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Friday, December 18, 2009

Hell's Belles Book 1: Devil’s Advocate by Wendi Darlin



Hell's Belles Book 1: Devil’s Advocate by Wendi Darlin
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (172 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Gillyflower

Haylie Monroe is a member of Hell's Belles, a sisterhood of sassy Southern women who have a penchant for devilish men. Blake Sheridan is the hottest devil south of Birmingham. Haylie and Blake's fiery past puts him at the top of her "not even if hell freezes over" list.

But Blake wants her, and what Blake wants, he gets.

Fighting off a devil's advances would be enough to keep any girl on her toes, but Haylie has a bigger problem. Her father, recently released from prison, is now free to seek revenge on her for putting him behind bars.

Around every corner evil lurks, and it's not Blake, with his irresistible hedonistic allure. The real danger is a man capable of murder...and worse.

Wow, this Devil can advocate for me any time!

Haylie Monroe and Blake Sheridan were engaged, though extremely briefly, in college. Haylie carries some completely understandable emotional baggage from growing up with her abusive father. Blake didn’t know anything about Haylie’s past and a joke—in poor taste—with his frat brother outraged and terrified Haylie. She walked out of Blake’s apartment and his life and never looked back.

Ten years later, Haylie – a tirelessly generous social worker who has started her own foundation to help kids no one else can or will help – runs into Blake, a successful defense lawyer. The sparks fly, but Haylie is not sure she can trust any man, well, except for the post-foster care teenager, Grady, who crashes at her place. And Blake is not the only man to re-enter her life. Haylie’s father is released from prison at around the same time, and he wants to make sure Haylie returns to the family fold. In more ways than one.

Ms. Darlin has written a completely engaging love story, with two very likeable main characters, while deftly tackling some of the toughest of societal woes and maintaining a heart-stopping sense of suspense. Haylie is incredibly strong. She has come through her terrifying past and channels her own pain into helping others survive and excel. She has started a foundation to help 18 to 21 year olds who have come out of the foster care system transition to school, work, housing and the like.

Blake is almost too-good-to be-true. He sticks with Haylie even when she repeatedly shuts him out and pushes him away, patiently trying to break through her highly-developed defenses. And when he gets her between the sheets, the steam fairly rises off the page! Blake is not only steadfast and loyal and patient, he is one hell of a lover!

In fact, my only real criticism of the book relates to the emphasis on Blake as a devil, including the cover, which suggested this was going to be a paranormal read. There are some minor pacing issues, and the editing is not as tight as it should have been, but none of this interfered with my sheer enjoyment of reading the book.

Haylie’s best friends, the other three Belles, are delightful secondary characters, and Ms. Darlin has plans to write their stories. I hope she writes them quickly because I can’t wait to read them. I highly recommend Devil’s Advocate, a suspense-filled tale full of passion. Well done Wendi Darlin!

Black Dragon’s Heart by Anita Philmar



Black Dragon’s Heart by Anita Philmar
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (186 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Book 3 of the Black Dragon Series

Devoted chemist, Sarah VanHorn, lives for her research but fantasizes about loving Jake Ramsey. Her two worlds collide when the dragon center agent arrives to rescue her from the company suspected of producing chemicals dangerous to those with dragon blood.

Sarah's not the only one with fantasies. Jake wants Sarah as his mate and he's waited years to claim her. Now, under his protective custody--not to mention the influence of Syndetic's sexual stimulant scenting the air--he can't resist the fiery temptation to finally make her his.

But when tragedy strikes and their dreams are threatened, will Sarah sacrifice her career, Jake, and possibly her life to discover the answers? And will Jake let her?

Sarah has dreamed of Jake as a lover since she was old enough to understand the idea. Now, Jake has been sent by her brother to take her home to the family. Jake Ramsey is undercover at the lab where Sarah has been training and working, but has been sent to return her to the Dragon Center.

Can Sarah and Jake solve the problems facing the Dragon world? Can they find out in time to stop their people from being destroyed? Will they uncover the mastermind behind it all in time to save their baby, or will those who want their race eradicated for all time stop them?

This is the third and final book of Anita Philmar’s Black Dragon trilogy. It is full of action and suspense, as well as lots of hot and sweaty sex, in many varied locations. Sarah is an extremely intelligent young woman, and is key to the difficulties facing her race of people. She has access to everything she needs to find out why her race is dying out, and with Jake’s help she intends to find out. She is a strong and determined heroine, although she has her moments of doubt as well.

Jake Ramsey is the perfect hero. Strong, handsome, caring and protective, he has wanted to be with Sarah, but felt he was not really worthy of her. I love how Ms. Philmar keeps these two off balance, never quite letting them realize the way they feel for each other. Sarah knows she wants Jake but doesn’t think her really wants her, while Jake thinks it is only the Dragon Heat ruling Sarah’s feelings. Once these two realize the truth, they fight together to help their people and stop the threat once and for all. Do they overcome the odds to find their happy ever after?

Read Black Dragon’s Heart, and be prepared for lots of hot and sweaty action on the way to the answer.

Athena's Hunger by Gabriella Bradley and Bonnie Rose Leigh



Athena's Hunger by Gabriella Bradley and Bonnie Rose Leigh
Publisher: eXtasy books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (142 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Athena Brody knew she was different, sensed it even as a child. A virtual prisoner in her own home, she craved freedom, needed answers to the questions her parents had refused to answer. After weeks of meticulous planning, she escapes the cabin she'd grown up in and her over-protective, over-bearing adoptive brothers, determined to learn who she was and where she came from.

Three of Athena's brothers have lived with the knowledge that she was their mate since the moment their parents brought the little girl home to live with them two decades ago. The three eldest, Jake, Gage, and Maverick impatiently await the moment of her sexual maturity but realize only her own kind can enlighten her. When she leaves their mountain home to discover her past and still the hunger that gnaws at her soul, they're one step behind her, watching over her as they've always done.

But not everyone wants Athena to discover her roots, or the secret that has been hidden for decades, and they'll do whatever they must to keep that secret buried in the past--including murder.

Athena's Hunger is a good story with sexy characters and an intriguing plot. Kept away from everyone and everything Athena is a prisoner in her own home and she doesn't know why. But she does know that she's different.

Athena is an interesting character, she is naive and yet she isn't. While she doesn't get whats happening to her, she still goes with her gut making her a strong yet, still slightly immature woman. I say immature, because she's a grown woman that feels she needs to bow down to her parents. This may be because of the way Athena grew up, or the way Ms Bradley and Ms Leigh write the character of Athena. Once away from the overbearing parents she blossoms under the hands of her adopted brothers/mates. The history given to Athena and her mates, makes this relationship much less creepy than it sounds.

The brothers Jake, Gage, and Maverick, are strong sexy guys. Surprisingly they all seem to have alpha qualities. I say surprisingly because most stories like this there is an alpha male then a beta, etc. In this story all three guys seem to get the same face time with Athena, which is a refreshing change.

Ms Bradley and Ms Leigh keep you reading by feeding you tidbits of whats going on, making you want to know who and what Athena is and what really happened in her past.

Spaceport: The Adana Affair by Mikala Ash



Spaceport: The Adana Affair by Mikala Ash
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense
Length: Short Story (94 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Voyeurism
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Breaking News; Who killed Nova Meridian?

The savage murder of a pleasure worker rocks the corridors of Spaceport Adana. Peri Barberossa and Fyche, her faithful AI, answer a call from her sister Holly to get to Adana posthaste. When they arrive, they find Holly gone and a case of mistaken identity allows Peri to make a big impression on the enigmatic private eye, Silas Archimedes, who finds that Holly's sister is even more trouble than the ace reporter herself.

While Fyche discovers the joy of human sex, Holly's old nemesis, Mischa, reaches out with her long and vicious right arm.

Stay tuned for further carnal developments in The Adana Affair, a Peri Barberossa Spaceport adventure.

Ms Ash writes an interesting story. Peri is sexy and determined. She's a woman who knows what she wants and goes for it. Sometimes that's enough to make the story great, but this story needs something more. But I think Fyche was my favorite character. As an AI (artificial intelligence), everything from his point of view was so literal that it made it funny and added a wonderful bit of humor to this otherwise murder mystery type story.

The author writes well-described very hot sex scenes which also work to break up the suspense. Personally I found the plot a bit weak, but it was still entertaining. Mostly I kept reading to find out how Fyche does on his journey of learning about human sexuality, which I found interesting and wickedly funny. Over all this was a good book and I might read the next one.

Touch by Diana DeRicci



Touch by Diana DeRicci
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (69 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/F, F/F, M/F/F/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

Turning twenty-nine and recently dumped by her jerk of an ex-boyfriend, Deena's been working herself to the bone to get her business off the ground and keep her mind off things. When a friend comes through with a birthday gift of a free pass to Touch, an exclusive playground catering to the rich and famous, it's just the break she needs.

Derek, Touch's owner and mastermind, has ulterior motives for giving out that free pass. He saw Deena at the wedding of a mutual friend months ago and hasn't been able to get the knockout out of his mind. Now that her boyfriend's out of the picture—and left her with a butchered heart, Derek plans to woo and win her for himself.

All he needs is a liberal application of his secret weapon: Touch.

Touch is a wicked little novella that is sizzling hot. Diana DeRicci has written something erotica fans are sure to sink their teeth into, while adding enough emotion to keep the romantic reader satisfied.

The premise is simple, but the characters are anything but. Derek has wanted Deena ever since he saw her at a wedding the previous fall. After denying himself for months, he constructs a plan that will allow him to be near the woman he wants, while keeping his identity secret. Deena is a business woman that had her heart crushed by a lover that stated her job was always more important. A day of relaxation given as a birthday present sounds like heaven. Of course, the services offered by the oh-so sexy masseuse, Andre, are more than she ever could have imagined. A first date turns out to be more when Andre introduces Deena to two of his “closest” friends – a couple he engages in super-steamy trysts with. When he comes clean, and reveals himself, can she forgive his betrayal, overcome her devastating past, and accept his kinky sexual desires?

Though well written and a joy to read, I did have a small issue with Deena’s ready acceptance of Derek’s betrayal. Considering her mistrust of men, it’s seemed a stifle forced. Otherwise, this was everything an erotica fan can ask for, and more! The characters are great, and the pace of the material ensures you’ll fly right through the pages. You’ll melt during the blistering sex scene with Derek, Deena, Clara and Jason, and you’ll love the way everything is wrapped up in the end.

If you’re in the mood for a fast–and hot–read, Touch is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Provoking the Spirit by Crista McHugh



Provoking the Spirit by Crista McHugh
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (44 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Remy Robicheaux didn’t know that when he bought his home, it would come with a ghost. Anxious to get rid of the spirit, he calls his little sister’s best friend to help him. Instead of the gawky teenager he once knew, he finds himself face to face with a temptress.

Ainsley Brennen enjoys being an amateur ghost hunter, but when her high school crush calls her to help him figure out the strange activity in his house, her feelings for him are resurrected in a way that makes her knees weak. In an effort to get to the bottom of the haunting, she discovers there’s more than one way to provoke a spirit.

If you are a fan of ghost hunting shows then this book will appeal in a big way. If the TV shows were like this book, they’d come with content warnings.

The other aspect of this story is a romantic ‘what if’ scenario. What if your chosen career puts you back in touch with a person you secretly yearned for from afar? What happens when you find out that your dreams could possible come true? Would you believe in it? Trust it? That is the dilemma facing this story’s intrepid ghost hunter, Ainsley. She’s made a life for herself, she knows what she wants and accepts the things in life that she can’t have. However, not everyone is so accepting of that outlook.

Remy is an old friend. He’s rich, successful in his career and yet he’s still alone, missing that certain something. What I liked about Remy is his willingness to trust Ainsley, even when she’s doing something he’s not too sure of. There’s an element of respect and honor about him when it comes to dealing with his sister’s friend. Yet, he’s no longer content with the status quo. He’s changed but until he faces his past in his present, he doesn’t realize it. It takes an inner epiphany to bring it to light and I’m glad he figured a few things out.

The plot movement is helped by a paranormal thread that weaves through the whole story. If what happens in this story could happen on my favorite show, ratings would go through the roof. As it is, the undercurrent brought emotion and connection between the characters and helped them get past their awkwardness.

Provoking the Spirit, a take on some sage advice I’ve heard, really produces a stunning and entertaining story that manages to be romantic, hot and melancholy all at the same time. It presents a fine balance between developing characters, a changing relationship, some uninhibited sensual provoking and the potential for a solid HEA. Definitely a story worth investigating.

So Many Wolves by Leona Grey



So Many Wolves by Leona Grey
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short (60 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by: Xeranthemum

Julia has been looking forward to her friend’s weeklong Mardi Gras party for months. Not only does she love Mardi Gras, she also knows David, who rejected her, will be there, and she intends to show him just how sexy a curvy woman can be. Then she meets the mysterious and ruggedly handsome Galen, who pushes all thoughts of David out of her head. But the party takes on a whole new meaning when she finds out he’s a werewolf, along with most of the male guests. And they all came to see her. So what’s a girl to do with so many wolves?

This story explores what happens when you have carte blanche in a candy store, except the candy are men and you have to choose just one.

Julia has a great friend who throws a Mardi Gras party at her house complete with fun costumes. Julia has a plan to get her self esteem back on track and is highly motivated. She handles herself with panache and a bit of cheek, but not overly snarky or mean. She’s mostly sure she’s attractive but not one hundred percent confident; she’s about to get verification.

Galen is a different type of male character. He’s strong yet normal. What I mean is, the story doesn’t harp overly much on the alpha werewolf tendencies and a picture of a man interested in a woman is clear and endearing. There are rules and he does his best to adhere to them but passion messes with his intentions and it has dire consequences. I like how he wants to take it slow, is determined to do so, but ends up acting like the being he is.

As much as I liked the story, I would have enjoyed a bit more dialogue and less inner speculation or description. The use of Julia’s extra sense could have been developed a bit more. As it was, it seemed a means to an end and not terribly critical to the story. The scenes with her and Galen were well written and hot and yet, for a shifter male, I expected more intensity. I guess when Ms. Grey had set Galen’s priority on seducing Julia, she kept to that objective. Even when choices had to be made, restraint, in itself very sensual and arousing, kept this story from being gratuitous. The choices the author made Julia make -- she does not come across as easy -- actually have me respecting the heroine. It also has me plenty interested in another installment. There’s more to come and the writing style makes it very easy for me to want to read what happens next between Galen and Julia.

The external conflict worked to bring about decisions that affected the progression of the plot. I also expect to see the arrogant fool again. I can’t imagine him just walking away after what Julia said. I’m thinking he’d be a great reoccurring pain in the neck.

So Many Wolves brings a delightful story to lovers of paranormal werewolf romances. It’s easy to read with a light conflict and has lots of loving and personality to flavor the relationship between Julia and Galen. I’m glad I read it and judging by the tone of the ending, the HEA is going to be fleshed out more and I can’t wait.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter Solstice by Eden Bradley



Winter Solstice by Eden Bradley
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Holiday
Length: Short Story (57 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal sex/play
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Love with a beautiful stranger isn’t so strange—if you believe in destiny.

Celestial Seductions, Book 1

Clinical psychologist Destiny Walker considers herself far too logical for any of that “soul mate” nonsense. Even if her beloved, dearly departed Nana insisted she was going to meet hers someday. When a sudden downpour sends her ducking into a psychic reader’s storefront—and the woman confirms everything her grandmother said—doubt begins to sneak into the corners of her mind.

A chance meeting—more like a collision—with Superman look-alike Reece Kellan sets off a sexual chemistry reaction the likes of which she’s never felt. She isn’t prone to falling into bed with strangers, but he does things to her body that leave her breathless…and unsure where her pleasure ends and his begins.

And that’s the part that scares the hell out of her…

This book has been previously published and has been revised and expanded from its original release.

Warning: Dirty sex with a stranger, a little anal play, more dirty sex, sex on the kitchen table, more dirty sex (because really, can you ever get enough?) and even love at first sight—shocking!

Destiny Walker is a logical woman. She doesn’t believe in soul mates or love at first sight, only what she can prove. When she gets caught is a sudden rainstorm, she finds shelter in the only open storefront, a psychic reader, who tells Destiny she will soon meet her mate. Since this is what her late grandmother kept telling her, she is shocked to hear it again, but still doesn’t believe it. Running out of the shop, she runs straight into a Superman look alike named Reece Kellan. With Reece, she feels an instant attraction, stronger than any she has ever felt before, and doesn’t understand it at all. Can Destiny let go of her preconceived notions and go with her instincts? Is Reece all that he appears to be? Will this be a Christmas to remember for Destiny and Reece?

Eden Bradley has managed to combine a sweet love at first sight, soul mate story with a hot and steamy anything goes tale. I love the logical Destiny, and how she fights every step of the way the growing feeling she has for Reece. Reece is a wonderful character as well, never giving up on Destiny, and showing just how much he cares. I loved the constant comparisons to Superman. Who doesn’t want a Man of Steel in their life, right?

It wouldn’t be an Eden Bradley book without hot and steamy sex, lots of it in many imaginative places and ways. She delivers this and so much more with this wonderful holiday story. It is a story of beginnings and passion and love and new beliefs, and it is a perfect holiday read for those who like their Christmas happy ever after fantasies on the hot side.

Rules of Engagement by L.A. Witt



Rules of Engagement by LA Witt
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (300 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Dustin Walker has no idea that avoiding the search for Mrs. Right could send him into the arms and bed of Mr. Right Now. According to Dustin's mother, he should be out looking for his next wife so he won't be the divorced black sheep of the family. Instead, he passes his free time at a local bar and pool hall, where he meets someone who's everything his ex-wife wasn't: funny, caring, faithful... and male.

Is Brandon Stewart just Dustin’s way of getting over a bitter divorce? Can Dustin really care for him, or is it simply that Brandon is the complete opposite of his ex-wife? Dustin keeps their affair as quiet as possible, because if it continues, he knows he'll eventually have to come out to his homophobic family or walk out on the man he's trying not to love.

Sparks fly over an enticing game of pool when Dustin finally meets his match, in another guy no less. Dustin is just getting over a horrible marriage to a controlling and manipulative woman and he’s looking for something new that is as far from his ex as he can get. Little does he know that he’d fall for sexy Brandon over a game of pool. Although Dustin’s never been attracted to another guy before that doesn’t stop him from experiencing all Brandon can offer until the reality of their relationship comes crashing down on Dustin.

For those readers that adore and love their leading men as angst driven, soul searching characters, this story will be right up your alley. The book isn’t heavy on the angst though until the end when Dustin must do some soul searching to decide if his feelings for Brandon are real or merely an artificial rebound from a bad marriage. For most of the book though Dustin and Brandon engage in hot, sweaty sex in any number of positions, injecting a good deal of humor and some mild kinks into the relationship. There are a lot of sex scenes in this book but the author keeps them fresh and interesting while showing each man’s past and more depth to their character in between the erotica. Thankfully the sex gives more context to the relationship rather than just being for the sake of enticement so readers can enjoy the thrill of great sex without the empty calories.

Alongside the sex are scenes from Dustin’s family, who are overbearing, manipulative, and vaguely homophobic. However they are family so Dustin must balance their concerns and drama with his own feelings towards Brandon. Unfortunately this balance tips sometimes as Dustin struggles to be able to articulate his feelings, both to himself and others. The extended angst scenes at the end coupled with the few one night stands Dustin has to figure out his sexuality may wear on some readers and I found myself wanting to move on from his confusion to some kind of resolution. Unfortunately the ending is also somewhat weak and unresolved as there are several issues left hanging and the final scene is barely a happy for now ending. In fact I turned the page expecting more and was stunned at the hanging ending.

The writing is decent with a few great scenes of quirky humor and entertaining dialogue. There is a hefty dose of romance between the men and the passion is undeniable. There is a fabulous scene about dog tags and combat pants that turns up the heat quite a bit. The book does drag on a little too much with some plot wandering and over indulgent angst on Dustin’s part but fans of emotional men are not likely to be overly bothered. The secondary characters are not very important and exist mostly to help Dustin figure out what he wants in his life and what makes him happy, a revelation that I’m not entirely convinced of but not entirely against either. For the most part, I think readers will enjoy the story about two masculine, handsome men as they start, stop, and stumble in a passionate relationship. Just be warned that the ending is not as strong as most romance fans want so be careful if that is a must for your enjoyment.

Le Saint by Sarah Masters



Le Saint by Sarah Masters
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Full Length (166 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/F, Ménage, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Brought to Madam V's remote dominatrix castle by a calling and yen to start a new life, Thlya Straus falls in love with Will and discovers that destiny had more in store for her than she could have ever imagined—by turning her into a wolf.

Thyla learns a well-kept secret and is forced to make a decision. Can Thyla fully join the pack at the castle and fulfill prophesized events? Or will she turn her back on what, in her former life, she would have deemed insanity—and ultimately turn her back on Will, the love of her life?

Fate deems Thyla Le Saint, but only Thyla can agree to own such a title and lead the pack—by becoming a wolf herself. However, Thyla's transformation means that Madam V's life will be expunged.

Thyla Straus doesn’t know why but she is drawn to Madame V’s dominatrix castle. Once she is there she falls in love with a sexy young man named Will. Thyla soon learns that there is more than meets the eye at Madame V’s castle. As she watches Will is turned into a wolf and must decide for herself if she is willing to be turned as well. Soon she must make the decision to become a wolf and lead the pack or to walk away. If she is to lead the pack there are things that must be done. People that need to be avenged and last but not least if she decides to lead them Madame V’s life will end.

Thyla is an intelligent and strong willed woman. She knows what she wants and has no qualms about going after it. Will is a wonderful man filled with love for Thyla and the bond of love that grows between Thyla and Will is a beautiful thing to read.

Sarah Masters writes an interesting book. The beginning of the book is very hot. It seems Thyla is forever in need of some form of release. The story really takes off once she meets the inhabitants of the castle. I had a bit of a hard time getting into the story in the first chapter but I truly enjoyed the storyline once Thyla met Will and Madame V.

The characters in this story were full of emotion and I was drawn into their world, enjoying it until the end. Characters like Madame V and Will make you love them. They are so full of love and hope for Thyla yet there is Hammond who exudes evil and has the reader despising him as much as Thyla does. This story has a good ending that makes you want to know more about this pack and what comes next for them.

The Sun Sword by Lexxie Couper



The Sun Sword by Lexxie Couper
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (128 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM
Rating: Best Book
Reviewer: Holly

She has the power to bring new life…or utterly destroy it.

Torin Kerridon, the last warrior from an ancient order, is drawn to an abandoned, dying Earth, where he finds a forgotten young woman. A woman forged by the Immortals to wield the ultimate weapon—the Sun Sword. A woman capable of commanding the power of the suns. A woman with no past and no memory, the body of an angel and the spirit of a demon. He will train her. Prepare her.

Hunted all her life, Kala Rei has endured more than one woman should. Sheer grit, and a dangerous skill with a lead pipe, are the key to her survival. But nothing threatens her sense of safety more than dominance-oozing Torin. He wants her, but not for what’s between her legs. For what he believes her to be—some ludicrous savior from some absurd prophecy. No matter…his offer to take her away from Earth is too good to refuse.

But when a savage desire begins to burn between them, both Torin and Kala are in danger—and so are the worlds of man.

Warning: This book contains an ancient prophecy that can’t be denied, a brooding hero tormented by desire, a stubborn woman who hungers for his touch, a villain so vile you’ll want to kill him yourself and sex so hot it’ll melt the suns of the known universes…and then some.

Torin is the last of the Sol warriors. He has been searching for The One Who Burns for a long time. When his mentor sends him to a ruined Earth, telling him his goal will be found there, he gets more than he bargained for. Kala has been abused as far back as she can remember. Now along comes another man, one who tells her he has been searching for her, and that she is the prophesied one, The One Who Burns. She is the only one who can wield The Sun Sword and change the worlds forever. Kala isn’t so sure, but his offer to take her away from Earth, the one place she has suffered untold pain and degradation is too good to pass up. Is Kala The One Who Burns, or is she the False Fire? Can Torin train and protect her, and keep his distance.

Together, can they find the Sun Sword, and defeat the evil racing to take the Sword for himself? Will Torin survive the trials ahead, or will he fulfill the prophecy and die by the hand that wields the Sun Sword?

Lexxie Couper has a way of drawing the reader into the story, with strong and charismatic characters. Kala is a strong central figure, and her first meeting with Torin is marvelous. Torin is an honorable man, and as his attraction to Kala grows, he comes to regret the pledge he made not to touch her. There is so much passion and action in this one it is impossible to put it down. I loved watching Kala grow and become the strong and independent woman she was meant to be, as Torin guides and teaches her that there are men who will not take advantage of a woman. Even after Kala has decided she would like more with Torin, he honors his pledge. When they do finally succumb to their mutual attraction, it is nothing short of explosive.

Once sex is thrown into the mix, the heat level soars, and no one writes hot and steamy quite like Lexxie Couper. Ms. Couper creates characters you love and villains you just love to hate. Is Kala The One Who Burns or is she The False Fire? Will she fulfill the prophecy that says she will kill Torin or is it all a myth? Do these star-crossed lovers get their happy ever after? Yes, but the surprise at the end is so ingenious that I truly did not see it coming. If you want a romance that keeps you one the edge, makes you cry and sigh, and takes you to new worlds, I highly recommend The Sun Sword.

Dance of the Dragon by Cathryn Fox



Dance of the Dragon by Cathryn Fox
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (49 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When you tempt a dragon, be prepared for the fire…

Zoologist Chloe Stevens is certain she’s on a wild-goose chase. There are worse things than being forced to travel to a remote South Pacific island, but to search for a dragon? She’s sure the real reason she’s been sent to find a creature that doesn’t exist is that her boss—and ex-lover—wants her out of the way while he properly initiates a new team member.

Whatever. Might as well relax and enjoy her all-expense-paid “assignment”, aka vacation on Ryuu Mountain. The secluded resort is the perfect place to indulge in a little carefree, hedonistic sex. Especially with Jared, the drop-dead-gorgeous bartender.

Their hot fling quickly melts into something deeper. When Jared reveals he is more than he seems, Chloe has a decision to make. Whether to take her discovery public and make her mark in the scientific world. Or keep his secret to herself—and surrender body and soul to the only man who sets the woman in her on fire.

Warning: This book contains frank language, hot, hedonistic sex on a tropical island and big, scary, shapeshifting dragons who wouldn’t think twice about “gobbling” you up (in more ways than one).

Dance of the Dragon is one long earthy seduction in paradise.

Jared is a more than a man with many secrets and those secrets chain him to a lonely existence.

He’s saddened and resigned to his fate but he grabs whatever happiness he can, no matter how short lived. The fact that he is inventive, highly sexual and quite a take-charge kind of guy was not lost on this reader. He was easy to like.

The focus of his can-do attitude is Chloe. She is a woman at loose ends who thinks she’s going to purge her past and heal her bruised heart by acting on her desires. She also has secrets; one can harm Jared and the other can save him. What’s a woman to do when she keeps getting crossed signals? Chloe is smart, intuitive and has a very active libido. She also has a huge decision to make – is the object of her desire more to her then just a hunky talented sensual god? Is he just a temporary answer to erase her last debacle from her mind? How should she view her relationship with Jared? Her sleuthing skills and powers of observation are key to finding the answer.

If a reader enjoys graphic description for some very hot encounters then Dance of the Dragon delivers in spades. My personal opinion about profanity means I cringed quite a few times during this story. I felt a lighter hand would not detract from what I believe is a well written erotic romance filled with lusty detail.

Dance of the Dragon inspires sympathy and hope for Jared, appreciation of Chloe’s level headedness and daring nature and a thorough happily ever after with plenty of heat to keep turning the pages.

Faith Revisited by Madelyn Ford



Faith Revisited by Madelyn Ford
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (170 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern



Once one of the most powerful of Angels, Bale, along with his fellow Grigori brethren, were punished due to Lucifer’s trickery, and the only hope for redemption is to protect those Earthbound souls from the rising of Lucifer’s Demon children. It is a duty they gladly accept. But when Bale finds himself fascinated with the vampire, Faith, he fights it. Not only does the longing for her go against a vow he’d made centuries before, he is pretty certain someone is targeting him and his brothers—one of their own—so to protect her, he tries to resist the pull.

For Faith Magee, meeting Bale was like stepping out of the pan and into the fire. An injury due to a Demon hunt sends her into Transfiguration, the process by which a child born of a Vampire father turns, one year early and instead of getting out from under her domineering father’s thumb, finds that by taking Bale’s blood, she is bonded to a male who doesn’t seem to want her. And to make matters worse, blood from any other makes her violently ill. With her only options starving to death or giving into an alpha warrior, what’s a vampire to do?

Do you like action, alpha heroes, kick-ass heroines, suspense, mystery, and just about everything else a juicy paranormal erotic romance can possibly contain? Then you don’t want to miss Faith Revisited, a story that gets the blood pumping and the motor running.

There are so many fascinating characters and races presented in Faith Revisited. You have vampires, werewolves, archangels, demons, the fallen…the list goes on and on. I was captivated by this lush and vivid world, as well as the ultra-hot men that burned up the pages. Of course, it doesn’t the relationship between Bale and Faith is everything you want in a solid romance. There is the tension, the initial denial of their feelings, and finally the acceptance that sometimes fate won’t be denied. I loved the sizzling love scenes as much as I did the heart wrenching ones.

As Bale lost someone dear to him centuries before–as did his brothers, who all share a devastating history–there’s a lot of emotion packed in the pages, from both the hero and secondary characters. Just when you think you’ve taken all you can stand author Madelyn Ford takes it up a notch. The twists and turns along the way will also keep you on the edge of your seat, and when you finally learn who’s behind the chaos, you might see it coming, but you’ll still be shocked at the outcome. The story definitely leaves you wanting more, and since the ending leaves the series open, I can’t wait to see what happens next. Glimpses of future installments are hinted at, and I’m excited to read the stories of the Grigori that we were introduced to, as well as a few other memorable faces that Ms. Ford’s coming soon page allude to.

Faith Revisited is the start to what is sure to be an excellent series. Be sure to pencil this one onto your TBR list for some quality time in the reading chair.

Nevermore by Brenna Lyons



Nevermore by Brenna Lyons
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Short Story (22 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Traia is a mistress witch, seduced by a werewolf that inexplicably passed through her wards and shields. Now that she knows what Galen is, he’ll stop at nothing to kill her. Or will he?

If she was any other witch, Galen would be running the other way...fast. But Traia is his mate. The Goddess has made Traia’s magick useless against him and him as safe as a puppy with her. She can’t use her magick, but Traia can use mortal weapons. Unless Galen can bind her to him by the end of the night, he may end up fur cuffs on her ceremonial robes.

If you are in a hurry, this story jumps right into the action and speeds to the heart of the romance.

Traia is a woman of arcane talent. She knows her world and is even powerful in it. But she is a tad guilty of arrogance – believing that anything that is not of her talent or people is tainted and substandard. She is a fighter and doesn’t give up easily. She’s a character a reader can respect.

Galen is the hero. He’s got a problem. Traia. He’s the exception to the rule of his people and proud of it. He’s a bit flummoxed on how to get around Trais’s inherent bias against him. But he’s equally stubborn and hopeful, lusty and resourceful. He willingly braves her wrath because if he wins, they both do.

The mating is fast and furious. I emphasize ‘furious’ because Traia isn’t about to let him into her life. It doesn’t matter that he makes her chimes ring as if in a hurricane. That is until Galen springs a bit of magic on her in the way of his people. It’s hot, it’s sexy and it hits the right tone. Fated love involves a wry sense of humor.

Nevermore delivers a fast satisfying read for those in the mood for a quickie HEA with zing.

Midnight Savior The Watchers Book 4 by D. McEntire



Midnight Savior The Watchers Book 4 by D. McEntire
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (154 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

The clock is ticking…

The Watchers, Book 4

The phrase “home sweet home” means nothing to Marie DeVeux. Her parents never understood her ongoing relationship with her dead grandmother. Plus, she’s plagued with dreams of a man being tortured. Dreams so real, the burden strips away every vestige of normal life. At rock bottom, she hears her grandmother’s voice telling her that the man exists, and she’s the only one who can save him.

Kern, a Watcher, should have been more careful when he wished for a little more excitement in his life. Kidnapping wouldn’t have been his choice. Torture, solitary confinement and starvation have left his soul consumed by a burning rage and inner demons that push him to lash out at the first face he’s seen in eight long months. Marie.

Is this woman his knight in shining armor, or just another experiment? Kern must sift through the chaos of his mind for the truth that lies hidden in his heart. And make a decision before time runs out—for them both.

Warning: Contains dead relatives who never leave, climactic lab scenes, and a mad scientist.

Marie DeVeux is haunted by dreams. Her family has never been able to accept that her grandmother speaks to her. After all, grandmother has been dead since Marie was a child. But grandmother insists that the man in Marie’s dreams is real and that Marie is the only one who can save him.

Kern is a Watcher, one of those who protect humankind from evil; searching out and removing Rogues before they can harm the human population. But Kern wasn’t expecting capture and torture, and this is what Marie is experiencing in her dreams.

After being released form the institution where she has been recovering after her unfortunate “incident”, Marie follows her dreams, and grandmothers instructions to find the man. Will Marie reach the place where Kern is being held prisoner in time to save him? Will grandmother’s guidance be enough help, or will she stop helping? Can Marie make it in time, and convince Kern she is there to help him, and is not part of the plot to torture him?

D. McEntire has created a fantastic and complex world, one of vampires, Rogues and Watchers, but also of humans who can sometimes be more dangerous than the most evil “monster”.

Marie is a strong, courageous woman, in spite of her apparent problems. She is alone because her family has washed their hands of her. I loved that even though she is afraid and nervous, she doesn’t hesitate to follow her grandmother’s directions to go out and try to rescue Kern. Once she does find him, it is a tribute to her humanity that she is appalled at all that has been done to him.

Kern is a strong hero, one who is confused when Sarah first appears. He believes at first that she is one of his torturers, and treats her as such. I love the way that the two were brought together, and the reluctant trust that was eventually established. Once Kern discovers that Marie is his mate, the heat notches up about ten levels. I love the passion that develops between Kern and Marie once they are away from danger.

The supporting characters are all wonderfully drawn as well. This is a series well worth reading, and this book, Midnight Savior, is no exception. For a great story, with action, suspense and lots of passion, pick up Midnight Savior, and go to a place you’ve never been before.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Going All In by Jess Dee



Going All In by Jess Dee
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (78 pgs)
Other: M/F/M, M/M/F, Ménage
Rating: 5 cherries
Review by: Tuberose

The higher the stakes, the harder they fall—in love.

Julia Savage’s weekly poker games are tearing her apart. She’s in love with two of her fellow card players, and much as she’d like to pick and confess her true feelings to one man, she won’t. Not if it means risking the love of the other.

Hunter Miles has wanted Julia for four months, and he’s about to deal a hand she couldn’t see coming. He’s determined to give her a New Year’s Eve celebration she never expected. He’s going to seduce her—in front of his friend and rival for her affections, Jay Baxter. But Jay’s not willing to lay down his cards. He’s going after Julia too, and he’s not above bluffing to get what he wants. Either way, one of them is going to win her over.

Unless they change the rules of the game. If they double up, there’s a chance they can split the pot…

Warning: This book contains two hunky heroes, a heroine worth betting on, sizzling hot three-way action (m/f/m and m/m/f), a whole lot of unexpected fireworks and a New Year’s Eve to remember.

If you were in love with two men, would you be able to choose just one to be with? If you had a father call you twisted and abnormal and set you straight, literally, would you be able to be with another man? Could you get past your upbringing to be in what others view as an unconventional relationship, to be happy?

Once a week, Julia Savage plays poker with the blond, brown-eyed, earnest, focused, go-getter, Hunter Miles and the lovable, blue-eyed clown, Jay Baxter. She has been in love with both of them for a long time and thinks she needs to choose one to be with but cannot stand the idea of giving up the other. She dreams of being with both. One night after their game, Hunter and Jay let Julia know that they both want her and they have no problem “splitting the pot”. After a very heavy kissing session with both of the men, Julia panics and leaves. She avoids both men for a week and seeks out her sister, Kim, for some help on what to do. Kim asks her how she would feel to introduce both men to their parents as her boyfriends and she realizes she would be embarrassed and mortified. She also admits that she will probably be with both of them. The next week, things begin to heat up between the three. After a short time Jay admits that he wants Hunter too, which brings out some issues that Hunter must deal with. Jay and Julia help Hunter work through his problems, which in turn help Julia, deal with hers. Will the three of them decide to just play or make decide to “go all in” and make it permanent?

Ms. Dee does a wonderful job showing Julia dealing with her struggle of following her head and society’s idea of what is right and choosing just one of the men and following her heart and being with both. Ms. Dee does an awesome job of pulling you into this unique relationship between two very HOT men and one lucky woman. The emotions shown by all three involved, especially in helping Hunter deal with his issues, make you feel like you are there with them. I could not put the book down, desperate to know if they would "go all in”. If you love hot books, you cannot go wrong with this one.

All’s Fair In Love and Advertising by Lenore Black



All’s Fair In Love and Advertising by Lenore Black
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (150 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3 cherries
Review by: Cactus

The life of a creative genius isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, not when said genius is Max Tomlin, hotshot creative director of his own New York ad agency and slightly neurotic headcase. Still reeling after a painful divorce, he’s been taking a walk on the gay side, but that hasn’t gone much better. At least his agency is in the running for a new account—even if the prospective client is from rural, backward Montana!

Max’s big-city prejudices go by the wayside when he meets Joe Bennett, aviation innovator and self-made businessman. Joe is smart, passionate, good-looking in a Marlboro Man way, and Max is hopelessly smitten. But business comes first, and Max can’t afford any distractions, not when he has an account to win and Joe’s legacy to protect. It’s going to take all of Max’s quick thinking, fast talking and sheer determination to win the account, save Joe’s company—and keep their budding relationship from becoming a casualty of corporate warfare.

Neurotic genius Max finally meets his match in sexy aviator Joe. Retired pilot Joe comes to Max Tomlin’s ad agency for help saving his company. Max can’t deny the attraction to his potential new client but makes some dangerous assumptions. When Joe shows Max how wrong those snap judgments are, Max is more than willing to mix a little business and pleasure. Unfortunately Joe’s company is at stake and a grave mistake on Max’s part may cost them both more than they can afford.

This is a light and easy story that has a touch of angst and a rather predictable plot. The story is told in third person from Max's point of view, so he is the best characterized and most fleshed out character. There are a plethora of supporting characters from Max’s crew at the advertising agency to his ex-wife and Joe that revolve around Max’s orbit, but Max is the star of the book. His personality is meant to charm and overcome his abrasive nature and manic actions. Max starts the book condescending and judgmental while yelling at his creative team and being very scatterbrained. He doesn’t grow much in the course of the book but he does slowly allow for the possibility of happiness with his new relationship to Joe. The key to liking this book is liking Max and reader reaction may vary on this polarizing personality. For those that find a neurotic creative genius funny and charming, then this story could work well for you.

The setting of the ad agency is one stroke of real genius. The level of detail and atmosphere is very well fleshed out and detailed, giving a rich – though slightly insane – working environment where those not exactly normal flourish. The different personalities sometimes blend together as they move in and out of scenes incredibly fast with little to differentiate them but the overall feel of the agency comes across incredibly well. The plot, predictable as I’ve said, is still laid out so that if a reader can suspend disbelief, there are plausible reasons for why events happen as they do. The final resolution is a strong happy ending so romance fans will end the story on a high note.

The writing is somewhat bland in places but picks up during the interactions between Max and his creative team. The strength of the book – and its weakness – lies with Max and his abrasive personality. If readers can enjoy the biting remarks, mistakes, and neurotic behaviors, then the story takes on a fun, fast paced edge. If this sounds like a book you’d enjoy, then settle in for the ride and enjoy.