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Friday, November 20, 2009

The Candy Bar Liaison by Kiyara Benoiti



The Candy Bar Liaison by Kiyara Benoiti
Publisher: Breathless Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (22 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Review by Snowdrop

What happens when a store manager falls in love with a young, homeless woman who shoplifts? Love and an engagement ring can be found in unexpected places.

This story is like a little black dress... cute, sexy and fits anytime.

Ms Benoiti creates wonderful characters that tug at your heart strings. Seeing a young woman get a second chance and a love blossom makes you believe in the power of true love. The reader can't help but enjoy both beautiful things.

This is a really sweet story, and the only thing I didn't like is that it was too short. This had potential to be a novella at least. Ms Benoiti has many openings in the plot to go deeper, but doesn't. You want to know what will happen for this couple next.

Jill is a sweet woman with a bit of a sweet tooth, who's fallen on hard times. The background Ms Benoiti gives Jill helps make her believable. Even though she acts irresponsibly, you can't help but find a soft spot for her. Cory is a good guy who has a big heart. His tenderness and compassion makes him such a great character. And it doesn't hurt that he's handsome and totally interested in Jill. I really liked watching these two get together and fall in love. I bet you'll want to read this story over and over. I know I do.

Dragon Kin: Fire In the Sky by Michelle Hasker



Dragon Kin: Fire In the Sky by Michelle Hasker
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (38 pgs)
Other: M/F,
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Selena's had the hots for her boss Kyden since she started working for him. There's something about him that just drives her insane with desire. It doesn't matter that she's too fat and too dark for him, she wants him desperately. And it's gotten worse over the last few months. This month she even found herself ready to masturbate in her cubicle. Kyden's ordered her to stay late to work tonight, just the two of them, but she's not sure she can control the desire if they're alone in the building. Or if she wants to.

Selena Fine has fantasies, hot sexy fantasies all involving Kyden Lisander, the hottest man she has ever seen. Unfortunately, Kyden is her boss, and Selena doesn’t fit the mold that his normal feminine companions fit into.

Will Selena be able to accept what she really is, once Kyden brings out the real being inside her? And will she be ready to embrace a new life, one that includes Kyden and his family? Will she finally find out why she gets urges every time the moon is full?

Michelle Hasker has created a strong but sympathetic character in Selena. Selena is a real woman, with all of the doubts and insecurities of normal women everywhere. She wants love, and she has daydreams of hot and sweaty sex with a gorgeous man. When Kyden fulfills her fantasies, she thinks there’s some kind of trick, or joke involved. I love it when the BBW gets the hot guy, because it gives the rest of us hope.

Kyden does everything he can to anger and enrage Selena in order to try and trigger her change into the fiery companion he knows is in her. Yes she is a dragon, but she is also a woman, a strong and sensitive person. I loved that Kyden didn’t give up on her, either. He was determined to bring her to his side by whatever means necessary. If you want a really hot short story to enjoy, this one fits quite nicely. Be warned, keep the fan on high and the ice water nearby, for this happy ever after is a screaming hot one.

Full Moon Mating, Wolf Creek Pack 1 by Stomy Glenn



Full Moon Mating, Wolf Creek Pack 1 by Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (178 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Review by Phlox

Sheriff Joe Nash couldn't have been more surprised when he answered a call to a shooting and discovered the sexiest man he had ever seen. His extraordinary response to the man told him immediately Nate is his mate. Taking a chance, Joe takes him home, hoping to convince him to stay.

But Nate Summers is on the run from someone, never staying in one place for more than a few days. The tall, handsome sheriff and his offer of a safe haven intrigue Nate, but he's afraid that if he sticks around, the sheriff will discover his secret, a secret that could make the sheriff hate him.

Built around the premise of a pack-run town, a town where everyone from the mayor on down is either a werewolf or involved with one, this series opener holds a lot of delicious possibilities. I love the concept of pack society enlarged upon and fleshed out into a working human society, from the Alpha on down.

The main characters are engaging and likeable, as is so often the case with Ms. Glenn’s protagonists. Joe’s tough and all male but his protective side has nurturing aspects as well. Instead of simply being the commanding dominant male, he worries, he cares about what his partner thinks, he frets and obsesses, which all make him far more endearing than someone who is always sure of himself. Nathan is emotionally wounded and gun-shy but still holds onto enough of himself to be compassionate and understanding, just what Joe needs in a mate.

Where the story has issues for me is, unfortunately, in the story itself. The opening scene is so compelling that the reader may feel cheated by the explanation (or lack thereof) concerning why Nathan refused to speak at first. The conflict revolves around an evil, manipulative man, the Teacher, from whom Nathan has made a daring escape but the reader is never allowed to share in what one suspects was a daring and exciting getaway, not even in flashbacks. Too many things are glossed over or referred to in vague terms – the other ‘students’, the life they shared, memories of Nathan’s mother, what, precisely, the Teacher’s tactics might have been. The antagonist is merely a threatening shadow until the end and when he does appear, I found him an enormous disappointment and the ending somewhat forced since we had been set up to expect grand, Machiavellian plans from this evil man.

Plot difficulties aside, Joe and Nathan do catch at the heartstrings, individually and as a couple. The love scenes between them, alternating between tender fire and volcanic heat, are truly the best parts of the story. There are enough good points to the tale to leave one curious for the next installment and, perhaps, a more tightly woven story for the Wolf Creek Pack to run with.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Attitude Angel by Amarinda Jones



Attitude Angel by Amarinda Jones
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press Torrid
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (104 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Holly

Two months ago, David Falconetti, pizzeria owner, was killed. Much to his surprise he ended up in Heaven. The angels have a job for him to do—he must make Andalusia Shea believe in life and Christmas. If he can do that then he can live again. The angels tell him his death was no accident. David wants to bring his killer to justice and have his life back. He’s no angel and Heaven’s not for him.

Lucy Shea doesn’t want some half-assed hot angel thrusting himself into her world and getting all Christmassy on her. She has too many other problems in her life, and a charming, sexy man making her lose control and fall in love is the last thing she needs. Besides, the angel’s only helping her to help himself. What sort of an angel is that?

David Falconetti is a handsome, dark haired man with attitude. He has a mischievous side and a bad boy image. He is also dead, and surprisingly enough, he is in heaven. He is an angel, and the higher power is making him an offer he can’t refuse. After being dead two months, he is being sent back, to earn a second chance at life. All he has to do is bring the love and joy of Christmas to one woman: Andalusia Shea, a disillusioned and unhappy person who has pretty much given up on life. Oh, and while he’s at it, he needs to find out who actually was responsible for his death.

When we first encounter Andalusia, Lucy Shea, she’s at the supermarket, in her classic grumpy mood. She lost her mother six months previously to cancer, and hates everything at this point, especially Christmas. David has an uphill road trying to win her over to the happiness road, and he breaks every rule the head angel, Aballach, gave him. The adventures he and Lucy get up to in the hot Australian holiday season are both hilarious and very sexy.

Amarinda Jones writes a witty and wonderful holiday story, with romance and hot steamy sex. The characters are fun to read, and the journey from Attitude Angel to something more for David is so much fun. And Lucy is written with such humor and laughter, mixed with her pain, that I laughed at the antics, agreed with some of Lucy’s insights for the holiday season, and ultimately, I fell in love with both of them. This is an excellent, if non-traditional, holiday story, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. For anyone feeling a bit sad at the holiday, this is a real winner, and if you want to heat up your winter, this will do quite well. Do they find David’s killer, does Aballach give David his life back, and is there a happy ever after? Read Attitude Angel and find out.

Woodland Magic: Fated by Anna Leigh Keaton



Woodland Magic: Fated by Anna Leigh Keaton
Publisher: Cobblestone Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Viscaria

With his father the fairy king demanding he find a mate, Prince Aislan is uptight, unsettled. He swears he’ll never put himself in a position as to give his heart to any female. Until he meets a human who possesses the tenderness for which he longs.

Tina doesn’t believe in wishes or fairy tales, so the last thing she expects to find is a man in the moonlight. One who seems to know exactly what she needs, shows her the magic world from where he comes, and makes her dreams come true...if only for a brief moment in time.

Every once in awhile you come across a book that grabs you and holds onto you even after you’ve turned the last page. Fated by Anna Leigh Keaton was one of those books for me.

Tina has come to the end of her rope. She’s dealing with some pretty serious issues that she’s pretty sure cannot be overcome. Tina is a heroine that I found myself rooting for from the get-go. I wanted her to have all her dreams come true, and I found I was incredibly invested in her happiness from the moment she’s introduced. I can’t say that I know how she felt, or understood what she was going through, as I have never had the issues that she was dealing with. But, I can say that I was there with her, I felt her pain and her joy and her wonder as if it were my own. It’s not often I get pulled so completely into a character.

Aislan is literally a Fairy Prince. He’s frustrated with his life, he’s frustrated with his father pushing him to find a mate and he’s convinced that he’s never going to only want one woman in his bed for the rest of his incredibly long life. All that changes when Tina walks into his life. I adored Aislan! His old-world charm was sweet and yet I didn’t feel that it was overdone or sappy. Another amazing character in Ms. Keaton’s world, I fell in love with Aislan right along with Tina and wanted a fairy of my very own… as long as he was as hot and loving and considerate as Aislan.

I’m not sure that I can get across in words how much this story touched me. I didn’t just read about the pain and joy of the characters, I experienced it as if it were my own. I laughed and cried right along with them and asked for more. The love scenes were incredibly hot and sweet all at once, and that’s what they were from the very first encounter… love scenes. Never did it feel like a token sex scene to boost the heat rating. Each touch, each kiss was essential to the story and to the progression of their love. Rarely have I read a book that made me laugh and cry so much in such quick succession. Even when I was moved to tears I had to turn the page and see what would happen next. I was terrified that it wouldn’t work out for Tina and Aislan. Without revealing too much of the plot, I can say that the requisite, at least for me, HEA was reached and left me smiling, even as I dried my tears. Up to the last page this story was so evocative and so touching that I didn’t want it to end; I wanted to know more. I can’t ask for more in a book.

When you add in a set of secondary characters that weren’t superfluous, who had me just as invested as the main characters and this book is not to be missed. I will definitely be looking for more books from Anna Leigh Keaton and would recommend that you at least add Fated to your list of books to be read. A well deserved five cherries.

Big Bad Wolf by Flesa Black



Big Bad Wolf by Flesa Black
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (127pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Fern

Vivien's had a thing for dark-haired Rex ever since he moved to town, and five years is a long time to want someone. After he rescues her in the woods from a wild dog, Vivi ends up in his bed, and finally all her erotic fantasies about the rugged carpenter come true.

Rex wants nothing more than to spend his time fulfilling all of the luscious Vivi's desires while he teaches her a few new tricks—both in and out of the bedroom. The problem is he knows it wasn't a wild dog that bit her, but a feral werewolf, one of Rex's kind, and he only has a few weeks to explain to the woman he loves why she's changing…and exactly what she's about to become.

's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, bondage.

The title of this story really says it all, are you ready for the Big Bad Wolf? Flesa Black has managed to take a familiar premise and spice it up with sultry characters and a sexual chemistry so hot, it burns and simmers.

Vivien is a smart, head-strong, and voluptuous vixen that has no idea of the power she wields. Following a failed marriage in which her husband left her for a stick thin model, she believes she’ll never have who she wants. She’s proud but insecure, and you’ll ache for her when she replays why Rex is too intelligent, generous, and sexy to want a woman that comes to the bedroom with a little something extra. When things get hot and heavy, and she comes out of her shell, you’ll watch her come into her own and shine.

Rex is everything a shifter should be. He’s dominant, he’s gorgeous, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to care for the woman that he would claim as a mate. Avoiding Vivien has been the hardest thing he’s ever had to do, but he’s done it because of the danger involved in bringing her into his world. It takes having the decision ripped from his hands to step up to the plate, but once he does, you’ll fall in love with him right along with Vivien.

Fans of shifter/werewolf stories will love this story. Big Bad Wolf is well-written and engages your attention right away. I loved the elements that were a tongue in cheek reference to Red Riding Hood, and couldn’t help but chuckle when the heroine takes a stroll through the woods after her car breaks down to travel to her Grandmother’s house. As a rule, secondary characters don’t one-up the protagonists, but it’s impossible to forget Vivien’s shotgun toting Gran. I should also mention that the sex scenes are flaming hot, and the inclusion of honey in one of the scenes was sticky-sweet. Really, is there any better kind?

Be sure to put this story on your TBR list, especially if you’re a fan of the genre. Big Bad Wolf is a werewolf tale you don’t want to miss.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley



Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 5 cherries
Review by Cactus

Miller Sutton, a by-the-book FBI agent, is starting to see some troubling shades of gray in his black-and-white world. He comes face-to-face with his doubts in the person of Danny Butler, a mid-level drug runner Miller hopes to use to catch a much larger fish: Roberto Hinestroza, a drug lord Miller has pursued for years.

Danny has no interest in being a witness against his boss, both out of a sense of twisted loyalty and because he knows double-crossing Hinestroza is a sure death sentence. But he reluctantly agrees to cooperate, and as he suspects, it doesn’t take long for Hinestroza to figure out the betrayal.

Miller is surprised to discover Danny's not the career-criminal lowlife he expected; at the same time, Danny finds himself helplessly attracted to Miller's innate goodness. They barely begin to explore the sparking attraction between them when Hinestroza's hitman tracks them down, and then they're on the run, both for their lives and for any kind of love.

When Danny becomes a reluctant witness for the FBI, no one could predict the outcome. Miller Sutton and Danny Butler are now on the run from a hit man and an inconvenient and unexpected attraction is threatening to cause all kind of problems. Miller has been ignoring and denying parts of his personality for years just as Danny has accepted his life as a criminal. Their case together will prove all stereotypes wrong and show that every person is neither black nor white but made up of shades of gray.

This is easily one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this year. Captivating and enthralling, Shades of Gray shines with a tight plot and superior characterization. The writing is engaging and the characters have incredible depth. There are no cookie cutter villains or superheroes, only variations of good and evil within each person. The situations created are interesting and complex with few easy solutions and only one or two last minute heroics but even those are tempered by high physical and emotional costs. Although the story may seem basic there is so much more to it that m/m romance fans will easily love this offering.

One of the best aspects of the book is that the relationship between Miller and Danny is anything but easy. They fight and struggle against their own demons and preconceived notions as well as others’. Their happy ending, long in coming, is hard won and at high cost to all involved. The tension created keeps you on the edge of your seat while reading through car chases, flashbacks, high sexual chemistry, great sex scenes, and heart breaking revelations. No one has an easy road in this story and the journey is all the better for it. I even questioned how these two would ultimately be together.

This story has it all for m/m romance fans. Action, adventure, great characters, hot sex scenes, a seemingly impossible situation and finally a happy ending. There may be a few problems with the book but you won’t mind. This is a thoroughly entertaining story that instantly draws you into the characters, their thoughts, emotions, and battles and will have you praying these two find a way to be together at the end. Be sure you have time to read the whole thing because you won’t want to put it down.

Two Wanted Men by Elle Saint James



Badlands 2: Two Wanted Men by Elle Saint James
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Historical, Action/Adventure, Western
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Menage a Trois/Quatre, Anal, Voyeurism
Length: Short Story (117 pgs)
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Jasmine

What would persuade a woman jump off a moving train in the Badlands? Two wanted men.

Miranda Herrington lives a quiet, small town life wishing for a chance to be a doctor like her father. One fateful night, two sexy strangers provide Miranda her fondest wish of practicing medicine along with a dual taste of desire. Now they want her to join them in the Badlands.

Luke Quinton and Reese Martin are retired lawmen on their way to their substantial property near the Badlands of South Dakota. Time alone with Miranda stirs their desire to share her forever.

A crooked local sheriff, a deceitful unpaid debt and a very long westward train trip to the Badlands are the only things standing between Miranda and the two men she wants.

Will she join her two wanted men in the wild west?

"I adore the wide open spaces of the west along with living out here. I also love stories set in the old west. Something about the Badlands of South Dakota piques the interest of my writer's muse. Enjoy these tales of erotic love set to the western backdrop of the Badlands." ~ Elle ~

Does Happily Ever After really exist, or have we been deceived as young children by fairy tales, such as Cinderella, Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood? Should we really have believed the fairy godmother or the evil step mother? That’s exactly what our heroine, Miranda Herrington is about to find out. Does Happily Ever After exist for an intelligent, strong-willed woman who desires to be a doctor in a time and age when women are supposed to be seen and not heard? Can two rugged, sexy, retired lawmen whose beliefs span the 21st century (in that a woman can do anything she sets her mind to given a little encouragement) convince the woman of their dreams to be their lover forever when it’s frowned upon by society? Or, will the Big Bad Wolf capture Little Red Riding Hood on her way to the Badlands of South Dakota; thereby, destroying everyone’s Happily Ever After?

Miranda Herrington has always considered herself the kind of woman that men overlooked…never displaying any romantic intent. She’s smart, sassy, headstrong, practical, intuitive for her age, and knows exactly what she wants out of life. She has the ability to see through Sherriff Colby’s façade to know that he’s a male chauvinist pig and a man not to be trusted. A contradiction to the way a proper young lady should conduct herself in the 1800s, Miranda’s the kind of woman who’s more interested in discussing medicine than the next social event in town or the type of dress a proper young lady would wear to such an event. The sole purpose of Miranda’s existence has always revolved around becoming a doctor. Instead of begging for frilly dresses and dreaming about a husband to take care of her, she was begging for medical books to quench her thirst for knowledge regarding the medical profession…that is, until the seductive presence of two sexy strangers awaken the lust that’s been lying dormant in her now wanton body. Although the townspeople have other ideas of how a proper young lady should conduct herself, Miranda is determined to defy the odds, the townspeople, and her father to make her dream of becoming a doctor reality.

When Luke Quinton and Reese Martin show up on her door-step needing help, her dream becomes reality and her desires are awaken by the two sexy strangers. The two handsome lawmen provide Miranda with opportunities she never imagined possible and force her to re-evaluate some of her dreams while acknowledging her hidden desires. The intimate connection between Miranda, Lucas and Reese is not only wicked, but also sensual. Some might call it LOVE at first sight and others might call it LUST. Either way, these three began a journey that will change their lives forever, if they can get past the Big Bad Wolf, Sherriff Ben Colby. Sherriff Colby is the typical arrogant, crooked, self-absorbed, holier-than-thou, egotistical male. Not only does he have little respect for the value of a woman’s opinion, but also for the value of a woman in general. He gives a whole new meaning to the term barefoot and pregnant, which is more along the lines of servant/slave. This is a villain you’ll love to hate and on occasion find yourself wanting to knock him over the head with one of Madea’s cast iron skillets.

In Two Wanted Men, Ms. James takes the reader on a riveting, adventurous journey that will have you biting your nails in anticipation of what is going to happen next. Not only is Ms. James writing as smooth as silk, but the words jump off the page and make you feel as though you’re living in the 1800s. The language and mindset of the characters are so believable that as a twenty-first century woman, I had to constantly remind myself that the setting of Two Wanted Men is during the 1800s. This is probably because I wanted to slap Sherriff Colby upside the head like Cher did to Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck and say “Snap out of it, already”. If you like hot, sexy cowboys who could seduce a woman with just a look, but are skilled in the art of pleasure, then Elle Saint James’ Two Wanted Men is the book for you. Ms. James will have you teetering on the edge wondering if this is a fairy tale in the making or a disaster waiting to happen. I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out. I loved the second book in the Badland series and can’t wait for the third book. Bravo, Ms. James and I’ll definitely recommend Two Wanted Men to my friends.

Cowboy of the Night by Tambra Kendall



Cowboy of the Night by Tambra Kendall
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (69 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Morgan Remington is forced back in time by The Vampiric Council of Darkness. The Hunter, a vampire exterminator, follows Morgan intent on killing him. Adara Galbraith is from the future, sent to 1880’s Texas to stop The Hunter who hides a deadly secret. Adara and Morgan discover the passion of a lifetime, but will they live long enough to enjoy it?

He’s in Loving, Texas and ready to leave. She’s his salvation. What happens when they meet? Ooh, baby, it’s red-hot. He’s looking for his mate and she’s in need of her Cowboy of the Night.

When I opened this novella, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. Was this a fantasy? Paranormal? But upon reading, the combination of fantasy and paranormal genres made this story memorable and unique. Tambra Kendall’s story keeps the reader riveted throughout. You want to know what’s going to happen to these people. Her characters are strong individuals that want to be loved and fight the evil trying to tear them apart.

I liked the idea of the heroine saving the hero. Oh, sure, he could hold his own and yes, he knew who he was up against, but I loved the idea that she kicked behind to save is hide. Although I thought the hero and heroine spent a bit too much time apart in the beginning in favor of revealing back story, I liked the idea that his back was up against a wall.

I would’ve liked to have had the antagonists, though very mean and fun to see in the story, have a bigger role in the story. We knew why the hero was in trouble, but I felt the antagonist needed to be more visible in order to be more unlikable. But the sex scenes and the mating were truly powerful and passion filled.

If you want a vampire story that’s a little left of center and totally full of steam, then you need to read Cowboy of the Night. You won’t want to miss it. I give this work 3 ½ cherries.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dawg Town: Prairie Rose by Carlanime Bligh



Dawg Town: Prairie Rose by Carlanime Bligh
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (21 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Todd Hunter goes undercover to investigate just how a shipment of drugs went missing in the middle of nowheresville, Kansas. But the blonde biker chick is an irresistible temptation.

Rose Blacktail heard there was a new librarian in town, but she didn't plan to pick him up that night. Back at her house, she realizes two things: the moon is full and she's in heat. Getting laid is a challenge when you're about to go all cute, plump, and furry...

He’s trying to break up a drug ring and she’s trying to get some... you know... But when he finds out that the bust isn’t his biggest problem, he’s all for learning the curves of one Prairie Rose.

The Dawg Town series stories aren’t long, but they are long on steamy love blossoming between opposites. In Carlanime Bligh’s addition, we meet Todd, the undercover cop, and Rose, a prairie dog shifter in heat. I like that both had secrets best kept under wraps until a more fitting time arose to explain them. Although I would’ve liked to know what happened after the story, the interaction between them still sizzled.

The love scenes in this story were hot and very memorable. You wanted to see these two get together and forge a love to last a lifetime. I liked the idea that he was the total opposite of what she expected in a librarian. I liked that she needed him so much, the change happened anyway.

I felt the antagonist needed to be more pronounced because it seemed that there needed to be more reason they couldn’t be together. The raw emotion and need between Todd and Rose did help keep the reader’s attention and kept me involved throughout.

If you want a short but sassy story filled with unforgettable characters, then you need to read Dawg Town: Prairie Rose. I give this story 4 cherries.

Dragonfly by L.E. Bryce



Dragonfly by L.E. Bryce
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (56 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Phlox

The sequel to Concubinage. A courtesan of Tajhaan, Inandré finds his life tainted by scandal in the wake of a vicious assault. Admirers and friends desert him, leaving him without hope for the future until he finds a soul mate in one unlikely man.

Bryce offers up another jewel-box short work in Inandré’s touching story of isolation and loneliness. In many ways, Inandré has lived a pampered, privileged life, first as a bed slave to nobility and then as a free courtesan but finery and genteel surroundings are no substitute for certain freedoms other men take for granted. His difficulties at the hands of powerful men occur because he has the gall to refuse the wrong one. His subsequent rape and isolation from society have all the earmarks of the story of a ‘fallen’ woman. Only in Inandré’s case, as a male, he is expected to get back on his feet and find his own way.

The gradual transformation of the relationship between Inandré and his admirer, Shapur, is rendered in lovely, quiet passages. Soft breezes of phrases lift the description, little gems of almost photographic quality are scattered about for the reader’s delight. The fine details—the food, the textiles, the colors—are what make Bryce’s stories so rich and fully realized, no matter what the length. Inandré’s struggles with his inner demons are heartbreaking and draw the reader in even though all the high drama has already occurred before the start of the story. It would have been easy to begin the story with the rape itself but this would have altered the tone of the story, perhaps even cheapened it, and I applaud the decision to begin farther down the road.

This is a highly personal story of a young man’s journey out of emotional darkness and the patient, persistent soul determined to help him along his way. I’m always pleased to have another story of Tajhaan to devour. The lyrical prose and the sensuality of setting and circumstance never fail to whisk me away for as long as the story lasts. Dragonfly does not disappoint and had me glued to the screen until the final word.

I Spy Something Wicked by Josh Lanyon


I Spy Something Wicked by Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (45 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Cactus

It's All Hallow's Eve and Mark Hardwicke's past has come back to haunt him. The Old Man needs Mark to go on one last mission to the wild, lonely hills of Afghanistan—a mission Mark knows he can't survive. Even if he does make it back, Stephen has made it very clear Mark is out of second chances. Should Mark place his lover and his own happiness before duty?

Especially when deep down Mark knows he doesn’t deserve a happy ending.

Mark must choose between his love and his loyalty to his old life. In this sequel to the popular, I Spy Something Bloody, Mark and Stephan have lived together for 5 months. Mark is just beginning to settle into the life of a civilian when his old job asks him to take one more job – one that will likely kill him. Mark doesn’t want to go but feels he has no choice. But Mark can’t leave Stephan either, what can he do in a lose/lose situation?

This is a great short sequel to the first book and shouldn’t be read alone. The process Mark goes through in the first book from working in a British secret organization to being together with Stephan finally is involved and well drawn. So those reading just this short will miss some much needed context. For those that have read the previous book, this look into Mark’s head is wonderful and sometimes wrenching. Sometimes you want to slap him on the head and tell him to stop whining and other times Mark’s emotions are so real and understandable that the scene is poignant. Here Mark is the main focus as he struggles with his dueling emotions and the decision to leave or stay. Beyond his loyalty and love, Mark also struggles with the fact that he doesn’t believe he deserves to be happy, given his past.

This dichotomy for Mark is played out to the very end where his decision to go or stay is very much in the air for the entire story. Stephan plays a more minor role but it’s nice to see him less than perfect sometimes. The emotion could get too angsty but the deft writing keeps the characters real and the situation tense. One aspect I liked was that the story showed Mark as a complicated character who struggles with his past and present. He must accept himself or the Stephan’s love will never be enough. That road to acceptance is not always easy and Mark may stumble, but he definitely deserves a happy ending when it’s done.

For those that always wanted to revisit Mark and Stephan, they will love this short story. Although it’s pretty emotional, the deft handling will have you happily along for the ride.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Serpent’s Lair by Kaye Sykes



The Serpent’s Lair by Kaye Sykes
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Historical,Paranormal
Length: Short Story (70 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Fern

The daughter of an eccentric horticulturist, Ivy is devoted to plant science, but craves an intimacy that embarrasses and excites her. When her father is caught trespassing on Marcus Faraday's estate, Ivy has no choice but to offer herself in exchange for her father's freedom.

Marcus makes her darkest desire come true with his whips and chains, but he harbors a secret that might cost them both their lives. Can they learn to trust each other before it's too late?

The Serpent’s Lair is a BDSM story that has a Beauty and the Beast, gothic romance, kind of feel. When the town spinster, Ivy Shelton, sacrifices herself to protect her father, she has no idea that the man she falls prey to knows her innermost desires and longs to fulfill them. Of course, the mysterious Marcus Faraday isn’t entirely who he appears to be. Bondage, whips, and a huge display of trust will bring them together, but will it be enough to form a bond that can survive Marcus’s serpentine nature?

Though The Serpent’s Lair gets off to a slow start, it quickly gains momentum when Ivy travels to Marcus’s Mansion in search of her father. You’ll begin wriggling and squirming in your seat the moment Mr. Faraday arrives on the page. It’s apparent he’s not what he seems, but the mystery is a slow burner, and you won’t discover–though you will suspect–what he is until the big reveal. He is the most captivating part of the story, and the reason you don’t want to put the book down. That isn’t to say that Ivy isn’t memorable or likeable, because she is, but when Marcus is on the page, everything fades into the background. Nothing beats a tortured hero searching for love and understanding. Through him you’ll become invested in the story and what is sure to be a nail-biting climax.

The material itself is well written, and moves along nicely when Marcus and Ivy are interacting with one another. The sex and bondage scenes sizzle, and the unexpected twists along the way add necessary tension and intrigue. One of the things I really liked was the wow-o moment that arrives near the end. The reader’s attention is intentionally homed in one direction for so long you won’t see the sucker-punch of a sub-plot that has been carefully constructed and hidden away until it whaps you between the eyes and leaves you pleasantly surprised.

The Serpent’s Lair is a story best enjoyed when you need something warm to keep away the cold. Good thing the holiday season right around the corner. Be sure to put this one on your TBR pile.

Unridden by Cat Johnson



Unridden by Cat Johnson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (158 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, M/F/F, F/F, Ménage, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Fern

When country boys meet a city girl, everyone is in for a wild ride.

Studs in Spurs, Book 1

Slade Bower and Mustang Jackson are living the high life on the professional bull-riding circuit. The prize money is big, the bulls are rank and the women are willing. But something is missing.

For Slade, waking up in a different city with a different woman each morning is holding less and less appeal. Even Mustang’s creative attempts to shake things up don’t help. Then along comes a big-city author who’s like nothing they’ve ever encountered. Something about her makes Slade sit up and take notice—and Mustang is always up for anything.

Romance writer Jenna Block has a problem—her agent thinks a cowboy book will jump-start her career. A born New Yorker, Jenna doesn’t do cowboys, not on paper, and definitely not in real life. Luckily for her there are two cowboys ready, willing and able to take her out of her comfort zone in every way that counts…and some ways she hadn’t counted on.

A story with a city girl, two bull-riding cowboys, and so much sizzling sex you’ll melt the house down. How can you possibly go wrong? Cat Johnson has delivered another ménage to swoon for in Unridden, book one in the Studs and Spurs series. When Jenna Block is told her latest romance novel isn’t up to snuff, she’s forced to enter unfamiliar territory. Ménage and cowboys are all the rage, which means she’s got some heavy research to do. A trip to Tulsa puts her directly in the center of the action, between the devilishly hot cowboys Slade Bower and Mustang Jackson.

From the beginning of the story, you learn Slade and Mustang have sex with the multitude of buckle bunny groupies who are eager to take the famous bull-riders for a ride of their own. Sharing women has never been a problem for the friends, but Mustang has noticed his Slade seems to have withdrawn from the action. Try as he might, Mustang can’t seem to snag Slade’s attention, until he notices his best-friend’s interest in Jenna during a competition. One thing leads to another, and eventually they bring the city girl to their shared trailer for a wild night of sex. Only now, Slade definitely doesn’t want to share, and resents the time his friend spends with a woman he can’t seem to stop obsessing over. To me, this represented a coming of age and maturity. Slade is a couple of years younger than Mustang, and though he isn’t aware of it, yearns for something more than the rodeo and empty sexual encounters. It takes meeting the woman he’s not willing to share to bring those repressed emotions to the surface.

The heroine is an older woman that can’t believe she’s allowed herself to engage in a ménage with two flaming hot men that are considerably younger than her. Thinking that it will be a one night only kind of deal, she takes the encounter at face value. Trouble arises when she can’t stop thinking about one of the cowboys–Slade. There is something so vulnerable about him, and she wants to break through the hard exterior to the man beneath. She does enjoy the ménage, but it’s apparent she enjoys those moments with Slade best. Soon, she’ll have to return home and finish her latest story, but will she be able to leave these cowboys that have weaseled their way into her heart behind?

This is a delightful romp that fans of ménage will enjoy. You have the angst, the tension, and oodles of white hot sex. You’ll root for Slade and Jenna, and enjoy Mustang because the characters are so well written so that you understand what goes on between him. The writing is great, the story flows well, and you’ll go from zero to sixty in five seconds flat.

Unridden is a satisfying read that’s pleasurably hot to the touch. Don’t forget to but this one on your TBR list.

Charisma by Wendy Stone



Charisma by Wendy Stone
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (196 pgs)
Genre: Fantasy
Other: M/F, M/F/F, menage
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Bittersweet

The follow-up to A Strange New Breed! Charisma is a siren, the last of her kind. She is running from a man who wants to use the sirens' songs for evil purposes.

Kadian James has his own special powers. He hunts down the beautiful redhead who bumped into him, wanting to save her from her own hell. But when the evil catches her, will Kadian be enough to save her?

If in danger, don’t hesitate: Call The Agency for Supernatural Police (ASP). If you’re lucky, an angel, a vampire, a were-animal, a witch or maybe even a dragon will come to your rescue. Even if you’re not in any danger, I would call the ASP.

Ms. Wendy Stone does it again with Charisma. Although, it may seem a bit extreme to find dragons, sirens, were-sharks, lions and dragons, and even angels in a single novel, Ms. Stone is a master of her craft and easily set the mood so that it all fit in. As easily as ever, she captivated my attention from the start and truly made be believe in the spell binding crazy fantasy she had created.

The only minor setback of the novel, is the number of characters through it and the intricate love stories parallel to the main plot. I believe Ms. Stone could have gotten rid of some of them without decimating the main points of the novel.

Nonetheless, the most important characters are well constructed. The villain was never far behind and just reading about him and what he did to his minions and slaves made me grimace with distaste. Just what you want a villain to be. Charisma and her lover, Kadian, ranged from absolutely amazing, strong with a temper to vulnerable and with that one special musical connection that made me soar with them.

Charisma is not void of humor, personally I loved this phrase: “That was the unmistakable sound of another bachelor falling and hitting the ground hard,” or this one, “I have a tail,” she gasped, staring into the shocked blue eyes in the mirror. “I can’t have a tail. Humans don’t have tails. I’m going to look again and it’s going to be gone.”

Filled with humor, deep heart-felt emotions, music coming from the soul and of course, lots and lots of love (and eroticism, well written and described), I would have to say that Charisma is a must read.