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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wicked Pleasures



Wicked Pleasures by Tambra Kendall
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Snowdrop



Honey Jordan is in trouble. Her Pa is giving her one week to find another place to live. Her fiancé has not finished their house. She discovered in telling her best friend about Granny Cordella's sexual legacy, a box of wicked pleasure, she now might be a criminal.

Can she escape the clutches of the law and marry Brock?

Can she find the topaz treasure, 'The Jewel of the Nile'?

Brock Ryan is in trouble. He’s about to lose his house and land because the will his Pawpaw left him is missing. His fiancée, Honey Jordan is in possession of certain sexual illegal items. His brother-in-law congratulates him and the Sheriff is threatening to haul Honey in for breaking the law.

Can Brock keep his fiancée out of jail and save his land?

Warning this title includes explicit language and toy play. Not for the faint at heart
“Wicked Pleasures” is a very well-written short story, which could easily be made into a full-length novel. The characters of Brock and Honey are obviously very much in love and dying to finally consummate their marriage. It would be interesting to read more about how Brock and Honey met and their courtship. Also, I would have liked to have learned more about the secondary character of Cousin Andrew and his attempts to commit fraud. But the author does a good job tying the two mysteries of Granny’s legacy and the missing will together in a quick, satisfying read. I was so completely vested in these characters that I wanted MORE! That's the sign of some strong writing.

The lovemaking scenes are very hot and I loved the addition of the special items Granny Cordella left Honey in her will, along with explicit instructions on their use. What a clever idea on the author's part. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable story that I happily recommend.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Faery Princess



The Faery Princess by Nyki Blatchley
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Fantasy
Length: Short
Other: M/F, M/M, M/F/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Snowdrop

A love less ordinary

Tom, a simple farm boy, gets more than he bargained for when he finds a little something extra in his bed one night. He assumes it's a prank until he's magically bound and ravished by Gossamer, Princess of the Faeries. Tom falls in love with the beautiful faery, but there's a problem: his beloved Gossamer is merely a projection. The true Princess lies in eternal sleep, enchanted and imprisoned by an ogre.

Determined to rescue his love, Tom sets out on his heroic quest but soon learns it takes more than a sword, axe or bow to overcome the obstacles thrown in his path. His only real weapon is much more personal. And his devotion to Gossamer will only get him so far -- The closer he gets to his goal, the more impossible it becomes to resist temptation...

Warning: This title contains explicit sex

This story reminded me of an erotic version of many of my favorite childhood fairytales. The different adventures that Tom has along the way to save his Faery Princess, Gossamer, are very much a great blend of traditional fairytales and arousing intimate scenarios. Many of the scenes involving sex are quite erotic and have both M/F and M/F/F scenes – and I am here to say that they are very tastefully written.

I completely enjoyed how well written this story was and that it had a well-planned plotline. For such a short story, the author definitely knew how the story was to occur and the scenes seemed to be well thought out, each one having a reason for being in the story. My favorite character was actually one of the supporting characters – Kallista, the Witch. She is so overtly sexual and very blunt in her mannerisms! I suppose she provides some of the comic relief. If you love fantasy with some very hot sex, this is the story for you.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mission: Raw



Mission: Raw by Mary Winter
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short
Other: M/M
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Chamomile

Too late, Dean arrives for his windsurfing vacation and realizes his “secluded” Caribbean villa isn’t. He has a neighbor who just happens to look exactly like a certain action figure left with Adrian’s lover, Mack. Finding out his neighbor shares Dean’s passion for extreme sports only reopens wounds Dean had thought healed.

Sawyer knew his next mission would be just as exciting as his last. So when he finds himself on a Caribbean island with a hot man and nothing to do but lie on the beach, he thinks he’s in heaven. Except, Dean doesn’t believe Sawyer’s story.

What’s an action figure come to life to do? Whatever it takes to prove that he’s real and so is the passion between them.

This is the second in the Live Action Hero series and I enjoyed it as much as the first, Mission: Carnal.

Dean's need to be alone to lick the wounds caused by a previous lover, Josh, made me sympathize with him right away. He is drawn to Sawyer's buff body, but his struggle between fear, desire and being true to himself are presented in perfect balance so that I always could understand what he was feeling and why. His final realization about the true nature of his relationship with Josh gave Dean's character that much more depth, and also added to the strength of his growing feelings for Sawyer.

As an action hero figure, Sawyer strikes me as a lover of life and adventure. He makes the best of his situation but he longs to get his life back. I loved his sensitivity and how he recognizes that he came back to life for Dean, but somehow instinctively knows that he must approach Dean with patience and understanding. His slow yet determined pursuit of Dean is deliciously erotic. When his actions test Dean's feelings, Sawyer reacts in just the right way to eventually reassure Dean and break through his emotional barriers.

This installment can stand alone, but I recommend reading Mission: Carnal first to experience Adrian and Mack's story. I can't wait for the next installment, Mission:Possession, due out in August.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Taming the Beast



Taming the Beast by Jinx Williams
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Fuchsia

Cursed for the crime of loving the wrong woman

Forced to subsist as part man, part beast, Scottish Millionaire Ravin Barrilyl has waited centuries for his date with destiny. The mystical sword needed to end his torment is finally within reach, but he must acquire it before an age-old enemy can interfere.

Ravin's fate rests in the hands of folklore librarian Jacquelyn Frasier. This very smart, very beautiful opponent is highly suspicious of his interest in the Celtic artefacts passed down by her ancestors. And the electric attraction crackling between them could prove more destructive than fate and Ravin's enemy combined…

This story had all the elements that you need to make a good story. Girl meets boy, they argue, conflict occurs, sparks fly, they fall in love.

The journey they take from the first meeting is an enjoyable one: the dinner date, the coffee invite, the fight between the hero and the villain of the piece, the meeting of the neighbor and the interaction with Hal E Wood. All this is interspersed with the growing relationship between Jac and Ravin. The intimacy in their relationship is warm and believable, the laughter and the flirtation makes the sparks right for me as a reader.

I was a little disappointed in the abrupt ending, but as this book is the first in a series, so that may explain the reason for it. I’m very much looking forward to the next in the series and will seek out other work by this author.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ruling Lacey


Ruling Lacey by Cyan Bell
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Xeranth

Working in the dead letter department of the Brisbane office of Australia Post is Lacey Carter’s idea of the perfect job. Each and every article of mail is a little mystery to be solved, a piece of someone’s life that hasn’t managed to get to its destination.

When Lacey opens a package with an amber gem in it, her life is thrown into turmoil. Being able to see who wrote the letters, and what's in them, before opening them should be an asset in her line of work, but instead her newfound abilities will throw her into a dark, and intense world of vampires.

Reid Miller has been a broken man since he lost his wife in a horrific way when he turned her into a vampire. Moving to Brisbane from Brooklyn didn’t change the emptiness he feels without his wife. His first encounter with Lacey when he saves her life is enough to give him the will to fight again.

One piece of paper with the power to change a vampire hierarchy will be so sought after that people will be torn apart to get to it, and it holds a mystery that will prove destiny has a hand in all lives.

Ruling Lacy is a fast paced, plot enriched romance with a truly nasty villain, and a wonderful hero and heroine you can root for.

Lacey is a woman thrust into vampire politics in a most unique and violent way. It starts off innocently enough but rockets towards a situation where Lacey must come to terms with who she is, what she’s to become and choices that affect the future of her and the man she comes to love.

Lacey is sweet and feisty, loyal and clever and she doesn’t suffer from boring angst and wringing of hands. She’s a modern woman who isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right, even though there might be dire consequences.

Reid is a really nice guy who happens to be a vampire with a tortured past. He suffers from what he believes are his sins from choices he made long ago. He thinks he did something horrible to the woman he loved and is determined never to repeat that same deadly mistake. Thing is, there is something about Lacey which calls to him – like a memory from long ago. Even though Reid is tortured, he’s not mired in it, nor is he a martyr. Sure, his mistake changed the course his life was set on and he has not attempted to reclaim it but neither does he let it stop him from accepting the gifts that Lacey brings. I liked the presentation of a man who kept on despite the odds.

The villain is Vale and he’s such a snake. And that’s an insult to the snakes. It was very easy to believe in his vileness and treachery. When he gets his comeuppance, it’s in a truly clever and unexpected way. Typically, when you have a vampire as aggressive as he, you’d think the altercation that brings his demise would be bloody and spectacular. I thought it was very ironic and apropos -- a clever piece of writing.

I would recommend Ruling Lacey for vampire romance lovers everywhere who enjoy not only some fine bite scenes, but an intriguing plot and characters that are a joy for the mind. This is a short story that is able to condense the action in to an intensity that keeps you turning the pages for a satisfying summer read.

Hexed



Hexed by Blayne Edwards
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Xeranth

She’s tired, she’s cranky, she stinks like Vaseline and she’s all out of peanut butter. Welcome to Cristal’s life.

Spirits, wraiths -- call them what you will -- for an empath like Cristal they can be a pain in the ass. Especially when they invade your house by the dozens and refuse to leave.

G. thinks he’s died and gone to heaven. Not only has the astral projection expert stumbled upon an infestation of the paranormal kind, but he’s also found the woman and research partner of his dreams.

So how does G. convince Cristal he’s not just another “cockroach” she needs to squash? Sex. Lots and lots of sex.

Don’t let the blurb mislead you into thinking there is no thought behind this story. It has more than just sex; it has humor and heart.

Cristal is a talented lady who went from being thrilled with her ability to see spirits to being dispirited and sick at heart. She’s stuck with entities that, were we talking fantastical creatures, would have been imps, pixies, brownies and leprechauns. These ghosts are a pain in her butt and she’s mentally and emotionally exhausted. I think this story brings the reader in at a point where she’s almost given up.

The G-man enters the scene and right away I got the sense he was different. He hasn’t succumbed to the whacked out and hedonistic pursuit of mayhem because he’s more than a ghost. He’s an astral projection expert. But how can a ghost be a researcher? I kept scratching my head as I read because of the blurb and what goes on in the first part of the story. Until, that is, Ms. Edwards filled me in on the missing pieces -- oh what fun! And, oh what a tangled web we weave when things aren’t’ what they appear to be and someone decides they’d really wished they were. G. ends up in a pickle-by assuming it’s going to be bread & butter and ends up with dill.

The secondary characters are ghosts and they are a bit strange. Poor Cristal has so many; she’s ended up naming them as letters of the alphabet. There are two that are so nuts, they’re scary. Yet they made me laugh. In fact, the humor for me became surprisingly personal. If you, like me, know the owners of LASR and WC are J and M, you should get a kick out of the ending, because I certainly did. It was one of those doses of laughter that blindside you with its unexpectedness, making it all the sweeter.

Hexed ended up being a fun read that was sexy yet not overly so. It was funny and sweet, mysterious yet sensual. It was well paced and although I think Cristal was sort of stuck in her perceptions a tad too long, it fit with her state of mind. When she did decide to take a chance, she didn’t waffle, she took action and I liked that about her.

Hexed is a short story that packs in enough character development to be satisfied with the almost HEA. Why do I say almost? Because I believe Ms. Edwards has left a loophole. There was language used that clearly leads me to believe that there might be more spectral adventures for Cristal and G. and I hope I read that right. I think they make a fun couple and I really want to see Cristal get the better of M. There are many more possibilities in this story arc that have yet to be explored. Dare I hope for more? You bet. Hexed has me hooked.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Warrior: The Time Hunters by Angela Knight



Warrior: The Time Hunters by Angela Knight
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy
Length: Full
Other: M/F, Light Bondage
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Viscaria



Angela Knight returns to the future with a sexy Warlord who’s sent back in time to stop a madman from killing…

In the twenty-third century, time travel is no longer just a flight of fancy. Tourists, historians, and criminals can leap through time at will. To police the time Jumpers, the Temporal Enforcement Agency has established a precinct in time, tucked away in the Georgia mountains.

Galar Arvid, a genetically altered Warlord and agent, has been sent back to 2008 to save a pretty Atlanta artist from a Xeran time traveler who intends to kill her for profit. What Galar doesn’t count on is the powerful desire Jessica Kelly ignites in him. But could a romance between them ever work? A two-hundred-year chasm separates them, and even if they dart through time, there’s still a maniacal killer on their tail…

When I turned the last page of this book I heaved a huge sigh… of contentment, and then I frantically searched online for the next release! I just loved this book. Angela Knight has outdone herself again.

When first we meet Jessica she is in the year 2008, and she’s a struggling artist who has no idea the havoc that her life is about to be thrown into. Jessica had a depth of character that made you simply want to root for her… and wish for the best. She had courage and strength that I simply had to admire. As her world was tossed topsy-turvy she took each new “issue” as it came and moved forward with determination. The way she wrapped such a big strong man around her little finger was splendid and I just loved her!

Galar was… yummy! When he’s first introduced he seems so hard and cold. I wasn’t even sure how he was going to fall for a woman from a different time. Leave it to a Southern woman to get under a big Warlord’s skin! Galar’s strength of character and loyalty were riveting while his obvious bewilderment at how easily he falls for Jessica was incredibly endearing. I quickly found that I wanted Galar for my own… but I didn’t really want to take on another southern girl… we fight dirty!

I have long been a fan of Angela Knight, and Warrior has simply left me begging for more of her work. The amazing depth of her characters left me breathless time and again, not to mention hot and heavy love scenes that never fail to satisfy. One of the best parts of this book was Angela Knight’sworld-building that was incredibly subtle. Not once did I get thrown from the story as I tried to figure out what was going on or what new-fangled device the characters were using. The transitions between the future and the “present” were seamless and exciting as the underlying plot led me to the ending that brought that sigh. I have to say it again… I loved this book! It’s a solid five cherries and I find myself intently looking forward to the next in The Time Hunters series.

Forbidden Pleasures


Forbidden Pleasures by Monica Burns
Publisher: New Concepts Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full
Other: M/F, BDSM
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Xeranth

Love's Revenge: Quentin Blackwell, the Devil of Devlyn, has returned home five years after a bitter betrayal by the woman he loved. He'd like nothing better than to extract his pound of flesh and when the opportunity presents itself, he's more than eager to accept the challenge. Especially when it means exploring Sophie Hamilton's delicious curves.

Love's Portrait: When Julia Westgard commissions a nude portrait of herself, her rebellious behavior puts her at odds with the Marlborough Set's most notorious rake, Morgan St. Claire. From the first moment Morgan sees Julia's portrait, he's determined to have her. But the woman he meets is a far cry from the image on canvas. What starts out as a simple exercise in seduction quickly evolves into a quest to reveal the true Julia Westgard. With each sensually, erotic encounter, he employs every seductive weapon at his disposal....

Rating: Contains graphic sexual content, adult situations, and explicit language.

Forbidden Pleasures is a double whammy of romance, fun and a sensually satisfying read. The stories are loosely linked to each other and their heroes are hard to choose between. It’s a toss up as to whether Quentin or Morgan is the hottest because they both have traits that hooked me.

Love’s Revenge follows Lord Devlyn, Quentin, and he’s got a major bone to pick with the Hamilton family. It was interesting to read about a man, a tried and true rake, who’d been taken advantage of by a woman so thoroughly, he was almost ruined. Usually it’s the men ruining women during that time in history. Quentin isn’t just your run-of-the-mill rake either; he is a survivor and a man of hidden honor and depths. How do you reach a man who’s been burned so badly? You waltz into his parlor with an outrageous proposition.

Sophie Hamilton is a surprising character. I enjoyed her innocence and bravado. She was such a contradiction that she had Quentin fighting with himself. She was like the sun flirting with the clouds and Quentin was akin to a cave dweller being dragged out into her light. He didn’t want to, fought it even, but in the end, the lure of Sophie’s warmth and feminine power broke through his reluctance. Together they wrought a change that benefited not only themselves but Sophie’s brother, Spencer.

Spencer Hamilton was a nice secondary character for whom I’d love to see a book with him as a hero once he got a bit older. There was something about him that intrigued me. Perhaps it was his bucking the odds, of being a better person that the man who begot him? In any event, he showed enough strength of character for me to want to read about him again.

Sophie’s introduction to the pleasures of married life was quite hot and very fun reading. The story is told from both Quentin and Sophie’s POVs and the dialogue was well paced and natural. Very fun.

Love’s Portrait introduces Morgan St. Clair and his prey, Julia Westgard.

Julia is a tortured heroine who is valiantly trying to heal from her horrid past marriage. She’s a strong character with a few verbal zingers that were a delight. Being a widow, she can do things an unmarried woman cannot and she pushes those boundaries in hopes it will satisfy something deep inside her. The only thing it’s succeeded in doing is put her on the radar of the very tantalizing and infamous rake, Morgan St. Clair.

Morgan has a chip on his shoulder from his past, so he fits the tortured hero mold. His life choices in how to deal with it are interesting and I think made him a better man and person than he thinks he is. He does have major issues with trust and hope, for he has none of the latter as far as hearth and family go. A chance encounter, a mistake even, has him discombobulated while at the same time very focused on one thing, on one person -- Julia. Except Julia has no idea. And that is when the fun begins.

Love’s Portrait is a story of the chase. Both Julia and Morgan are chasing each other for different reasons and it’s wonderful how they end up finding something totally different in each other. As we all know, how men and women think can be totally different so it adds a frustrating challenge to Morgan’s pursuit of Julia. In the end though, they heal and the process is very romantic. Of course, when they get together the pages steam and that is fun too. This is the story that illustrates the connection between the first story and this one.

The dialogue was witty and fast paced, the secondary characters –except for Quentin and Sophie – were fiendishly villainous and there was only one burp in a POV shift in an otherwise perfect story.

Forbidden Pleasures is a surefire hit for anyone who likes their historical romances steamy, humorous, and romantic with enough conflict to make the peanut gallery cheer and go wild for our heroes and heroines.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Night Ride


Night Ride by Desiree Holt
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short
Other: M/F, Light Bondage
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Review by Viscaria



He'd been leaving a flower every day for the past month on Lily Ryan's desk in her office at Hellfire Ranch. Just one single lily. No name, no card. Any one of the cowboys working the ranch could have left it. Or could it be the man she'd lost her heart to? And now he'd left an invitation for a night of erotic adventure.

Could she accept an offer of forbidden pleasure from a total stranger when her heart belonged to another? Could she take a chance that this Night Ride might lead to everything she desires? Or would she be stepping into a danger greater than she's ever known?

I really enjoyed this book. It was incredibly intense, and kept me wondering until the end.

Lily was a fantastic heroine, one that I found it so easy to like and to relate to. She wants the man she's loved from afar to love her back. Haven't most of us been in a situation at least similar to hers at one time or another? Her thought processes were entertaining, and each time she focused enough to wonder at her lover's identity, I felt for her. She was so convinced she could be making a horrible mistake, and I certainly sympathized with her. Then again, I was envious of the fact that she found the courage to go with her instincts and perhaps have the best night of her life as well as the hottest sex. She was truly an amazing woman. I would love to see more of her.

Through almost the entire book I wasn't sure if who we thought was the hero was in fact the hero. The author did an amazing job with weaving the sensuality of the man while keeping his actual identity a secret from both the reader as well as from Lily. I really liked that we weren't at all sure that the man was who Lily was adamant he was. I can't really tell you anymore without stepping into the realm of the teasers! Suffice it to say, we are given hints, but it's never outright said who the man is until the end of the story, and it made me hope and pray that we got the ending I was hoping for.

The only issue I found with this story, and the reason I can't give it a full five cherries, was rather mild and didn't completely ruin my enjoyment of this story. As a reader, I wasn't always sure whose Point Of View we were supposed to be in The author did have a great writing style that made it barely noticeable, but it still detracted from my enjoyment a bit.

All in all this was a fabulous short story, that kept me entertained, and even a bit hot and bothered. I'm sure you'll feel the same way. I am pleased to recommend this book. If you're looking for an intense contemporary erotic romance then this is the one for you.