meeting hers as his hands molded their lower bodies together and she decided she’d imagined it. After that she was just grateful for the strength of his arms for she didn’t think she could hold herself up to save her life.

His lips and tongue did a complete exploration of her mouth, savoring every spot before moving on to the next. She could feel the reluctance, the desperate grab for control as he eased away to end the kiss, burying his face once again in the side of her neck. His breath feathered across her skin as he whispered in her ear, ‘Where are they, can you see them?’

Crashing back to reality, she looked over his shoulder, but it took a few moments for her to assimilate what she was looking at. The riders were stopped several hundred yards away talking to each other. As one of them looked their way, she buried her face in his neck and took a bite. Sterling groaned and moved his hips against her. ‘Do that again. Harder.’ he breathed into her ear, his voice tortured.

As she did so, she felt every muscle in his body tighten before a shudder passed through him and he raised his head to say a little more loudly, so his voice would carry, ‘Baby, I need you! Just a quickie.’

She laughed suggestively. ‘If you haven’t figured it out yet, hot and quick is how I like it.’

For her ears only he said, ‘Jesus, Paisley, I’m damn near ready to explode. I’m having a heck of a time coming to terms with what you do to me…’ Then more loudly, a ragged edge to his voice, ‘Don’t you worry, it’ll be hot alright.’ Releasing her, he turned her toward the tent, keeping his hands on her waist as he moved her in that direction, his body burning against the back of her from shoulder to thigh. Putting an arm around her waist, he pulled her tightly back against him, running his tongue up her neck and biting her earlobe, before saying, ‘Get in there woman, I don’t think I can wait much longer.’ After they ducked inside, Sterling zipped the flap closed behind them.

Weak and shaky, Paisley crawled across the tent to sit on the sleeping bag, reaction starting to set in. Fear and desire were an interesting combination.

‘Oh, God, help me get this off,’ Sterling said suggestively as he found himself a spot to sit. When she stared dumbly at him, he whispered, ‘Your turn.’

That’s right, they still had an audience. So she moaned and bumped her shoulder against the side of the tent. ‘Oh Sterling, do that again…’ Then she made the mistake of looking at him, getting ensnared in smoldering eyes. She had never wanted anything so much in her life as she did at that moment. Not even escape.

He reached out a hand as though to touch her before stiffening and letting it fall back to his side. ‘How’s that? Is that what you mean?’

‘Oh yes,’ she returned throatily, dragging out the “s” sound.

Sterling groaned loudly, sounding genuinely frustrated. ‘I don’t think I can take much more,’ was his reply and she knew he meant every word of it. She felt exactly the same.

They sat there immobile, eyes locked, hardly able to breathe. Even when they heard the sound of retreating hooves they remained motionless, trying desperately to restrain their emotions and bodies.

Suddenly Sterling was scrambling out of the tent muttering, ‘I hope to hell I never have to do something like that again.’

Released from the hold of that burning gaze, Paisley collapsed backwards, flinging her arm over her face with a groan. Ditto!

She needed to get out of here as soon as humanly possible, away from danger, the kind her ex-husband represented and a new kind, Sterling. 


She may not need a knight in shining armour to save her, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to look a gift knight in the visor…

My book setting: Colorado

by Robyn Rychards

It’s a wonderful thing to live somewhere that’s an international vacation destination because your backyard is a place that people travel from around the world to see. It also makes it a great locale for a story. Or two. The Colorado Rockies are a travel destination in the winter for skiers from around the world—think Vail and Aspen—and in the summer the national parks have global appeal. You can visit the mountains any time of the year and hear a variety of languages spoken.

mills-lake-rocky-mtn-nat-park-1312717Her Man From Shilo is set a couple miles outside the town of Boulder, Colorado, which boasts a view like the one in the picture here. It’s a wonderful place to grow up and has inspired a plethora of romantic story ideas in me since I was a teenager. If you enjoy nature, there are plenty of activities and landscapes to explore. But it also draws cyclists from all over the globe because the altitude and the variety of terrain make it a great place to train and hone your cycling skills. Tour de France here I come!

Her Knight in Shining Armour is set about an hour west of me in the Rocky Mountains. It starts out in Rocky Mountain National Park, but as the hero and heroine are on the run from the heroine’s abusive ex-husband, it moves on from there to the small town of Grand Lake with a quick trip to the state’s capitol, Denver, towards the end.

a-great-day-skiing-1250588My two stories only touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to places to visit and things to do in Colorado. I’m itching to do a story that revolves around skiing, with a setting someplace like Aspen, Colorado, which attracts some of Hollywood’s glitterati both as a travel destination and a place to live. Think Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel, who live there, just to name one couple. Not only does Aspen have great skiing, it’s got some gorgeous scenery and hiking to enjoy when the weather is warm—hiking around the lake by the iconic Maroon Bells, for instance.
maroon-bells-08-2001-1501978But Colorado isn’t the only place I write about. I took a trip to the UK and France last spring, and I’m planning on setting a story in Paris for sure. But I also have several stories set in Los Angeles that are already written and will hit the virtual shelves at some point too. Look out Hollywood, here I come! So many places to see, so many places to write about. I love travelling, whether it’s in real life or from my couch through the words of a book, and thanks to Harlequin, I’ve been able to vicariously visit an abundance of exotic places since I was a teenager. I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit to Colorado!


Passion and tension erupt as these Daimiana and Rafferty finally resolve a lifetime of love.

When Friends Fall in Love

by Robyn Rychards

For me, writing a romance about friends who fall in love and live happily ever after is hard, mostly because I’m more drawn to the mystery and romance of meeting someone you never knew and discovering they’re the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Maybe it’s because the idea of ‘love at first sight’ appeals to me so much! Therefore, it can be a real challenge to turn someone your characters view as a friend into someone with romantic appeal. The first time I saw this done, that I can remember, was in the made-for-TV mini-series version of The Thorn Birds. Maybe I remember it because it sparked the idea for my novel, Her Man From Shilo. It made me want to write a story where the hero and heroine meet when they’re young and are instantly drawn to each other, because when that happens at a young age, it’s not about sex, it’s all about the person. That germ of an idea grew and expanded in my head until, after twenty-some years, it became a full-length story that wouldn’t leave me alone until I put it in writing.

the thorn birds

There’s something so intrinsically romantic about connecting with someone as a child, becoming friends with them and that friendship turning into a bond that lasts a lifetime. I think most of us have people we connected with when we were young who we remember years, even decades, later as someone special no matter the length of time we spent with them. Some of us manage to maintain that friendship over many years, though most of those people have left our lives due to circumstance. So how special a relationship is it, when someone we connected with when we were young becomes the person we end up spending our whole lives with? It’s a bond of a lifetime that most of us would love to have and few find. No wonder it makes for such a terrific love story!

When Harry Met Sally

But that’s not the only kind of Friends to Lovers story out there. The classic film When Harry Met Sally uses a different take on the theme and makes the trope more challenging because you have two people who meet as adults but aren’t romantically interested in each other. Therefore the focus of the journey is more on what happens to make them see each other in a romantic light.

It can get even more complicated when the story line does something like the movie Life As We Know It. In that movie the hero and heroine start out hating each other, become friends when a tragedy throws them together, and end up falling in love because they are forced by circumstance to look at each other in a whole new way.

Life as we know it

All in all, though writing a book about friends becoming lovers is a real challenge, it can make for an epically romantic story if you handle it right!


Passion and tension erupt as these two finally resolve a lifetime of love.

Forced Proximity: my favourite trope

by Robyn Rychards

When I was a teenager, I lived in a small town called Niwot, Colorado, about halfway between Boulder, Colorado and Longmont, where I live now. Niwot has changed a lot since I was a teenager and as an adult I can appreciate its charm, and be glad I was able to grow up in such a place.

As a teenager, however, I felt very isolated. In reality, it was only a fifteen-minute drive into Boulder where there was everything a person could want. But as a teenager with no car, the only places I could go were places I could walk to or ride my bike. Niwot had no grocery store, no department store, no bookstore and no library; which meant my access to books was very limited. Then one day, a used bookstore opened up. I could feed my desire for romance books, and at bargain prices to boot! For a teenager, whose whole allowance could buy no more than two new books, this was a glorious treasure trove.

That’s what started me down the path to devouring category romance, and having done it since I was young, there are few books whose stories I can recall. However, The Wilderness Hut by Mary Wibberley was a story that stayed with me since I read it as a teenager. Then, when I stumbled upon it a few years ago and read it for the second time, I wondered why. It was a good story, but in the whole wide, wide world of books it was nothing out of the ordinary.

The Wilderness Hut

So what was it about this book that made such a huge impression on me when I was young? Why, the trope, of course! Forced proximity. Back then, I had no idea what a trope was, but I knew this was the kind of story I thoroughly enjoyed, and after reading The Wilderness Hut I was always on the hunt for anything like it. No surprise, then, that the first story I ever wrote was based on the theme of two people brought together by force of circumstance.

Her Knight in Shining Armour wasn’t that first story I wrote, but once again my favorite trope reared its head. The story starts off with the heroine, Paisley, waking up—after being injured and rendered unconscious—in the tent of the hero, Sterling, who has rescued her from a dangerous situation in the back country of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Though she doesn’t want to accept help from anyone, her circumstances force her to rely on Sterling, force her to be with him much longer than she wants, and force her to change her opinion about men, as well as her desire for an independent life.

Were it not for forced proximity Paisley would never have found the love of her life. Which leads me to my favourite aspect of the forced proximity trope. Were it not for circumstances beyond their control, the hero and heroine would never have gotten together. How epically romantic is that?

knight She may not need a knight in shining armour to save her, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to look a gift knight in the visor…

December Recipes: Garlic Green Beans

by Robyn Rychards

There’s something about the end of the year that makes me want green beans as a side dish, and here in the US, Green Bean Casserole seems to be the go-to dish when the weather gets cold. Which I totally understand because it’s delish! However, I came across a recipe for green beans that’s not only just as yummy, it’s super easy and the best part? My picky kids, who don’t all like the Green Bean Casserole, devour this green bean recipe. Give it a try. I’m curious to see if everyone else likes it as much as we do. But really, how can you go wrong with garlic and butter?


Garlic Green Beans


1 Tablespoon Butter

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

5 Cloves Garlic minced

2 14.5 oz cans Green Beans

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese


Melt butter in a large skillet, then stir in olive oil and garlic. Saute over low heat until the garlic is slightly browned. Add the green beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until beans are tender, about 5-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Voila! Delicious green beans!


She may not need a knight in shining armour to save her, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to look a gift knight in the visor…

Camping – the Cons

by Robyn Rychards

camping_fullsize_story1(1)Let’s talk camping! My father loved camping and our summer vacations were spent doing it the whole time I was growing up. We went to a lot of great places and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to see and do so many things. My latest release, Her Knight in Shining Armour, starts off with the Hero and Heroine camping in a national park. Not only do I have a lot of experience with camping, I know the park it’s set in quite well. But here’s the thing… While camping has elements that make it romantic in a story, the reality for me is, I don’t like it. Pretty much loathe it. Since I left home, my trips have been spent sleeping in a hotel. I’m sharing a list of five things I hate about camping. I could come up with a lot more than five, but we don’t have that kind of time!

  1. Scary AnimalsBears in tent

This is a picture of a bear in a tent, but there are more scary animals in the woods than just bears! Mountain lions, coyotes, moose, elk, etc. I have a bear and a buck do some damage in my story.

  1. Creepy crawliesspider tent

Or in other words, BUGS. On one of our camping trips as a child, the mayflies in Minnesota had just hatched and they were EVERYWHERE. I had nightmares about them that night and for years afterwards. Never mind scary stuff like spiders and ticks! Along with annoying ones like ants and mosquitoes. And of course, there’s the scene in Arachnophobia where the guy is sleeping in a tent and the spider… Well, enough said. Don’t want to think about that anymore.

  1. No bathroomsouthouse

Some people don’t really care about this, but I’m not one of them. I hate outhouses, I hate going to the bathroom in the woods (see reasons 1 and 2). One year, we were camping in a tent trailer and my mom had a portable toilet set up in the middle of the room for us kids to use during the night. Not only was I a little freaked out by the lack of privacy, when I was desperate enough to use it, it fell apart and you-know-what went all over the place. EW!

  1. It can get fricking cold!camping-outdoor-fire-bonfire

I don’t tolerate cold very well, so this is a bit of an issue for me. Freezing my butt of while trying to sleep is not my idea of a good time. Sorry!

  1. Cooking outsideBowron Lakes

I really should have been a princess. I don’t like cooking, I don’t like cleaning, I don’t like being uncomfortable. All these things go hand in hand with camping. So, having to cook outside on a campfire or camp stove. No thanks. I’m supposed to be on vacation, I don’t want to cook. And now I have to do it under more difficult circumstances? Outside? Where’s the closest restaurant?

Let me know what you think. How do you feel about camping? Yea or Nay and why?

20378She may not need a knight in shining armour to save her, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to look a gift knight in the visor…

Paisley doesn’t need a knight in shining armour to rescue her from her high-powered, abusive ex-husband. She’s got it covered on her own: she’s changed her name, liquidated her assets, and has a plan to disappear in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Psychiatrist Sterling James has absolutely no intention of being anyone’s saviour. The only woman he has any time for is his sister. But circumstances change when Sterling finds Paisley in an unexpected and life-threatening situation. Brought in to the drama of her escape, Sterling finds himself invested, and he can’t move on until he knows Paisley is going to be safe.

It should be a simple enough exercise to get Paisley out of the park and into her new life. But nothing is ever as simple as it should be, and Sterling soon discovers that even if her ex-husband buys the set-up, he might not be able to watch Paisley go…

Inspiration Behind the Story: Robyn Rychards

She may not need a knight in shining armour to save her, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to look a gift knight in the visor…

20378I love reading romance, whether contemporary or historical, and if I can have it with suspense and intrigue, all the better. My number one fave for years has been the Harlequin Cherish/Romance line and my dream has long been to write for that line. When I read Melissa James’ The Sheikh’s Destiny, Her Knight in Shining Armour flickered to life. It had the suspense/adventure aspect that I longed for and was from my favourite line. Then my basic writing motivator switched on. Since a Harlequin Romance with suspense was hard to come by, I’ll write one. I have always wanted suspense in the Romance line and thanks to Melissa, I knew it was doable.

Enter my first hurdle. Did I have the writing skills for suspense? I have a heck of a time figuring out mysteries when I read them or watch them, how was I going to write one?

The next hurdle followed closely behind: Melissa’s story was set in a part of the world where there’s a lot of strife. Perfect setting for a suspense story. However, I know nothing about such places and was already taking on enough trying my hand at writing more than romance. What situation would have two people on the run from an enemy in the United States?

This led me to hurdle number three. I know nothing about law enforcement or military, so the type of heroes I’m familiar with in the Harlequin Intrigue line wouldn’t work. What scenario puts the heroine on the run and how would she be rescued by a hero who isn’t a professional rescuer? Then I saw Sleeping With the Enemy. Now I had an idea of what might work.

Lots of thinking, lots of rejected ideas, but I kept coming back to a heroine on the run from an abusive husband. However, going with this idea gave me another hurdle. I didn’t want the heroine to still be married. It complicated the relationship with the hero as well, as to how to get her out of the marriage. Once I resolved that in my head—which included changing some of what I had already started writing—I had yet another hurdle. I know nothing about abusive relationships.

BUT that was something I could handle. I know people and I have a library card. I educated myself as best I could and faced the first hurdle again which was now my last hurdle. Could I write suspense?

Having read a lot of suspense, I decided to just go with my gut—I am a pantser after all. The story wouldn’t leave me alone. It had to be written and if I sucked at writing suspense, well, at least I’d know for sure, the story would be out of my head, and I could move on. Now it’s up to you to decide if I can do romantic suspense. If so, I may just take on a Gothic—a la Victoria Holt of course—next.


When Robyn was young she always enjoyed reading, but it wasn’t until her Grandmother gave her her first Harlequin Romance that she fell in love with it. At the age of fourteen Robyn didn’t have the funds to feed her romance addiction, so she started writing them. Writing romance is in Robyn’s blood and she’s happy to be able to share her stories with the world, as well as be part of the Harlequin family. Robyn was raised in Boulder, Colorado, USA and lives in a neighbouring town not far from where Her Man From Shilo takes place. Though four kids have kept her too busy to write for a long time, she is thrilled to be able to dive back into it, now that they are all in school. She hopes you enjoy reading her story as much as she enjoyed writing it!

Happy 4th of July!

july4thHappy Independence Day to all of our American readers and friends, and special fireworks go to our American Escape Artists:

18880Beth Fred!

19223Carly Drake!

21488JM Bray!

19228Katherine Givens!

19569MA Grant!

18615Nell Carson!

20378Robyn Rychards!

19726Sarah Daltry!

19913Scarlett Dawn!

19720Sunny Cole!

19222Tara Chevrestt!

19911Nicole Flockton! (Nicole is an Aussie living in the US)

Apple pie for everyone!

March Madness – March Releases!

Congrats to all our new release authors!

20379If there’s one universal truth, it’s this: You’re always wearing your worst underwear when you land in trouble.

20382For fans of The Walking Dead and The Hunger Games comes a YA novel about freedom, choice and family — and the terrifying disease that makes them mutually exclusive.

20380He needed a job — he never expected to need his boss.

20381Opposites attract in this medical romantic suspense set in the high adrenalin world of the Cairns Rescue Helicopter team.

20378She may not need a knight in shining armour to save her, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to look a gift knight in the visor…

20383He let her father chase him off once, but this time nothing is getting in his way.

20377What happens when your break from real life shows you exactly how empty it actually is?