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Friday, October 3, 2008

Nature's Pentacle

Nature's Pentacle by Eden Rivers
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length
Other: M/M/F, ménage, multiple partners
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Dandelion

After someone exposes their role in a forbidden, sexual rite to heal the parched earth, Matt and Lena are forced to flee vigilantes and a rogue witch. Drawn to each other despite Matt's ties to Kenji, the man who rescued him from a troubled past, they're swept into a ménage, and the three witches exchange magical traits in an explosion of power and passion.

As Matt and Lena face another pentacle rite, a violent kidnapping, and a magical duel, their attachment deepens--and so does Kenji's resentment at losing Matt. The addition of another witch to the group eases Kenji's jealousy, and sparks fly when the foursome mingles sex and magic on the kitchen floor, carrying them finally, to the love they never imagined they'd find.

This paranormal story absolutely captivated me from start to finish. With powerful, passionate characters, descriptive settings, and super-hot ménage scenes, Nature’s Pentacle should please even the most discriminating reader of erotic romance.

Lena and Matt, paired together at a witches’ ritual meant to save the earth from drought, are drawn together long after the ritual has passed. When they find themselves hunted by both ignorant humans and dangerous enemy witches, they discover that joining forces will not only strengthen their power, it will save them from certain death. Along the way, they take up with sexy and powerful Kenji and kind, gentle, but equally passionate Giorgio. These four witches enjoy more than one sexual encounter, including a super-hot scene on a kitchen floor that has forever changed the way I will think about baking bread!

The minor characters in this story are interesting and well-developed too, from Lena’s roommate Sky to her sister Serena to powerful fellow witches Sorren and Jaimis. The climactic scene, a showdown between warring witches, is a powerful one (though I do wish it had been told by a participant in the battle, rather than by an observer).

My only small criticisms are that the chapter breaks come at very odd places, and the dialogue in some of the most intimate scenes is awkward, not fitting with the natural and lyrical writing in the rest of the story.

Those minor flaws aside, Nature’s Pentacle is a terrific paranormal tale, filled with great characters, a complex storyline, and super-hot ménage scenes. Don’t miss this one!

Super Sex: Soundwave's Surrender

Super Sex: Soundwave's Surrender by Leila Brown
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi, Futuristic
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F, BDSM
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Dandelion

Soundwave is a Super who can bring down any man with her voice alone. Too bad she hasn't been able to bring down General Pane. But now he's on the run and she has a score to settle. And she's going to make sure he pays up. General Pane has a score of his own to settle. After all, it's Soundwave's fault he's being hunted. He's lost his job, his identity, and if he's not careful his life could be next. With Soundwave firmly in his grasp, he'll stop at nothing to make her pay. Even if he has to tie her up and gag her.

It really doesn’t get any hotter than this, when it comes to futuristic erotic romance. Though “Super” Soundwave, a kick-ass warrior, and General Pane are on opposite sides of the battlefield, capture and punishment becomes oh-so-sexy for these two. From the moment Soundwave decides to risk her life to save the half-man, half-robot, she finds herself at his mercy—not that she minds! He binds her and brings her to multiple orgasms in a variety of creative ways, with great, juicy details that leave nothing to the imagination. This author definitely pulls out all the stops when it comes to futuristic lovin’!

The scene setting is well done here, and the world building is believable. The one no-holds-barred sex scene is central to this storyline—once the characters cross the line from lust to love, the story loses a little of its energy. Read “Soundwave’s Surrender” for the sex, not the love, and you’ll be more than satisfied!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Viva Los Regalos: Cocked Dice

Viva Los Regalos: Cocked Dice by Emma Ray Garrett
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F, M/M/F, BDSM, Ménage
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Dandelion

Amy Sundry is about to go insane. Sharing blood and magic with Adyan Regillus, sexy cat-man and owner of The Luxy Lady, has given the infuriating beast an all access pass to her every thought, every desire. She has the same ability, but with Adyan feeding her fantasies and erotic sensation at all hours, Amy can’t get even.

When friend, and fellow vamp, Vincent confesses he’s the reason Adyan has been working his link with her like a pro, Amy’s ready to duke it out. But after a spanking she’ll never forget, Amy begins to think maybe Vincent and Adyan might be the perfect pair for her… forever.

If you’re looking for vampires and shape-shifters who revel in BDSM, this is the story for you! Amy and Adyan have been on-again, off-again lovers for centuries, but when newcomer Vince takes Amy home from work one night, she discovers that lust and love can show up when you least expect it. Their sexual encounter, while well written and supremely satisfying, is only the beginning, though. As soon as Adyan tracks down the lovers, angry and jealous and aroused all at once, it’s only a matter of time before these three discover that “the more the merrier” is definitely true in the bedroom!

Sexual props abound in this story, and these three characters explore just about every combination and position possible en route to several mind-blowing orgasms. The ménage scenes are well-described, and the story’s pace doesn’t slow even with the necessary descriptions of who’s doing what to whom. Be prepared: BDSM is the centerpiece to this story, so it’s not for the reader who likes her romance on the soft and tender side.

The dialogue and the interplay when the characters aren’t in bed falls a little flat, and I do wish the author had described the concept of alma combinada earlier (vampire soul mates) so that we understand why a night of passion and emotional closeness doesn’t really change anything for Vince and Amy.

Otherwise, this story is a fast-paced read that’s off-the-charts hot. If you love reading about paranormal creatures who get down and dirty and find pleasure through pain, this ménage story will be perfect for you!

Wild Card

Wild Card by Lora Leigh
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus

A Fatal Escape ... It was supposed to be simple. All Navy SEAL Nathan Malone had to do was rescue three young girls from a Colombia drug cartel, then allow himself to be captured just long enough to draw out a government spy. That was before his mission went disastrously wrong...and before his wife, Bella, was told that Nathan was never coming home.

A Dangerous Desire ... Bella's mourned her husband's death for three long years. But she has no idea he's still alive. Forced to assume a new identity, the man Nathan was is now dead. If he can get back to his wife, can he keep the secret of who he really is...even as desire threatens to consume them? And as danger threatens to tear Bella from Nathan's arms once more?

This is the seventh story in the Tempting SEALS series. I just have to say that they just keep getting better and hotter. I learned a little about Nathan in previous books. All of the books are related and you feel as if you never left when you pick one up but you can read the stories independently. I am happy to finally hear Nathan's story.

This book tore my heart out. The love that Nathan and Bella had for each other is something that you rarely see, let alone experience. The depth of emotion that I felt when I read the story was truly amazing. I could see how Bella fell apart for three years after Nathan's “death”. Her pain and then her determination when she picks herself up to rebuild Irish's business before it's too late. As the story goes on, I could see the confusion that Bella had and the feelings of betraying her husband. I felt the depth of the love that Bella and Noah had for each other even as they tried to deny it to themselves and each other. The story is written in a way that I could go into it and experience everything the characters were feeling and doing.

I loved how Ms. Leigh wrote about Nathan being torn between himself as Noah and Nathan. I could believe everything he did and felt. He was a dead man walking as he liked to refer to himself. The way his emotions fought with themselves in regard to Bella. The mission that he took part in and the equipment they used shows the research that went into the writing of this novel.

There are many sub characters. Good guys and bad guys. They all contribute to the story and keep it on a fast pace that had me furiously turning the pages. The story line takes many twists and turns and kept me guessing on who did what and who is who. I am happy to say that four more dead men where introduced. I can only hope that they lead to many more books in this riveting series.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Neptune's Lair

Neptune's Lair by Dorothy McFalls
Publisher: Whispers Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Novella
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Cholla

It’s worse than a bad hair day! Dallas’s new lover is taking control in the bedroom, and an unworldly force is threatening her soul.

Playboy Brendan Cromerty isn’t looking to fall in love, only to save the feisty Dallas St. John from a mystical force threatening to destroy her. But what he discovers about himself and Dallas is more than his take-control heart can handle.

Dallas St. John is a New One – a Protector just coming into her power. Brendan Cromerty is an experienced Protector sent to get to her before the darkness gets her first. Little does he know that the darkness has already staked its claim on her. In his quest to save Dallas, he comes to realize that she is more than just a mission. In her rush to escape his overbearing, overprotective attitude she discovers that he isn’t like all the ones who’d come before.

Neptune’s Lair is an intense story treading the thin line between love and everything else. Their journey to discover that they truly are meant for one another endures many highs and lows, and made me keep turning pages. The strong psychic and emotional bonds holding them together coupled with intensely hot sex makes this a worthy read. I recommend it.

Imperative: Missing You

Imperative: Missing You by Belinda McBride
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Futuristic
Length: Short Story
Other: M/M, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Xeranthemum

In the future, we don't choose our mates; Nature chooses for us. Nature doesn't make mistakes. And if you don't pay attention to Nature's Imperative, you suffer.

Aquamarine Davis has an exciting future. The up and coming young choreographer is leaving town for a new job when she feels the unwelcome call of the Imperative. Hounded by an intense, biological compulsion to find her mate, Marina reluctantly attends the local mating assembly.

Artist Con Montgomery is thrilled that the Imperative finally called! At 32, he believed his time had passed. For years, he's been haunted by visions of blue which he knew symbolized his mate. The Imperative leads him to Duncan Sinclair, and Con immediately recognizes his future in the smiling blue eyes of this man.

When Con and Duncan walk out of the Assembly together, they leave something behind: Marina. Their mate.

Missing You is written with a surgical skill which grabbed my emotions from the very first chapter. My initial reaction was to tear up and I connected with the feeling of loss that the heroine, Marina, is overwhelmed by. The hardest thing anyone can deal with is the sure knowledge that there is no way to assuage the heartache, yet life must go on.

The drama and conflict of the story is stark when faced with the contrast of happiness between the other two heroes of the story, Con and Duncan. This being a short story, Ms. McBride strove to provide enough background for her heroes so the reader could believe in their initial happiness and in the process as it slowly unravels.

I found the balance of sex in the story quite satisfactory. The author did not compromise the integrity of her story for a bunch of long and drawn-out sexual acrobatics. There is a definite attempt to make the characters come across as people with feelings and insecurities, to invite the reader to be invested in the final outcome. When they do come together, it is seductive, passionate and at times quite humorous. I loved the ‘nose’ issue.

The idea of the Imperative is unique and an interesting way to explain the occurrences of alternate lifestyles. My favorite part of this idea is the assurance that unions based upon the influence of the Imperative work and work quite well. I wish all marriages and unions had that kind of insurance.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be some rocky times though. We are after all, human. And as humans, we do things without truly understanding why…until we get that ‘Aha!’ moment. I felt that moment came a tad too quickly for the characters, that it was rushed, but I believe it’s due to the nature of the story length and not because the author ran out of things to say.

Missing You is a book well worth taking the time to read for those who enjoy a little ménage, a little biological magic, a lot of loving and a interesting spin on relationships. If you prefer stories where the characters are the stars and the hot passion is a strategic embrace to tie it all together, then this is the story for you.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stranded on Earth

Stranded on Earth by Anne Kane
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Futuristic
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Xeranth

Liisa’s passion is books, the kind they used to print when humanity still inhabited Earth. The only authentic collection in the galaxy is located in a museum housed on Old Earth. Needing a break from work, she comes to Union Station to indulge in an orgy of reading. Of course, she doesn’t count on falling asleep in the library and missing the last flight off-planet before the winter season suspends interstellar traffic.

Jake is a sergeant in the Space Militia. He loses the draw this year and stays behind when Earth is evacuated for the winter. It’s his job to make sure the mutant life forms spawned by the nuke wars don’t break through the museum’s barrier. He’s resigned himself to a long, lonely winter fighting mutants and boredom.

When he discovers he’s not alone on the frigid remnants of man’s home world, he knows he should be a gentleman and keep his hands to himself, but spring is a long way off and Liisa’s charms are hard to resist.

"Stranded on Earth" takes the reader on an erotic adventure in a place that conjures up illicit fantasies—the library.

Of course it is not just any library, but one in the far future where man totally ruined the planet Earth. This library is not the bastion of a community but a protected museum where one must plan and travel to from far away. And I thought my library had difficult hours!

Liisa is an avid reader, much like I am, so I could totally understand the total absorption into books to the point where she misses the space bus home. And the library adventure starts.

Jake is the ultimate macho hero. A military man used to giving orders and having them obeyed and trained to protect. Much to his surprise and delight he gets to protect more than a building of dusty books. Thing is, Liisa doesn’t think she needs protecting. And that drives Jake nuts, which of course makes for fun reading.

Although at one point I felt Liisa was dangerously close to being TSTL, she redeemed herself in her declaration of love for Jake. That statement sounds benign but there was nothing cutesy going on when she did it. You have to read the scene to appreciate it.

The formula of one woman and a masculine man stranded together for months and months generates some expected heat and passionate scenes sure to satisfy a reader’s lusty mood. Although this story is short, the time expanse makes the relationship growth believable; there were no declarations of love after one week. They actually had the time to get to know one another, it just happens to be in all ways.

"Stranded on Earth" delivers an erotic romance sprinkled with plenty of passion with a dusting of conflict for the reader who wants it all but is short on time.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Last Glass of Wine

Last Glass of Wine by Bekki Lynn
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus

Lana Moore, a server at Rogan's Steakhouse and approaching thirty, finds her obsession with her boss a distraction and senses he wants her to quit. But then, he loses control and she's left confused, needy. It increased the fire, so when she learns he's no longer her boss, she demands he finishes what he started. Until she learns the truth.

Cole, Rogan's young assistant manager, wants Lana. But when he loses control and nearly takes her right there in the restaurant, he knew he risked both of their jobs. Before things can be righted, he receives bad news from home. He has to leave Lana before anything happens between them. Then things balloon between them and he can't keep his hands off, nor can she until she learns only part of the truth of his leaving.

What an amazing story. I felt like I was on a roller coaster with my emotions. First I hated Cole, then I loved Cole, then I could feel the steam coming off Cole. This is a story that takes you to the highs and some very low points. I had tears in my eyes during some scenes in this story.

It takes place in a restaurant that has a no fraternization rule. Cole knows this and tries hard to follow it. Lana knows this and thinks she is too old for Cole. I laughed when she said she fell in love with him when he sang “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”. I could picture Cole sliding in to the restaurant and singing. The back and forth dialog and unspoken body language between them kept me on edge through the story.

The descriptions that Ms. Lynn provides makes me feel as if I am experiencing the episodes. When Cole drinks from the same spot on the glass that Lana did and than licks the rim, I could feel it on my lips. When we get into the scene in the bar after hours, Oh My. Ms Lynn knows not only restaurants, as proven by her slang, descriptions of openings and closings, and serving but I really enjoyed how she threw in the Chicago Cubs. Being from the Windy City, I loved how she referred to the team and the players.

Last Glass Of Wine is a rich story, full of robust scenes and good to the last glass.

By the Book

By the Book by Dee Dawning
Publisher: Bookstrand Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short
Other: M/F, M/F/F, F/F, Ménage
Rating: 3.5 Cherries

Danny Williams is pleasantly surprised when one Friday night, Sarah, his comely wife, proposes a game to engender fresh excitement into their flagging sex life.

Handing Danny a copy of the erotic Lascivious Liaisons by Madame X, she suggests they re-enact a sex scene from the book once a week. After acting out the first scene for a heated night of sex, skeptical Danny is convinced and looking forward to the next 'By the Book' night.

However, unknown to Danny, Sarah has a plan within a plan. After several 'By the Book' nights, things start to unravel and events swing beyond Danny's control, ultimately changing their lives...forever.

This story was sizzling from start to finish. I know that there are a lot of books out there that can help married couples but I doubt that there is one like Lascivious Liaisons by Madame X. I can see a wife or husband wanting to bring a little extra back into a marriage and looking for help in a book. When Danny and Sarah act out chapters in the book, I loved how the story flowed from the book to their reality.

The details in each scene made me feel as if I were in the story. I could feel how Danny was hesitant at first and how he eventually loosens up. I could feel how his mind was working and his worry when he could not find Sarah on Center Street. The descriptions of the people, rooms and places they were in were vivid. Tish, Sarah's friend and their neighbor, is the only secondary character in the book who plays a part in the storyline. She also is described in detail.

My very favorite parts of the book are the famous quotes that start each chapter. I just loved Joan Rivers, Steve Martin and Grocho Marx. I enjoyed this delightful tale of jump starting a marriage by the book. It's well worth a read.