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Friday, August 15, 2008

The Professor's Spring Fling



The Professor's Spring Fling by Annick Claire
Publisher: The Wilder Rose Press, Scarlet Rose
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F, Light BDSM
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Yarrow

Professor Amelia Bradley is obsessed with sizzling student Nick Creston. Of course, the Professor is far too ethical to become involved with the man, despite his obvious interest in her doing so. So what's a guy to do? When fate offers Nick the opportunity to get the Professor alone and 'tied up' in his plans, he jumps at the chance. After all, Nick's gone to a lot of trouble to put himself in the Professor's path. If a little break-in and some rope are the only way to get her up close and physical, he's ready. His heart's already on the line. What else is there to lose?

Nick Creston can tie me up any time. With a full head of dark curly hair, green eyes, and a body hardened by rowing, this hunky student makes me wish I could trade places with his college professor, Amelia Bradley. Her hot classroom fantasies about him and his desk top fantasies about her builds sexual tension in this story and keeps us reading to find out how long it will take Amelia to forget about the teacher-student taboo, and give in to Nick's passionate pursuit.

Besides this ethical dilemma, Amelia struggles with doubts that a man like Nick could be interested in more than just a fling with her when he has women panting to get into his bed. How, though, could she possibly resist this sexually talented man who craves her?

This erotic fantasy could have been creepy if Nick had been much younger than Amelia, but the age difference when revealed is a surprise that brings about a sigh of relief and allows a fuller enjoyment of the steamy sex scenes. When Nick and Amelia talk about their relationship they clarify questions that we, as readers would have about this teacher-student relationship. It comforts us to know that Amelia isn't a woman who would put her career as a professor and published author in jeopardy to sleep with a student. This makes her more relatable to us. We also fall under Nick's spell. Not only does author, Annick Claire, make us pant with her descriptions of Nick's body, she pulls us into the fantasy by giving him dialogue that breaks down any reservations we might have about these two hitting the sheets.

The Professor's Spring Fling is an engaging read. Buy it, read it, recommend to to your girlfriends. You can then have a great discussion about being in Amelia's situation: like talking about how irresistible is Nick Creston?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nine Inches of Snow and the Ebony Princess



Nine Inches of Snow and the Ebony Princess by Gracie C. McKeever
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F, Light BDSM
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Dandelion

An empathic young nurse driven to help and heal others since childhood after watching her mother languish for months before finally succumbing to cancer, Aziza Lopez abhors cruelty and suffering in any form. When she is assigned comatose patient David Healey, Aziza is confronted with the depth of her abilities for the first time since her mother's death and has a chance to contribute to a patient's recovery when modern medicine fails. But can she convince anyone else outside of David's family that she knows who is responsible for his injury when she's finding it hard to deal with the knowledge herself?

The youngest of five brothers, David Healey comes from a close-knit, no-nonsense family of psychics and shapeshifters. He has never suffered fools—or demanding, jealous girlfriends—lightly. But on the eve of a bitter break-up he realizes he is about to suffer a woman scorned when he glimpses his ex behind the wheel of a car careening towards him.

Now Aziza and David are in a race to pull him out of his coma before Aziza's vengeful stepmother can get to him and finish the job she started on a dark road.

This is the first work I’ve read by Gracie McKeever, and I enjoyed it a great deal. The storyline, which draws elements from different well-known fairytales, is tight and well written, and the characters are all realistic and well-developed. Heroine Aziza Lopez is the right combination of uncertain and independent. Because she and and hunky hero David Healey get to meet before he ends up a comatose patient on her nursing ward, we also get to see her fiery side, especially after she witnesses his shape-shifting. David is flawed but completely likable, the nice guy driven by need who still tries to do the right thing. I wasn’t expecting the paranormal twist to this story, when David turns to a wolf at the moment his life is put in danger, but it fits right into the plot. I don’t normally read a lot of paranormal, but I thought David’s shifting between worlds was well done and easy to follow.

The minor characters are also well drawn in this story. I could easily picture the villainess Philomena, who’s responsible for sending David into a coma, thanks to Ms. McKeever’s strong description and character development. And the Healey brothers, along with the domineering grandfather of the clan, all spring off the page despite their minor roles in the story.

The single love scene here is hot and well done, though some readers might wish for more between the hero and heroine. But I liked the fact that the story of saving David takes precedence over multiple explicit sex scenes; in my opinion, this author strikes the right balance.

I did think the ending of “Nine Inches of Snow and the Ebony Princess” wrapped up a little quickly and easily. Even though it’s marketed as “an adult fairy tale,” I’m not sure I believe that Philomena would get her just desserts quite so fast or that Aziza would manage to save David on the first try. And I have to admit, I have no idea what the awkward title of this story means. For a reviewer who likes to see a story’s title tied into its plot, that remained a bit of a sticking point.

Those minor issues aside, I enjoyed this story and will look for more by Gracie McKeever in the future!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Addicted



Addicted by Devon Gray
Publisher: The Wilder Rose Press, Scarlet Rose
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Dandelion



Lose Control. Lose Yourself. Get Addicted.

It seemed like a great idea at the time--escaping for a summer with my best friend, leaving behind a job I hated and all my indecisiveness. Three months in a small beach town would clear my head, brighten my outlook on the future, guide me in the right direction.

I had no way of knowing what that summer would bring. The things I would be capable of, the lengths I'd end up going to, the intensity with which I would yearn. I had no way of knowing about him.

He came into my life like a summer storm--sudden, intense, with a threat of danger; flooding my senses until I was drowning in him. The problem with addiction? You crave what you need…whether it is good for you or not.

This debut novel by author Devon Gray combines hot summer sex with emotional turmoil in a novella that will have you flipping the pages from the opening chapter. Jane, on summer vacation with her best friend Sara, finds herself inexplicably drawn to the handsome, mysterious, gray-eyed Stone. Despite Sara’s warnings, and despite Jane’s own inner voice, she spends every possible moment with Stone, engaging in the most mind-blowing sexual encounters she’s ever experienced. The control belongs to Stone, however; he determines when and where they’ll meet, how the sex will unfold, and when he’ll see her next. Though Jane knows she should be a strong, independent woman, she is addicted to the way he makes her feel and to the flashes of vulnerability she believes she sees in him.

Jane quickly decides she’s in love with Stone – and though she explains through the first-person narration that she knows her feelings are irrational, they also allow her to break down Stone’s walls. When she discovers the secret past that has created his unfeeling fa├žade, she alone is the one to knock it down. The result is a moving final scene that turns to a satisfying happy ending for these two characters.

Some readers are going to take issue with Jane’s inability to reject Stone’s advances, as well as her conviction that she loves him after a few weeks of amazing sex. Until the final chapters, she does come across as a woman who is too easily manipulated by this guy. I found myself wishing Addicted was a longer story, because I think Stone’s actions – and Jane’s reactions to him – needed more development.

I did enjoy the first-person point of view, as well as Jane’s internal thoughts that begin every chapter and link her understanding of her own sexual –emotional addiction to her sister’s drug addiction. Also, Jane’s best friend Sara is a welcome breath of rational thought – well developed, humorous, and a strong counterpoint to the heroine.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the sex scenes themselves: they’re well written, super-hot, and balanced fairly well with the hero and heroine’s emotional journeys. Overall, I recommend Addicted as a hot read that examines our deepest secrets and exposes why we stay with the people who seem so wrong for us. I’ll be looking for more by Devon Gray!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Snowbound: Mister Abominable



Snowbound: Mister Abominable by Cassandra Kane
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Dandelion

Determined to verify the latest sightings of the Yeti, Andrea treks through the Himalayas with Jake, her surly mountain guide. Although the rough-and-ready Jake keeps throwing obstacles in her path, Andrea won’t let anything stop her fulfilling her lifelong quest.

When Jake saves Andrea’s life during an unexpected snowstorm, their enforced proximity blazes into lust. Jake fears he’s already given too much away, but even he has to wonder if Andrea will ever admit she’s found exactly what she was looking for…

I was pleasantly surprised by Ms. Kane, since I wasn’t sure a complete story could unfold in just 14 pages (this story is part of an anthology of winter stories from this publisher). But this author delivers a neat story with well written, well balanced sex scenes which I really enjoyed.

Our heroine is searching for the Yeti; but just when she thinks she’s reached a dead end atop a dangerous snowy mountain, she finds more than she bargained for, thanks to her mountain guide. The characters here are realistic and likable. The sex is hot, the plot tight and well written, and the ending satisfying if unexpected. Other than a couple of awkward wording spots, “Mister Abominable” is a fun, quick read. I recommend it highly!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Sins of Their Fathers



The Sins of Their Fathers by Lara Santiago and Emma Wildes
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Sci-fi/Fantasy
Length: Full, 2 Novellas
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Rose

A distant planet and a coveted throne. A savage island and an exile into a barbaric fight for life. Once, the Commander of Tiburon and the infamous Earl of Charbeau were powerful men faced with dangerous choices that changed their lives forever. Will finding happiness exact a price, or will their offspring pay for the sins of their fathers?

Can't Say No by Emma Wildes

A sequel to Savage Shores [The Improper Ladies 1]

Helen Richmond, the daughter of the infamous Earl of Charbeau, is privileged, aristocratic, and pledged to a man she loathes. There is only one way she can think of to get her point across about her upcoming unwanted marriage and that is to lose her virginity in the most scandalous way possible.

It doesn't matter he doesn't deserve his reputation as London's most celebrated libertine, Wade 'Wicked" Warrick knows how everyone sees him. He finds the whispers an irritant until one night a beautiful young woman climbs into his carriage and offers him her body. Normally, he would refuse outright, but something about her is unique and somehow he just can't say no...

Kissed By Fate by Lara Santiago

A sequel to Just a Kiss and Just One Embrace [The Tiburon Duet]

Alex of Tiburon breaks off life-partner negotiations with a woman he doesn’t love after discovering her with another. Relieved to be free, he journeys to Earth to explore the distant planet where his mother was raised and experience a world he’s only read about never expecting to find true love.

Lizzie, disappointed by the lackluster kisses she’s received from every guy she’s ever dated, gets the shock of her life when the kiss, delivered by the gorgeous mystery man at a party not only tastes like chocolate, but is also satisfying at an orgasmic level.

Fate in the form of a single kiss changes Alex and Lizzie’s future to an unexpected happily ever after, until unanticipated events threaten to separate them.

Will being kissed by fate keep them apart forever?

These two novellas are very different and very alike. “Kissed by Fate” takes place in another galaxy; “Just Say No” is set in historical England. But both have powerful characters who follow in the footsteps of their parents on their own paths to happiness and true love.

“Kissed by Fate” describes the relationship that takes place between Alex of Tiburon, the half-human son of the Commander of Tiburon, with a human woman. Or is she? The first human kiss they share, “mouth-touching,” binds them together as Lizzie finds his kiss not only tasting of chocolate, but also orgasmically satisfying.

What their parents will do when they discover what has happened and if Lizzie and Alex can find a way to be together despite being separated by galaxies form the basis of this novella, with a small mystery built in.

Lara Santiago does a credible job of world building in a short amount of space. Because of the limitations with the story length, I felt some of the situations were rushed and a few of the secondary characters not developed to the extent they could have been. However, in a novella you have to give something up and Ms. Santiago captured the excitement of knowing you’ve found your fated lifemate admirably.

In “Can’t Say No,” Emma Wildes takes us to Regency England, where Helen Richmond decides there is only one way to get out of an unwanted engagement. She would ask the most notorious womanizer in England to ruin her. The fact that “Wicked” Warrick is anything but adds to the lusciousness of this tale of falling in love.

If you’re a reader who likes Regency romance, you are sure to enjoy “Can’t Say No.” Helen is full of fire and spirit, and this passion she has ignites the flames that “Wicked” has ignored for so long. And, a Regency wouldn’t be complete without the requisite villain. Without giving away any spoilers, let me say you won’t be disappointed in the ending of this story.

Often when I read a new author, I can hardly wait for their next book. In the case of these two, though, I’m ready to read the first books in these series. Even knowing how they turn out, Ms. Santiago and Ms. Wildes have brought even the parents to life in these novellas...and I want to find out their complete story.