Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Sweet Flag by Jeanne Barrack



The Sweet Flag by Jeanne Barrack
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short (Novella)
Other: M/M, Dubious Consent
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Cholla

Brandon Keats is a paranormal investigator, specializing in Civil War phenomena. As a gay man, he's searched for years for evidence of gay paranormal activity. When he finally finds what he believes to be an example of this, he decides to confront the ghost of a homosexual Civil War soldier at the grave where he's been sighted.

Ron Tayvail has guarded the grave of Matthew Hardesty for years. When he learns of Brandon's interest in the legend of "The Vigilant Soldier", he's determined to dissuade him from any deeper investigation. He didn't realize that he'd fall in love with the fellow on first sight. And yearn to become his lover. For always.

Paranormal investigator Brandon Keats is drawn to the legend of The Vigilant Soldier. Discovering that it may actually be the first known case of a gay legend from the Civil War, he’s doubly intrigued. During the first days of his investigation, he meets Ron Tayvail, keeper of the grave of The Vigilant Soldier, Matthew Hardesty.

This was a fascinating story combining so many elements into one cohesive and addicting story. You have paranormal aspects relating to the legend of The Vigilant Soldier, mystery surrounding it all, a steamy passionate love story that lives in both the present and the past. The story of Matthew Hardesty in itself was enough to keep me reading, however the story unfolding between Brandon and Ron is just as intriguing. Ron constantly keeps Brandon on a leash, feeding him bits and pieces of the story he so desperately needs to know; Brandon forces himself to remain objective no matter how hard it becomes.

The Sweet Flag is the perfect story for anyone who loves a good old-fashioned ghost story with a twist and a half!

Something About Maggie by Rose Middleton



Something About Maggie by Rose Middleton
Publisher: Linden Bay Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length : Full (192 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Bittersweet

When the love you’ve been searching for has been there all along…

Determined and driven, scientist Maggie Walker is used to getting what she wants—except when it comes to love. Ever since her best friend, Jack, gave her that first embarrassingly disastrous kiss at age fifteen she’s yearned for a second chance to show him that they could be so much more.

Now Jack is a jet-setting freelance photographer with an enviable lifestyle. For years he’s been travelling around the world to exotic locations, but when he comes home to Melbourne Maggie’s always been able to count on him to be the same dependable, predictable Jack…but not this time.

From the moment Jack’s plane lands he begins to see Maggie, the one person in his life he’s always been sure of, in a different light. Could it just be that for the first time in a long time both Jack and Maggie are single? Possibly, although it seems to be more than that. Something unexpected has happened, something that’s awakened long ignored desires and hidden passions, something that can’t be ignored. This time there’s no denying it, there’s Something About Maggie…

“Something about Maggie” caught my interest from the start and kept it until the end (my boyfriend came to visit and I had to tell him to wait so that I could finish reading!).

Electricity seemed to be crackling between the characters from page one and I just couldn’t stop reading, wondering where it would all go. The tension builds and explodes several times, causing me, along with Maggie to whisper an “oh my god!” and wondering when she was going to go along with it all.

The descriptions are fantastic: some of the moments the characters live together as lovers instead of friends are hot, sizzling, and heart wrenching at the same time (that night in the wilderness).

I was pleased that the characters are built in a realistic way, having feelings that could go through anyone’s mind at a given moment (What if…?). I loved the orderly way in which the author kept zooming back from Maggie’s point of view to Jack’s, making sure I knew at all times what was going on in their heads, and why it was all so complicated.

“Something about Maggie” is a hot, cute, friendly and lovely read!

Unjustly Accused by Shayne Carmichael



Unjustly Accused by Shayne Carmichael
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short
Other: M/M
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Lilac

In 1873 Arizona, were fox Kenny Hawkins is in a world of trouble. Accused of embezzling from the bank he works at, Kenny is on the run. There's only place to go, the town he grew up in. Kenny hides out in the caves near Crystal Springs, trying to heal from being shot. Unfortunately, Silas Everett, the owner of the bank and real embezzler, is hot on Kenny's trail.

When he's discovered by his old childhood friend, and teenage infatuation, Nigel Garrett, Kenny finds the love he has always been looking for. But he also realizes nobody will accept the relationship between two men.

Kenny has the proof to clear his name, and he takes the chance to return to Gold City. Will he be able to reveal the truth before Everett or the were tribe catch up to him? And even if his name is cleared, what chance does he have to be with Nigel in a world where men simply don't belong together?

In this historical romance, two old friends rekindle a friendship that quickly leads to more.

Accused of a crime he didn’t commit, werefox Kenny Hawkins flees the town of Gold City armed with the proof that could clear his name. He seeks refuge in the caves near his hometown of Crystal Springs. As he recovers from a gunshot wound, he can’t help but remember his childhood friend, Nigel Garrett and the infatuation he never quite got over. Now the local Sheriff, Nigel also remembers the feelings he once had for his friend, Kenny. And as the two are reunited their friendship progresses into something more as a relationship develops.

Kenny and Nigel are fascinating characters and I felt for these young men as I realized the prejudice and difficulties they would face because of their relationship and the time period. I could easily understand their doubts and I was touched by their friendship and relationship and how the years apart hadn’t seemed to cause it to fade at all.

Things get tied up quite rapidly regarding both the crime and Kenny and Nigel’s relationship which all felt a bit rushed to me. It was interesting how the two fell back into the easy relationship they once shared and how it very quickly developed into something more. It all happened a bit too quickly for me to truly believe, but I did enjoy their relationship.

As for the crime Kenny was accused of, I felt there were a few loose ends regarding Silas Everett that I would have loved to have seen tied up. I also wish more attention had been paid to the paranormal aspects of the story as they truly fascinated me. Kenny’s abilities as a werefox and the tribe of weres intrigued me and I would have loved to have known a bit more.

Overall, this was an interesting paranormal western about two men reconnecting and finding a love they had thought lost forever.

Oh Yes, Virginia by Elaina Huntley



Oh Yes, Virginia by Elaina Huntley
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday (Christmas)
Length: Short
Other: BDSM; M/F; M/F/M; Multiple Partners; Spanking
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Lilac

When Virginia Madison is bumped from her flight on Christmas Eve, help arrives in the form of dashing Christopher K. Ringle. The offer of a private jet and his company are too good to resist, and she gladly climbs aboard for a flight to remember.

Her deepest Christmas wishes come true on the four-hour flight, with Chris enlisting the help of his two hunky pilots to make sure Virginia gets everything she wants this year.

When Virginia Madison gets bumped from a flight, Christopher K. Ringle offers her the use of his private jet and his company. Viriginia is hesitant but eager to take the handsome man up on his offer and she gladly accepts. Once aboard she finds herself attracted to her savior as well as to his two pilots, Mike and Don. She is in for a flight to remember as all her sexual fantasies soon come true.

This was a brief, but interesting story that seemed to have a touch of magic as Virginia gets to experience some sizzling encounters with some mysterious men. Christopher K. Ringle seems to know all her favorites and secret desires as the two travel together, which I found intriguing. I felt that overall the story was very seductive and steamy with scenes that titillate the reader.

Also, I don’t know if it was the author’s intention, but the story reads more like a fantasy or dream from Virginia’s imagination. I did find some aspects of the plot, such as Virginia’s quick acceptance of the situation and the sex, a bit hard to believe, but I had to keep in mind that this is erotic fiction. And the end of the story is interesting, but it did leave me a bit disappointed as I was left with quite a few questions that went unanswered.

But despite this, overall, Oh Yes, Virginia was a nice, quick read, but be sure you have a fan or cold drink handy while reading, as this one is scorching.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Contract by Zena Wynn



The Contract by Zena Wynn
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Sci-Fi
Length: Short (58 pages)
Other: M/F, Multiple Partner, Ménage
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Eglantine

When Renardo loses his wife Andrica in a mining accident, to remain on the asteroid he takes advantage of the clause in The Company's Employment Contract that allows him to claim Cecily as his wife. The problem: Cecily is already married to his brother Billy, and Billy doesn't want to share
.
Menage a Trois. The term, the thought, can be a real turn-on. I'm willing to bet, especially when looking at the popularity of this form of erotica, that many a woman has fantasised about having two men in her bed, both bent on giving her as much pleasure as they can. Or perhaps, if you're a little more adventurous, you've pictured another woman sharing and increasing your and your partner's pleasure. I've read only a few menage romances so far, and invariably all three parties were willing participants. What if circumstances dictate a threesome, and two of the three aren't happy with the arrangement?

In The Contract, Ms Wynn explores this scenario in an admirable manner. When Billy marries Cecily, he is her first lover. They move together to a mining operation on an asteroid, where Billy can join his brother Nardo to work long, hard shifts, and earn good money. There's one small clause in their contract that Billy dismisses as unimportant: if Nardo's wife dies, Cecily has to accept him as husband, too.

His wife won't die, right?

Well, of course she does. In fiction, if something can go wrong that will place the characters in a difficult and interesting situation, it will.

I quite enjoyed reading The Contract. The editing is reasonably clean, and the characters are well written. I did find it hard to understand the Company's policies. Though neccessary for setting up the unique situation Ms Wynn explores, I know from experience that the kind of isolation Cecily lives with is very unhealthy for the human spirit. I found it difficult to imagine a company which wants to encourage its workers to succeed on the asteroid, which wants happy workers, would engineer such circumstances. Surely at such an advanced stage of civilisation they should have access to psychological studies which would write in big, red letters that most humans need social contact to remain healthy. This bothered me throughout, but perhaps someone who has not experienced the deblilitating effects extreme isolation can have on a person, would not have as much difficulty suspending disbelief to enjoy this tale.

The sex scenes were enjoyable and well written, and I thought the interaction between the main characters was believable. The denouement sat slightly uneasily with me. It just seemed to be raced through somewhat, but it's believable.

All in all an enjoyable read, one of the better offerings among ebooks I've read recently.

One note, I hesitated before labelling this a menage, as I think to a degree the term has come to raise expectations of a threesome setup. Though technically the situation in The Contract is a menage, it's a menage in its truest defenition: three people living together in a domestic arrangement, where one of them has sexual relations with the other two. All sex scenes in this story are M/F only.

Springwind by Charlotte Boyett-Compo



Springwind by Charlotte Boyett-Compo
Publisher: New Concepts Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Futuristic)
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Lilac

In a futuristic society where werewolves are the law enforcers, naïve Bailey MacKenna has run up against the biggest, baddest, burliest wolf in the pack. Sweet body trembling beneath Crevan Byrne's knowing touch, Bailey finds herself a prisoner not only of his muscular arms but his overwhelming seductive powers. Staring into amber eyes hot with uncontrollable desire, she is soon lost to the dictates of her own heart and Crevan's rock-hard body.

This quick reads takes place in a futuristic world where werewolves called Modartha are the law enforcers and group called the Resistance is out to change things. Bailey MacKenna doesn’t know what to expect when she runs into werewolf Crevan Byrne, but their brief and rough encounter changes things for both of them. What Bailey doesn’t know is that her uncle asked Van to protect and keep the naive Bailey from joining the Resistance. Van hopes that their encounter will scare her, but he is taken with the young woman who trembled beneath his touch and is determined to make her his. Soon Bailey finds herself facing the desire of the strong wolf and risks losing her heart.

Springwind was a very quick read featuring a fascinating world and characters. The story provides a nice blend of paranormal and futuristic with steamy romance. Although their first encounter was a bit too rough for my tastes, I enjoyed the relationship between Bailey and Van. At first I wasn’t sure about Van as his initial actions didn’t exactly endear him to me, but he grew to be a great hero with many layers to his personality. His strength and confidence was a nice complement to Bailey’s naivety. This was undeniably an interesting read.

Breathe 1: Sanguine Shadows by Willa Okati



Breathe 1: Sanguine Shadows by Willa Okati
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Short
Other: M/M
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Lilac

Darce has done his best to live off the radar as one of the bloodkind, keeping himself separate from the company of other vampires and the danger they court. The cowboy might be lonely in his solitude, but he’s safe.

Raven’s come to change that. He’s come to change everything.

A newly made bloodkind, Raven’s out to shake up the old world order that oppresses their kind. He carries Darce along in his wake like a leaf on the tide, pushes and goads and tops from the bottom, inciting Darce to lust, passion and action. He makes a centuries-old cowboy feel alive again, something well worth taking risks for.

But when Raven challenges the Sanguine, the most dangerous of all vampires, has he gone too far?

This quick read is an intriguing tale that takes the reader into the dark world of vampires.

What’s meant to be a brief encounter behind a bar changes thing for loner vampire, Darce. A seasoned cowboy and vampire, Darce finds his world turned upside down by newly turned vampire, Raven. Darce is a mysterious character. We don’t learn much about him beyond his status as a vampire and loner, which intrigued me and left me longing to know more. He definitely meets his match in the cheeky Raven, a young vampire who is a bit of a troublemaker. Determined to shake things up and change things in the vampire world, Raven goads and provokes Darce at every turn causing the centuries-old vampire to feel more alive than he has in years…or at least as alive as a vampire can feel.

When these two get together the sparks fly. This definitely isn’t a gentle mating between these two strong-willed men as they come together. The two men seem to battle each other each step of the way inciting lust and passion between them. At times rough and a bit violent, their tale is sure to shock the reader.

The author has created a fascinating, dark world of vampires that drew me in and intrigued me from the beginning. However, the action of the plot progresses quite rapidly, at times feeling a bit rushed. And while I found the overall story interesting, the ending comes a bit too abruptly for my tastes. By the end of the story there were a few loose ends and it seemed that I had more questions than answers as I longed to know more about these fascinating characters and what would happen next. I assume that these questions will be answered in future books as it appears this is the start of a series, but I do wish a bit more background and information had been provided in this brief story.

Still, the fact remains: if you enjoy dark and passionate tales of vampires, then you may enjoy this one.

The Bet by Raquel Mulgrew



The Bet by Raquel Mulgrew
Publisher: Wicked Women of Color Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short
Other: M/F, bondage
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Lilac

What happens when an innocent bet turns naughty? Anita and Mark test the limits of their friendship in this seductive story of friends turned lovers.

A bet between longtime friends Mark and Anita unexpectedly changes everything. When Anita has to be Mark’s slave for a day, she wasn’t expecting to wear a skimpy French maid’s uniform, but the uniform and the way Anita fills it out suddenly has Mark seeing his best friend in a whole new light. Soon things heat up between the pair as they cross the line from friends to lovers.

I really enjoyed the camaraderie and relationship between Mark and Anita. You can sense the sexual tension between the two as things begin to change thanks to the circumstances of the bet. Although, things escalate rather quickly for the pair as they go from friends to lovers without much discussion, the chemistry and sex between the two is very hot and you wonder why they never got together before this moment.

The story ends a bit abruptly and I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t address the emotional effect that this newfound sexual relationship has on the two friends. We don’t get to see much of what they are thinking and how this will change things in the long term. But despite this, I felt that this was a very steamy read featuring an interesting relationship that I enjoyed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spaceport: Time Bomb by Lena Austin



Spaceport: Time Bomb by Lena Austin
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Futuristic)
Length: Short (71 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/M/F, Ménage
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Lilac

Pepper and her cyborg ally, Kade Starke, scavenge space junk hoping to find that one-in-a-million hunk of rock that will make them rich. Then they find the sad wreck of an old shuttle, and a hunk inside named Dr. Logan MacDonald. Oh, and several billion credits worth of long-lost artifacts and art. Now everyone from pirates to Imperial forces want Logan and his treasure. To get the artifacts to where they can be shared by all humanity and not just a wealthy few, Logan and his scavenger friends may just have to turn the treasure ship into a literal time bomb.

Scarred emotionally and physically, Pepper and her cyborg, Kade Starke, travel around space scavenging junk from old shuttles. They hope to make an amazing find and when they stumble across a wreck of an old shuttle, they find more than they could have hope for in the form of Dr. Logan MacDonald and several billions credits worth of art and artifacts. Logan was cryogenically frozen years ago and unaware of what has gone on in the meantime. His knowledge of the past is very valuable and soon Pepper, Kade, and Logan find themselves battling pirates and Imperial forces who seek Logan and the treasure from the ship.

Full of surprises, this was an interesting story set in a world that fascinated me. I enjoyed learning about the world and watching as a relationship developed between Pepper, Kade, and Logan. They all helped each other and shared an easy camaraderie that I enjoyed. It was interesting to think that the true treasure of the ship was actually Logan as he has knowledge of our modern world that this future world longs for such as knowledge of books and history. I must say that the ending of the story came as a great surprise and is one that I never could have predicted. If you enjoy the Spaceport series, pick this one up to add to your collection!

Mystic Charm by Kristin Daniels



Mystic Charm by Kristin Daniels
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short (73 pgs )
Other: M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus

Is a chance meeting true love or a mystical spell?

When Mia Bryant inherits an antique pearl choker from her late grandmother, the last thing she expects to see is a pair of sensual eyes shimmering in the center pearl. Certain the vision is a figment of her imagination, she sets the necklace aside, pushing the image from her thoughts. Months later, dressing for a party, the pearl choker calls to her. Helpless to resist, she slips it on, unaware that by doing so she will soon fall for the man behind those sensual eyes.

Logan Thomas is mystified when he meets Mia. A fierce pull draws him to her, and before he can stop, they’re kissing under a full moon. But when the revelation of a magical spell has Mia pulling away, Logan knows he must convince her—magic or not—they were meant to be together…

Mystic Charm is an interesting story about two strong willed people, vying for the same position within the same company and a fascinating necklace that may be magic.

Mia Bryant is a beautiful up and coming star in her company. Her auburn hair and brown eyes are stunning but so are the eyes she thinks she sees in a necklace that she inherited from her grandmother. I know I could not have worn it after seeing them a second time. This showed me that Mia was very strong. I loved how Ms. Daniels wrote about Mia’s B.O.B. A very funny line. When Mia saw the eyes for real on the face of Logan, I started to believe in magic too.

Logan Thomas is a six foot, dark-haired hunk. He also is immediately attracted to Mia when he sees her across the room. I loved how things heated up right away in the garden. Logan knows what he wants and goes after it. I even forgave him for not telling Mia who he was in the company.

There is the little conflict when Mia finds out who Logan is in the company and their competition for the position of Project Manager. What definitely helped Logan out was his belief in fate. I thought that the balance between their personal and professional life was well written in the story.

Mystic Charm is a sizzling hot, supernatural story that I found I was fated to recommend.

Making it Real by Victoria Blisse



Making it Real by Victoria Blisse
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (128 pgs)
Other: M/F, Spanking, Anal Intercourse
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Wisteria



He's her secret fantasy, but what will happen between them in reality?

Mary loves the internet but is surprised to find herself falling in love over it. Will is a mysterious American and Mary is thrilled to find out he's coming over to England and amazed when he wants to meet with her. But will the heat that freely flows from monitor to monitor be present in the cold reality of Manchester in winter?

The infinite world of cyber space is vast, with so many places out there to meet people and spark friendships. Mary finds one such friendship on a thirty-something web site. She and William strike up an interesting new friendship based on nothing but words on a screen and the knowledge they live an ocean apart.

Ms. Blisse opened a world of cyber love to me. The possibility of two people finding each other in the vastness of cyber space, exploring the wild uninhibited act of cyber sex and pushing your fantasies to the limit. Hot steamy sex scenes becoming a reality when business brings these two together on the same continent and just adds to the erotic elements making them a hot duo.

I found my self wondering what it would be like to engage in the act of cyber sex with a virtual stranger over the digital waves and fantasizing about the possibilities. I would recommend this story to my friends and to anyone who enjoys a hot, spicy read with a little naughty thrown in for good measure.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How to Ruin Halloween for the Grim Reaper by Dahlia Rose and Crymsyn Hart



How to Ruin Halloween for the Grim Reaper by Dahlia Rose and Crymsyn Hart
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Holiday
Length: Short (81 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Wisteria

All Harmony, the Grim Reaper, wants is one day off. She has one more soul to collect before she can run away to the sun, surf, and a good book.. But no matter what she does, he isn't coming with her.

All Andy wants is a chance at life. When Death comes knocking in the form of a beautiful woman, how can he say no to the luscious lips and a smile to die for? Instead of going willingly into the afterlife, he instead decides to fight for a chance to survive and to keep the sexy Grim Reaper around for a while. Now all Andy has to do is make Harmony realize that it isn't his soul in jeopardy, but hers.

Harmony has spent many years as a Reaper, harvesting souls whose time is up, but lately she is tired of her job. Andy is one of the souls on her list to bring in, but he requests a SOUL CHALENG for the ability to retain his soul.

A delightful story that made me feel all warm and fuzzy in some places and had me wiggling in others. Hot and spicy with a good dose of very sexy and romantic. Wonderfully written and edited, with characters that were memorable and vibrant.

I would recommend this story to anyone who loves a good paranormal that’s not too dark and depressing, but holds a good dose of humor and sex appeal. I look forward to reading other works these authors have put out.

Love's Bounty by Nina Pierce



Love’s Bounty by Nina Pierce
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short (60 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Cholla

Three sisters. Three hot love stories. One family crisis.

Love’s Bounty is the second book in the Tilling Passions series.

DEA agent, Ayden Scott, is determined to bring down the drug cartel smuggling heroin into central Maine. Undercover as Austin Shaeffer, Ayden is working as lead investigator for the first time since the debacle in Miami that killed his younger brother. He will use any means necessary to extract information, including seducing the feisty redhead, Deirdre Tilling, who is employed by the suspected drug baron. But can he become embroiled in a sexual liaison while keeping his men safe and his identity secret?

Landscaping in the rural Maine town of Delmont hasn’t always been Deirdre Tilling’s only passion. Up until two months ago, it included her lover, Brianna. A bisexual, Deirdre has cultivated romances with both sexes, only to find hurt and disappointment her only bounty. Now, she’d like to give up on love. But with everyone in her family in a committed relationship, will Deirdre be able to find satisfaction in the sexual release offered in one-night stands, or will she continue to seek out the emotional stability only a monogamous relationship can offer?

Love’s Bounty unravels the mystery of the torrid relationship between a cop bent on proving himself and a woman struggling with her sexuality, and the subsequent discovery of drug running up the Maine coast.

Recovering from a rough breakup with her girlfriend, Deirdre Tilling goes along with her friend’s offer of a party and a good time. Ayden Scott is looking for redemption for a botched mission in Miami and hoping to revive his good name with the DEA.

Deirdre is confused and heartbroken, but immerses herself in her work in an attempt to cope and move on. Ayden is trying to prove himself worthy all over again and in many ways, his struggle mirrors Dierdre’s. She feels unworthy of love; he feels unworthy of his job. I loved the added family dynamic of bringing Dierdre’s family into the mix and the way it affects the story. She is a strong woman without being a total alpha dog. I also love the way to very opposite characters can come together for an exciting, sexy and satisfying story. These two work well together, both in and out of the bedroom.

If you’re looking for a steamy love story with the added bonuses of suspense and action, this is the perfect story for you. It brings a little bit of everything to the table in a short, well-developed story.

House of the Swallows by L. E. Bryce



House of the Swallows by L.E. Bryce
Publisher: Phaze
Genre: Fantasy/Futuristic
Length: Short (8k words)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewer: Dandelion

For the island inhabitants of Sombar, the end looms near. As a long-dormant volcano stirs to life, the jewel smith Thissol falls in love with Irdun, a handsome young man employed by a high-class brothel in a town whose residents are rapidly fleeing. Will Thissol persuade Irdun to break the contract which binds him in servitude to the House of the Swallows, or will both perish in the coming cataclysm?

This fast-paced short story moves back and forth between past and future, between a society doomed to destruction by the volcanoes around it and the archaeologists who excavate its ruins centuries later. The two main characters, Thissol and Irdun, enjoy an unusual homoerotic relationship from the very first pages. Though Irdun is a prostitute, owned by the despicable nobleman Laputi, Thissol the jewel smith develops feelings for the young man soon after he begins paying for his favors. Their few sessions of love-making are both super-hot and emotionally charged, and set against the danger of a crumbling town, they gain even more power.

The story builds to a strong climax, as the island literally falls apart around the town and the characters, and Thissol must decide whether or not to try and buy Irdun’s freedom from Laputi while he still has time. All in all, this was a really enjoyable read, with characters both likable and believable and with a red-hot chemistry to boot. My only reservation is that the sections written from the “future,” which describe a society which has long since disappeared, slowed the pace of the story. There was too much detail regarding the mechanics of the archaeological dig, which pulled me out of the plot instead of adding to the tension.

Otherwise, this story of male-male loving is a fast-paced winner from start to finish. I’ll look for more by L.E. Bryce in the future!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Living Doll 2: Make It Rough by Carlanime Bligh



Living Doll 2: Make It Rough by Carlanime Bligh
Publisher: Changeling Press
Length: Short (40 pgs)
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Other: BDSM * M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Lotus

Honey, a reluctant switch, has pretty much given up on the idea of ever meeting her perfect Dom. Right now she’d settle for finding a date to the Ironclad Resolution Ball, since her friend James has flaked on her at the last minute. Thinking she’s hiring herself an escort, she accidentally orders herself a doll from the Living Doll Test Kitchens, and gets way more than she bargained for. Thane is ready and able to assume every bit of power she’s willing to yield to him, and fully capable of bringing her to the point of willing surrender.

I’d like to raise a glass to Carlanime Bligh. She is writing a series about women who special order soulmates online, and she is doing so without apology. Consider, for a moment, how revolutionary it is for a woman to decide that there is no man out there that is good enough for forever, and so decides that she’s going to have one made for her from her exact specifications. It would seem silly if it wasn’t so provocative.

Living Doll 2: Make it Rough returns us to the world where the ladies at the Living Doll Test Kitchens are busy at their craft, making dolls that women want to bring to life. Whereas in Make it Real Bligh told us a lighthearted tale of wish-fulfillment and belonging, this time she’s decided to explore the flip-side of her theme. Thane, our hero this time round, really is the perfect Dom. For all that his dialogue is sometimes awkward to the point of mystifying (I think Bligh may have been unsure of his voice), it is a pleasure to watch him ride the line between asshole and perfect top. And Honey, our reluctant-switch leading lady? The poor girl doesn’t know what hit her. Honey is capable, in control, and fastidious in both work and play, but Thane utterly upends her life, using some delightfully-choreographed BDSM sex.

It seems obvious that this series was going to have to address BDSM at some point, and I’m grateful to Bligh that she did it almost right away. However, I would have preferred it if she left some of the finer points of her research out of her narrative. The BDSM scenes are beginner-level, and at times read like an instruction manual for those new to the scene. This is probably very useful for those who like to try out what they read on their lovers, but it interrupts the flow of the story here.

That said, Bligh seems intent on fulfilling my wishes by exploring the relationship of a dominant partner to a submissive, again in the context of possession and ownership. Honey initially feels violated by her loss of control, but Thane insists, and eventually she realizes he’s everything she could ever want. Thane himself, although in control and on top in every scene, admits freely that he belongs utterly to Honey, and that without her his life has no meaning. This is why the sex scenes in Make it Rough carry more power than their basic action usually allows. Bligh’s talent is in constantly reminding the reader that this is an emotional and mental game, and only works when both players know what’s at stake and are willing to play.

Go now, read this story and Make it Real if you haven’t already, and join me in praying to whatever sex-deity you believe in that Bligh keeps this up.

The Cat House 2: Catnip Crazy by Julia Talbot



The Cat House 2: Catnip Crazy by Julia Talbot
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal
Length: Short (36 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Xeranth

Cole Lee owns half of the Cat House, and lately he seems to own all the troubles that come along with running the club. Now someone is dead, there are cop are all over the place, and the press coverage is going to be bad for business, Cole can tell. The one good thing about this whole mess is meeting cop Alan Shaw.

Alan can’t seem to resist Cole, even though he knows he should be working the case. The chemistry between them makes Alan and Cole both take stupid chances, and it might just blind them to the danger they still face. Can they solve the case and still make time to get to know each other in the best possible way?

If you are looking for a story that is well balanced between characters, plot, dialogue and hot passion, then Catnip Crazy is for you.

I get the sense that Cole Lee has been seen by readers before yet I didn’t feel lost reading this second installment of The Cat House. It’s a nice stand alone and I enjoyed getting to know Cole. He’s a very hunky alpha male and even though this is a short story, I could appreciate his sense of responsibility, his sense of right and wrong and his take-charge persona. I also like Cole’s sense of humor and directness when it comes to something…or someone he wants.

Alan is a nice counter-balance to Cole. He is a man and a strong one at that. He’d have to be, to be a cop. And yet, when it comes to his relationship, such as it is, with Cole, he’s able to be more, to be himself and that’s a freeing thing. I also found it fun to see a well disciplined career man get bowled over by a love interest and liked reading about the resulting internal conflict it produces.

Layla is a secondary character that is another person readers have met before. She’s minor in this story but she has a few one liners that color the story with just the right touch.

The conflict is concise, brief and very effective. Ms. Talbot chose precise words to make the strongest impact, like a surgeon.

The author also has Cole saying something that has Alan very annoyed and me very amused. It was like an inside joke. After reading this story, I found a friend who had already read Catnip Crazy and I was able to say “Hey, wasn’t’ that part hysterical”? You see, there is nothing more exciting than sharing the best parts of a story with someone who’s read it and reliving all the fun of reading it for the first time. Catnip Crazy has plenty of sharing moments which you’ll find out when you read it too.

Unlaced Anthology by Jaci Burton, Jasmine Haynes, Joey W. Hill & Denise Rossetti



Unlaced by Jaci Burton, Jasmine Haynes, Joey W. Hill & Denise Rossetti
Publisher: Berkley, Heat
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-fi/Fantasy
Length: Full, Four Novella Anthology (280 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Menage, Multiple Partners
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Viscaria

Four mistresses of erotic romance unleash their most irresistibly dangerous fantasies in this sensational anthology of lust and lingerie.

So many delicious surprises under a corset . . . Such fine exquisite lace. Such warm soft leather. Such a nice tight fit. Such impressive boning. Here are four all-new stories from four hot authors that erotica fans will find irresistible...

I loved this book! I know that seems rather simple, but it’s the truth. I just loved this book. Containing four novellas by four amazing authors, Unlaced is a definite keeper and will be a book I go back to on a regular basis to reread.

Of the four authors in this new anthology, I was only familiar with two: Joey W. Hill and Denise Rossetti, who are among my absolute favorite, auto-buy authors. I will admit up front that I read the stories in this book out of order… I just couldn’t wait to read the newest offerings of these two authors. What made this book even better was that I now have two more authors added to my auto-buy list.

While each story would stand alone quite well, together they make one delicious read. Each one has common threads that link it to the others: corsets which have such an erotic connotation, and believing in a second chance; at love, at life, at all the possibilities. I was rooting for the HEA in all of them, and wasn’t disappointed.

In The Ties That Bind by Jaci Burton, Burton crafts a sweet yet spicy tale that is a nice counterpoint to the serious, in-depth emotions of Hill and Rossetti. I’m not saying that the story wasn’t deep, just a bit sweeter than I’ve come to expect from the two favorites. This story is a tale of love in the wrong season revisited when the time is right. And what a love! These two have obviously loved each other for a very long time, but believed that it would never work as it had failed the first time around. What a lovely surprise to realize that love will always prevail.

Undone by Jasmine Haynes was a nice surprise that had me riveted from start to finish. Another new-to-me author, Haynes has now been added to my auto-buy list. I find that I want to go check if she has a backlist anywhere that I can acquire it. I loved this tale of a May-December romance with an absolutely delectable hero that had ME melting right along with the heroine.

I was really excited to get a chance to read Controlled Response by Joey W. Hill. Many of you know (as I endlessly expound on how much I love her books) that well… I love her books! The deeper meaning behind the heroine’s use of a corset was so very fascinating, and I had great fun getting to know the hero… not to mention his friends. I loved going along for ride as two very strong-willed people found that they couldn’t live without each other. The serendipity involved in this tale was fun to see, and I look forward to more from “The Board Resolution” boys. Yes, I know, rather cryptic, but read the book… I’m sure you’ll feel the same way too.

And last, but definitely not least as there really isn’t a least in this anthology, is Rubies And Black Velvet by Denise Rossetti. I can say so much about this tale and this author but it all boils down to: WOW! I am constantly amazed at the depth of Ms. Rossetti’s writing, not to mention the fact that her world-building is absolutely remarkable. This story sucked me in and pulled me right along for the sensual, emotional ride of my life. The darkest tale in the book, this one may not be for everyone, but I had no complaints and in fact liked it immensely. This was very deep and evocative and an incredible companion to the previous stories, as well as a fitting conclusion to the anthology.

From start to finish we are taken through so many different “kinds” of love, but all of them are valid and intense and end in my favorite Happy Ever After. All in all, this was a fabulous read that I wholeheartedly encourage anyone to read… and reread, I certainly will.