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Friday, September 4, 2009

Just Being Neighborly by Nicole Gestalt



Just Being Neighborly by Nicole Gestalt
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (30 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/F, Ménage, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Fern

Feeling down after a bad breakup, Adriana tries to find distractions to help her move on with her life. New neighbor Ben seems like a good start...until she meets Ben's wife, Cassie.

Determined to be a friendly neighbor, however, Adriana decides to be social. When Ben and Cassie's first dinner party turns kinky, Adriana discovers there is plenty to keep her thoughts, and body, occupied.

What’s a heartbroken girl to do after a devastating break-up has ruined her hopes for a meaningful relationship? If she’s lucky, she can turn to her sexy new neighbor and his equally lovely wife for comfort. Thus is the premise of Just Being Neighborly.

Adriana’s former boyfriend was not only cheating; he got the girl in question pregnant and promptly proposed. Her love life in the aftermath is non-existent, and at the present moment, doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. Jaded and disillusioned, she becomes intrigued by her new upstairs neighbors. A few friendly dinners and casual encounters with Andrew and Cassie leave her curious. They are an extremely open couple who tempt her beyond reason. She just has no idea how open they truly are, and how involved she’ll become with them, until she walks in on their bondage session.

Aside from a few awkward word choices and repetition here and there, the story was a very enjoyable read. Just Being Neighborly is a perfect read for someone looking for something short, hot, and fast-paced.

Stone’s Embrace by Delilah Devlin



Stone’s Embrace by Delilah Devlin
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (80 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/F/F/F, F/F/F, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Lust trapped them in darkness…only love can free them…

A Captive Souls story.


Petra Pedersen has lived as a recluse all her life thanks to a genetic double whammy—a strange deformity and, passed down from the father she will never know, a shameful power. The power to incite lust in men and women with just a touch.

Exploring the garden of the mansion she’s just inherited, she comes across a fascinating stone gargoyle whose raw, passionate expression draws her to caress its broad chest. Her imagination follows her fluttering fingers. As she closes her eyes and gives herself up to the arousal, something shifts beneath her touch.

Long ago, failure to stop a demon battle trapped Octavius in a prison of stone. Freed by the woman’s incendiary touch, he doesn’t hesitate to unleash his pent-up rage and desire in a blistering fury. Yet once the haze of lust clears, he discovers he isn’t really free after all.

They are both trapped in another realm where he must choose between his last chance for redemption or returning Petra home…

Warning: Sex with inanimate objects, lusty m/m/f ménages with gods…it’s all good when the reward is freedom.

Some stories touch your heart and others grab your libido. Stone’s Embrace is one of those stories that take a hold of your libido and throws it into overdrive.

Ms. Devlin writes an intriguing novella. The characters are interesting in that they are both cursed. The reader can identify with the idea of living with things we can’t control. I liked the heroine’s initial control over her sexuality, but the release of said sexuality was a bit bothersome to the story. The focus of the story was more on the act of coupling rather than the characters falling in love with each other.

I understand that demons are offspring of the devil and act according to their own rules, but I found it a bit hard to handle her condition. True, there are those individuals who personify sex and are praised for their looks and abilities to convey lusty feelings. Yet when Petra unleashed her sexuality, she became consumed by it. As for the hero, Octavius seemed a bit too passive. Although the haughty looks increased with his desire for her, I would’ve liked to have had him act a bit stronger, a bit more heroic rather than allowing her to be so free with her charms.

The story was interesting, but if I’m looking for a happily ever after, I’m not sure that this story fits the bill. I wanted to see the characters fall in love, not drown in lust.

If you want a sexy story filled with raw, unleashed carnality, then this is the story for you. I give Stone’s Embrace 3 cherries.

Nocked Over by Sam Cheever



Nocked Over by Sam Cheever
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (129 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Wisteria

Daphne Charissa isn’t a chubby little guy with wings and a quiver of arrows. But she does belong to the Cupid race—a race of devastatingly beautiful creatures who excel at helping others find love, while remaining loveless themselves throughout their long lives.

When Daphne falls in love with Bion Chronos, she launches the two of them into a direct confrontation with the Furies as they fight to protect their own love and win release from the curse of lovelessness for the whole Cupid race. The problem is, the Furies have no intention of letting them win, and the lovers can’t seem to keep their hands off each other long enough to form a coherent plan.

It’s gonna be an interesting battle.

Daphne Charissa works for Cupid’s Arrow. Her job is to match clients who have common ground for a love match. The down side is that as a cupid herself, she has no love in her life. At least until Bion Chronos comes along. Daphne can’t help but be drawn to him. It doesn’t help matters when he insists on spending time with her. She must complete his match but doesn’t want to give up the feeling he stirs in her.

What a great story! A refreshing new twist in the paranormal world that this reviewer hopes will not be the last. The wonderful characters pull you in from the get-go and keep you in till the very end, leaving you breathless and ready for more. More. MORE!!!!

Fast paced with no lagging scenes, clean editing and great writing make this story a keeper for anyone who loves romance, paranormal and love. I look forward to reading more from Sam Cheever in the future, hopefully sooner rather than later but anytime will do.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Her Boyfriend’s Boyfriend by Cheryl Dragon



Her Boyfriend’s Boyfriend by Cheryl Dragon
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (82 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Fern

Cassie has found the man of her dreams. Neil’s rich and smart and hotter than hell! He's perfect. Except for one small thing. Their sex life is cooling off and he’s not talking. It's not her, she's almost sure, and she's not giving up. She's determined to get to the bottom of it. And fix it.

What Cassie doesn't know is that Neil used to have a boyfriend. Lou. They used to pick up women together, have sex with them, enjoy them, but they never found one they wanted to keep. Then Lou moved on. Neil tried. He tried to go straight for Cassie and for his career, but he never stopped loving Lou and without that man in his bed, he's never going to have everything he needs, no matter how much he loves Cassie.

Once Cassie starts digging around, the truth can't be denied. And neither can the chemistry between Cassie and Lou. Is she the one they needed all along? Cassie's never had two men before. Not even just in bed. The idea of a ménage life scares her a little, honestly. But now that she knows how to please her boyfriend, she's not letting him go. Even if it means learning to love her boyfriend's boyfriend.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations some readers may find offensive: Anal play/intercourse, ménage (m/m/f) with m/m sexual practices.

When the sex life has lost that spark, what’s a girl to do? Why, ask your boyfriend’s gay best friend how to bring it back. Just be careful what you wish for, because in this case, you’ll definitely get it.

Her Boyfriend’s Boyfriend is a common but very saucy theme. Girl gets boy, girl loves boy, but girl knows something is missing. Girl asks boyfriend’s gay best friend what to do and learns it’s not really about her at all. She and her lover are just missing that essential ingredient to keep things exciting - him.

Author Cheryl Dragon has made sure that she’s packed enough steam here to see you through in spades. The words melt off the page, each one naughtier than the one before. The emotion is there, too, and creates one great package.

If you like your ménage hot, you’ll enjoy Her Boyfriend’s Boyfriend.

In Plain Sight by Marie Harte



In Plain Sight by Marie Harte
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (84 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Fern

In a choice between fight or flight, love makes the final decision.

A Cougar Falls story.


Cullen Whitefeather is Ac-taw –a fierce golden eagle shapeshifter. The ultimate predator, he doesn’t shy away from confrontation…unless it involves one tempting, smart-mouthed woman. The woman destined to be his mate. The woman who doesn’t even know he’s alive.

Sarah Duncan made one mistake years ago and hasn’t stopped paying for it since. Tired of the town’s treatment, she finally tells the truth about what really happened and pays a hard price. Her clan wants to silence her. Permanently.

Rescue comes from a completely unexpected source—Cullen, a man who can barely seem to string two sentences together. Yet his fierce protectiveness, compassion, and bewitching touch are worth more than a thousand words.

With Sarah so close, Cullen is losing his mind—and his heart. She says she wants to leave, and the raptors want her gone. But if there’s one thing Cullen’s good at, it’s a fight. And he’s not letting her go without one.

Warning: this book contains explicit sex, a woman done wrong, birds of prey, sexy men who can’t talk to women, and red hot lovin’ that’ll make you wish you could fly.

If you’re looking for a sizzling romance that will captivate and snare your heart, In Plain Sight is just for you. Marie Harte has created an amazing world where shifters of all kinds exist, in a place as beautiful as it is dangerous.

Sarah Duncan is a woman that learned an awful lesson as an impulsive teenager. She’s attempted to move forward in her life, unwilling to let it keep her down. But a bad encounter at Fox’s Henhouse diner ousts her, and she finds herself on the receiving end of some lethal pent up aggression. Cullen Whitefeather is a solitary Ac-taw shifter that comes to town each day for one reason – to see the woman he can’t get out of his mind. Sarah is his mate, though she doesn’t know it. When she finds herself in a spot of trouble, he intervenes, and sets destiny in motion.

I truly loved this story. It’s got so many wonderful elements. There is the Montana backdrop, the multitude of shifters, the amazing characters, the combustible chemistry between the protagonists, and of course, those secondary characters you can’t help but want to know more about. There is so much here, even at the novella length, and a reader will walk away more than satisfied. But the reason I can’t get it out of my mind is the love story between Sarah and Cullen. They are very memorable and will make you smile again and again.

A definite must read and something to be enjoyed more than once. In Plain Sight is going on my keeper shelf!

Heat of the Storm by Elle Kennedy



Heat of the Storm by Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (77 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Holly

Give a SEAL an inch, and he’ll take your heart.

An Out of Uniform story.


Lieutenant Will Charleston has waited fifteen long years to show up as anything other than a one-pixel blip on Mackenzie Wade’s romantic radar. If a powerful storm is what he needs to send her into his arms, he’ll take it. Once the hot sex is over, though, she seems determined to kick him right back into the friend zone.

Not this time. This time, he’s going to teach her the meaning of tenacious.

Mackenzie has always had feelings for Will, feelings she fights with all her strength. He’s her best friend, her safety net. The one man who’s not scared of her accursed psychic gift. No doubt he drives her wild in bed, but their night of passion was more than a mistake. It generated a tragic vision of the future, one that leaves her more confused—and afraid—than ever.

Problem is, Will knows her too well. Plus he’s a SEAL to the bone. And they don’t like to lose…

Warning: This title contains a Navy SEAL who knows exactly what he wants—ridiculously hot and dirty sex with the woman he’s been fantasizing about for years. Stormy sex and graphic language await you.

Mackenzie Wade and Will Charleston have been best friends for fifteens years. For navy SEAL Will, it has become much more than friendship, but Mac has been hurt before and doesn’t want to lose her best friend by taking a chance. Can Will use The Heat of the Storm to convince her that what they have is so much more and that he will not disappoint her as others have done? Can Mac return to being just friends with Will, once they share a night of perfect passion?

Elle Kennedy has crafted a beautiful love story, with a strong woman and a caring hero. As I read, I could understand Mac’s dilemma: to take a chance and perhaps lose Will’s friendship, when that has been the one constant in her life, or to play it safe and keep him at arms length. Toss in the psychic visions that turned her former lover away from her, and you can see all the insecurity Mac has inside. I loved the way she was able to inject humor into the plot in such subtle ways, and I was delighted by the way Will chose to continue to pursue his goal. Elle Kennedy has given these characters depth and dimension far beyond my expectations. And the supporting cast is one I hope to see in future stories from Ms. Kennedy, as the interaction between them all is so true to life.

I expected an enjoyable read from this, but I find myself telling friends “you have GOT to read this book”. If you want a book that is filled with passion, love and hot bedroom action, Heat of the Storm delivers on all counts. Can Mac face her fears and give Will the chance he wants? You’ll just have to read this book and find the answers.

Dreaming of You by Ethan Day



Dreaming of You by Ethan Day
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (150 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Cactus

Restaurateur Aden Ingle has been in love with the perfect man since his fourteenth birthday. Unfortunately, his perfect boyfriend only exists in his dreams. But Aden’s always believed it was his destiny to meet his dream man, and he's perfectly content to wait around for him to walk into his real life.

When he meets Logan Price at a Hotel/Restaurant Trade Show, he finds himself drawn to this man who shakes him out of his dream world. Pretty soon, the flesh and blood reality is becoming more appealing than the fantasy. The only problem is Logan lives half way across the country in California.

Aden's going to have to choose whether to give up everything he’s built for himself professionally and uproot his whole life for Logan, or wait for the man from his dreams to become a reality.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, male/male sexual practices.
When clumsy Aden finally finds an ideal boyfriend, will the man of his dreams appear to wreck the budding relationship? Aden is a bit of an odd ball. He’s clumsy, neurotic, obsessed with karma, and has been dreaming of a mystery man for over a decade. Yet despite all of his eccentricities, Aden has found a man who loves him for all his zany quirks in fellow restaurateur – Logan. Logan soon falls in love with Aden and wants a committed relationship. But that means the cross-country lovers will have to make some compromises. At the same time, Aden’s dream man seems to have materialized in the flesh to throw some confusion into the mix.

This is the perfect summer story for fans of romantic comedies. A reader who enjoys quirky, funny and romantic movies where the lead character is a total klutz with few, if any, social abilities, yet has a charm in all their lost, hopelessness – this book will be right up your alley. Aden is a sweet, handsome, good looking and accident-prone klutz who frequently blurts out explicative and carries on long conversations with his conscience. At the same time Aden is driving everyone crazy with his screwball behavior, he finds love in an unlikely source. Logan is sweet, patient, and loving with a few of his own quirks and eccentricities. Together the two manage a quick courtship followed by a long distance relationship. The fast paced, humor driven story shows the realities of long distance relationships and the potential pitfalls in drastic changes while offering charming humor as the characters laugh at themselves.

The story is put together somewhat awkwardly as the past, present, and future are all mixed with dream sequences of Aden’s mystery man. There are few clues to show which scene is which as the story begins with Aden’s farewell party and then shows flashbacks to how he met Logan and finally catching up to the present with the big decisions Aden must make towards the end. This leads to a disjointed reading experience until the flow of the story is established and then the engaging dialogue and over the top; outrageous characters start to take over. The cast is just as ridiculous and humorous as the main character so be sure to read this with the light, easy feel it is intended. The characters are all exaggerated, as are the situations, which will appeal to some readers and maybe not to others.

The prose is engaging and entertaining, perfect as a fun, summer read. There are a few problems and this book will be more successful with those who enjoy pop culture driven romantic comedies with mostly unreal situations and characters. However, the exaggerated tones lend a very humorous thread woven tightly throughout the story.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Not Yeti! by Celia Kyle



Not Yeti! by Celia Kyle
Publisher: Changeling Press, LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (38 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Xeranthemum

Sex with a yeti's hotter than summer in the tropics, but the twins are five and day-to-day life has gotten in the way of love. Sela remembers the last ferocious sex they had very well -- the time she drugged Yosi and locked the two of them in the pack's deep freezer.

The current crisis may call for something more drastic...

Not Yeti! is the next in the continuing story of love and passion after marriage and the challenge of adjusting once kids come along.

I’ve read every Yeti! story that Ms. Kyle has written and I’ve enjoyed each and every installment. Sela is a proud and fierce woman who loves her kids but still yearns for that level of loving from her yeti before their arrival. Any woman who’s had kids knows exactly how Sela feels. The author did a great job of showcasing the changes that can happen between husband and wife. She accomplished it with humor and tender heartbreak.

Yosi is the bemused husband who wants the same level of heat and spontaneity they once had but has no clue how to get it back. He bumbles and ends up acting like a typical guy. His character is endearing because he truly wants to fix his marriage and it shows.

Yosi’s sister is still the firecracker she always was. She certainly makes her point in this story.

Although the sex is still hot and fiery, it’s the basic story of two people having to work at a marriage even though the love is strong that pulls a reader in. Without the willingness for compromise and communication, it would be a hard road. Add in the fact that Yosi goes all “one word” and communication becomes a bit of a challenge. I still find that aspect of being yeti totally adorable.

For any reader who’s enjoyed the thrill of the chase and the joys of submission in Ms. Kyle’s Yeti stories, Not Yeti! is a wonderful and touching installment in the continuing happily ever after of Sela and Yosi.

I absolutely recommend it.

Serengeti Heat by Vivi Andrews



Serengeti Heat by Vivi Andrews
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (59 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Gillyflower

The fur’s about to fly…

A Sexy Shifter story.


Ava Minor is done being the good girl. As the smallest and weakest in a pride of shape-shifting lions where size and strength rule, she’s never had any choice but to toe the line. Now, with sexy, nomadic alpha Landon King winning control of the pride, she grabs her one chance to let her inner feline out to play.

Landon would rather focus on reforming the antiquated traditions of his new pride than taking a mate…until the rebellious Ava crosses his path. All his noble intentions go up in flames, incinerated by the heat she exudes—especially when he realizes she’s in heat.

Ava, knowing she isn’t mate material, is determined to revel in one wild night before she’s sent back to her place in the pride pecking order.

Except Landon has no intention of letting his daring, seductive lioness go…

Warning: This book contains sizzling heat, adult language, no-holds-barred cat fights, and hot shifter lovin’ with an alpha male who takes inspired leadership all the way to the bedroom.

What happens when the cowardly lioness goes looking for prey? A sweet story of the runt of the litter coming into her own with a hunky lion shifter alpha.

Sexy Ava Minor is tired of being the smallest lion in the pride. But when she decides to take matters into her own paws, she smacks right into the delicious chest of the pack alpha, Landon King. Ava is mortified that Landon will recognize her desire for him. And Landon is swept away by his own desire for Ava. This leads to complications with Ava’s three overprotective brothers, larger lionesses who have had their eyes on Landon, and pride tradition.

I wanted to like this story more than I did. Ms. Andrews had all the pieces of a winner but mushed them all together too quickly for this reader’s liking. Ava and Landon struggled with real issues from their past and with finding their way in their relationship. While their passion was delicious, it would have been more enjoyable if it had built more slowly, and if some of the dominating traits hinted at in Landon’s personality could have been unleashed. Ava was fun, flirty and feisty and I wanted to see more of that. Nor did the sex justify the dramatic pace of the story. I felt major changes were not entirely credible. If Ms. Andrews had not created such likeable characters facing such interesting issues, the story might have been more satisfying. But she did and I wanted more – more time for Ava and Landon’s passion and relationship to build, more time to enjoy the world Ms. Andrews started to build and for the changes to come about more organically. Like her heroine, Ms. Andrews might have needed the courage of her convictions that this story was worth exploring in greater detail.

Still, this short story about lion shifter love was a lovely afternoon delight. Ms. Andrews packed a lot of detail into the nature of the pride’s living arrangements and hierarchy. It was easy to get a feel for the feline world she created. I will definitely look forward to reading Ms. Andrews in the future. If you are looking for a quickie, I recommend Serengeti Heat.

Nashville Heat by Bethany Michaels



Nashville Heat by Bethany Michaels
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (154 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Holly

When Sydney Stratton moved to Nashville to follow her dream of making it in the country music business, she never counted on meeting Dex Wilder, country's hottest star, let alone hooking up with him! But after a few hot encounters with her cowboy lover, raw lust turns to something deeper and Sydney helps Dex write a new song that reveals a totally different side to the celebrity bad boy she knows only from the tabloids.

As Sydney struggles with revitalizing her floundering career as well as the burgeoning romance with Dex and all of its unique difficulties, revealing photos of the two of them come to light, as well as a secret Dex has been hiding that threatens any future they might have together.
Dex is the hottest thing to hit Nashville in years. Sydney is a struggling singer/songwriter, working for a caterer to make ends meet. When these two meet, it is instant fireworks. But pictures of Dex with the “blond du jour” in the tabloids, and Sydney’s desire to be successful for her music, not her looks, keep these two in constant turmoil. When even more trouble finds them due to Dex's fame she reminded that a relationship with the star will most likely not end well. Can these two ever find a way to be together, or will success keep them apart?

This was a very enjoyable book for me. Bethany Michaels has written a hot and exciting love story. There were several times in this book where I was thinking, “you go girl”, when she refused to be seen as less than what she was. I’m so glad that Sydney stuck by her decisions, mostly, in regards to her relationship with Dex, but I also was happy to see the happy ending these two so richly deserved. Ms. Michaels was able to bring the tears as well as the giggles, and I found several places where I was almost ready to melt, the scenes were so hot. The shower/handcuff scene was extremely creative and erotic. And the late night phone call, let’s just say, oh yeah, to that.

And let me just say that all throughout this story I wondered who was the author's inspiration for Dex? There are several hot country stars that come to mind. Read Nashville Heat, and decide who you think Dex reminds you of.




Batteries Not Required by Anara Bella



Batteries Not Required by Anara Bella
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (71 pgs)
Other: M/F, Very mild bondage
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Gillyflower

Wanted: One fling, orgasmic satisfaction guaranteed.

In Dana Appleby’s experience, really bad, boring sex and long-term relationships seem to go hand-in-hand. Enough is enough. She’s now on a mission and her main objective is finding excitement in the bedroom. And she knows just who she wants to give it to her: Reese Cooper.

Short-term relationships are Reese’s specialty—and so is sex. Dana’s proposal to have a little fling is right up his alley, but things go awry when he starts to realize short-term isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And suddenly the idea of Dana moving onto someone else doesn’t appeal one bit.

So, what’s a guy to do? The only thing he can do. Set out to show Dana that long-term doesn’t necessarily mean boring. Not with relationships—and definitely not with sex.

Warning: This book contains graphic sex, a scorching office quickie and the teensiest bit of newbie handcuff play. Please note: Batteries not included with this book. But don’t worry, you won’t need any.

Batteries may actually be required after you read this lusty tale of lovin’ from relative newcomer Anara Bella!

No-nonsense Dana Appleby has had it with boring sex, boring partners, and being dumped by men who are bored. Though not normally the risk-taking type, she decides to go all out to get a taste (or lots of tastes) of what great sex is all about—with a real man, batteries not required—and walk away from each man after one night.

As Dana puts it, she wants awesome, spine-tingling, knee-melting, mind-blowing sex—the kind you read about in romance novels. And she wants her first one-night stand to be with Reese Cooper, the sexy company playboy. Based on Reese’s reputation, and a scorching trial-run kiss, Dana decides he is just the man to show her the rollicking good time she has been missing; and she doesn’t mind throwing a couple of elbows at Reese’s arm candy du jour to get her plan off to a yummy start. Dana makes Reese—who has a well-earned reputation for avoiding long-term relationships—an offer he can’t refuse. But he does! Who knew Reese would grow a conscience and hold off to protect her? Not to be deterred, Dana pursues her goal. And what better way to a man’s heart than through his stomach. And, as the yummy cover suggests, some delicious lingerie. No wardrobe malfunctions here, folks!

Ms. Bella’s story is a delightful romp that is richer for having depth. Dana is a likable modern woman with whom many readers will be able to identify. Her tendency to blush as furiously red as her bustier is endearing. In her role as aggressor, Dana puts everything on the line but, facing numerous uncertainties, tries to protect herself too. She’s afraid to get too attached. Turns out Dana has some trust issues to confront.

Relationship-shy Reese is used to playing his cards very close to the vest, but has secretly been eyeing Dana for weeks. The only reason he hasn’t acted on his attraction is because he is sure that she is the hearts-and-flowers, serious-relationship type. Reese gets more surprises than he bargained for once he (literally) opens the door to Dana. Maybe he does need more than blow-up blondes? And maybe he won’t be bored after just one night.

I found myself liking and identifying with both Dana and Reese as they wrestled with their respective emotional conflicts—no doubt part of what made Batteries Not Required such an enjoyable read. And there is a lovely, reflective moment between Reese and a mentor that is part of what makes Reese such a compelling character. Ms. Bella’s story could happen to any of us—well, we should be so lucky! But it isn’t rushed or contrived. This is a sparkling gem of a story. Oh, and the sex—is smokin’ hot!

Ms. Bella is now an auto-buy author for me and I highly recommend Batteries Not Required. But you may want to have batteries, or your partner, on hand when you read it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lilac by Louisa Trent



Lilac by Louisa Trent
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (164 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, F/M/M, Ménage, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Fern

Tegan Ellis storms the Hudson River mansion of negligent mine owner Sean Griffith intent on nobly sacrificing herself for her mining reform cause. Her mission to allow the despicable Robber Baron to ruin her during a decadent orgy and then blackmail him into making much needed mine improvements goes hopelessly awry, however, when her adversary shows her his scandalous erotic art collection. One glimpse at a painted mural depicting naked and writhing bodies and the romantic eighteen-year old virgin is overcome with lust.

And inspiration.

Throwing caution to the winds, she tosses her legs in the air.

The despicable Robber Baron never stands a chance. Not only is he unable to defend his dubious honor, he is ravished on the spot. On several spots, to be exact.

When Sean finds out Tegan meant to use him, he extracts a carnal revenge from the duplicitous mining reformer.

And a naughty boudoir romp begins.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and content (including/not limited to bondage, fisting, spanking, whipping), exhibitionism, ménage (m/f/m), voyeurism.

Lilac, without a doubt, pushes boundaries. And as someone that enjoys material that makes her squirm, I can honestly say this story did just that. Louisa Trent has crafted a tale that is beautifully written and delivered, but will appeal to those that look for the darker elements that can be found in erotica. Love and tenderness, though portrayed through the inner workings of the protagonists, is not what drives the characters initially. Instead, you have betrayal pitted against betrayal, ensuring there are plenty of gut wrenching moments and intense sexual situations.

Fortunately, there are lighthearted moments offered as well, which give the reader a reprieve from the darker aspects. The interaction between the hero and heroine, especially when they banter back and forth about anatomical terms and definitions, will have you in stitches. It is during these scenes that you get a true understanding of the burgeoning relationship between the two. I truly enjoyed Tegan Ellis and Sean Griffith. They are portrayed so wonderfully that you’ll actually cheer for them as much as your heart breaks for them.

Definitely not for the faint of heart, Lilac is a story that will linger long after that last page is turned.

Gaven by J. C. Owens



Gaven by J. C. Owens
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (83 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, Forced Seduction, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Cactus

When the Masarians attack Gaven's people, they are defeated and Gaven himself is taken captive. By a man claiming to be his father. It turns out his entire life has been a lie, and now his 'father' will give him into the hands of another man to indoctrinate and train him. Gaven vows he will never shame his people by giving into the Masarians' way of loving other men.

But Vlar, the legendary warrior to whom he has been given, has other plans. The blood-drinker is determined to have Gaven and to make him yield.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, dubious consent, male/male sexual practices, violence, voyeurism.

When Gaven is taken prisoner after his home is destroyed, he never dreamed they would tell him he was the son of the warlord. Now Gaven must come to terms with his past isolation and the offer of companionship, training, and a home by his once hated enemies. Unfortunately part of that offer is to be trained sexually since Masarians believe in the bond of brothers during battle. Now Gaven must also contend with sex with another man, something he fears and hates.

This story is a fantasy epic about Gaven’s emotional journey as he struggles with his past and present. Once told that his life was a lie, Gaven is confused and angry. He is supposedly the son of the warlord but these are people he grew up fearing and hating. These are his enemies and they show very little compassion for his situation. He is told immediately that he will be given to a legendary warrior for military training as well as sexual training in the art of man loving. For a 17 year old young man just coming of age, to say he was freaked out is putting it mildly. Gaven’s fear and uncertainty paint a wonderful character as he struggles with anger, rage, helplessness, and fear. He makes poor choices but most are fueled by desperation and fear, placed far away from everything he’s known.

The first person narrative from Gaven’s perspective is strong, poignant and emotional. The tension and drama of Gaven’s journey to understanding and ultimately a kind of acceptance is evocative and typified with wonderful writing and prose. Gaven never easily gives in and struggles throughout the book to accept this new world versus staying in the whirlwind of misery and confusion that he has come to know. If I have any qualms about the book, it is that the relationship between Gaven and his trainer, Vlar, is weak and under-developed. Vlar is a legendary warrior that has trained many men and there is no real evidence that the connection between Vlar and Gaven goes beyond that superficial interaction. There is no real romance and emotion between the men, thus eliminating the happy ending and not delivering on the romance aspect of the book.

My other issue is the lack of world building in the story. Other than the initial introduction to the Masarians and a statement of their rituals, very little detail is offered to develop this intricate new fantasy world. I was left feeling as if the story is based on ancient civilizations rather than a new fantasy setting. This didn’t detract from the story but didn’t add enough detail and texture to fully deliver a new and exciting world.

Overall, this is a highly enjoyable book as the strengths are the great writing and fabulous character of Gaven. Although the supporting characters were predictable and empty, the solid narration carried the fast paced story. Fans of fantasy romance will sympathize with Gaven but likely be left wanting with the lack of relationship presented. However, perhaps the author will offer a sequel where Vlar and his intriguing vampire tendencies will be explored. With a gorgeous cover and absorbing story, you should still be sure to get this one.

Circe’s Recruits: Derrick by Marie Harte



Circe’s Recruits: Derrick by Marie Harte
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (124 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/M, M/F/M/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Fern

In the three years since Project Dawn disbanded, Derrick continues to fight the good fight. Now civilians, his squad--Circe's Recruits--works for a private organization bent on cleaning up the mess left in the wake of Project Dawn's rebirth. Pearson Labs continues to create Circs, people who have been genetically changed. When needed, these Circs take on an altered form, one neither man nor animal, but something in between. But unlike the squad, the Circs coming out of Pearson Labs aren't sane.

Derrick doesn't trust Sabrina Torrence. She's an agent for the Project Protection Agency. Their mission in life is to kill and enslave Circs for Pearson Labs. No matter that she helped one of their own escape from the labs, or that she's given them vital information they'll need if they want to take down Elliot Pearl, the labs' founder. Derrick knows she's got her own agenda. If only she wasn't so damned attractive, then he might be able to keep his hands off her and his mind on the job. Then a stunning circumstance forces him to reevaluate all he once thought. But will this new insight be too late to save their growing love?

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, bondage/restraint, domination, male/male sexual practices, moresome (m/f/m/m), violence.

If the idea of genetically enhanced humans and oodles of steamy sex appeal to you, then you’ll love the third installment of Marie Harte’s Circe’s Recruits series, Derrick.

Although this is the first in the series I have read, I didn’t have any problems getting acquainted with the characters or absorbing their history. Marie Harte has done an excellent job filling in any potential blanks without padding the story. So if you dive in like I did – in the middle – don’t worry. A previous understanding or back history isn’t absolutely necessary. Just be prepared. If you like Derrick as much as I did, you’re likely to buy the first two anyway, and might as well enjoy the set from start to finish.

All of the characters are wonderfully presented, but the focus remains centered on the main protagonists: the powerful and intimidating Circ, Derrick Packard, and the woman that may not be wholly human, Sabrina Torrence. The interactions between them are combustive and scorching, creating some of the most sizzling pages you’re likely to read. They are both incredibly memorable, and will remain on the brain long after you’ve finished reading.

Another aspect of this series I admired was Marie’s ability to bring additional sexual partners into pivotal scenes without making it feel forced or awkward. I’ve read material in the past in which similar circumstances tear the newly formed foundation of the protagonists apart. In this, it brings them closer together. You get the whole Alpha male, Alpha female scenario here, but you also get a bigger vision of the unit they create as a whole.

A thoroughly enjoyable read, Circe’s Recruits: Derrick is something I’d recommend to those that like a slathering of sci-fi combined with intrigue and suspense, intense and memorable men, feisty and kick-ass women, and tons of heat!