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Friday, October 24, 2008

Back In Action

Back In Action by Elayne S. Venton
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story
Short: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus

Once a prisoner of the Tai-Jor, ex-Colonel Dana Tangier now teaches recruits how to negotiate with the complex society where only couples are treated with dignity. When a female trainee falls ill and there's a Tai-Jor mission on the line, Dana must find a replacement fast or risk her life by returning to the place she'd sworn never to go again.

Lt. Gavin Moore has idolized war-hero Dana Tangier since his youth. Now he has a chance to work side-by-side with her and his libido is doing somersaults. Despite their age difference, convincing the Tai-Jor that Tangier is his lover shouldn't be a problem, but is he strong enough to protect her from her past?

"Back in Action" is the story of a forty-four year old retired war-hero and a twenty-seven year old soldier. Dana and Gavin find themselves on a mission to save General Hamm and ultimately keep peace between several planets. The story moves at a good pace but the real story is the romance between Dana and Gavin.

I loved both of these characters. I found Dana to be a strong woman who has doubts about herself. Being an older woman, I really could get into her character and feel what she felt when faced with a younger suitor. Her actions during the story when she wants to protect Gavin showed me how strong her feelings for him really were. Confronting Huthar after all that had previously happened to her at his hands showed an inner strength brought out by her love of Gavin, that I don't think Dana even realized she had.

Gavin is adorable. I enjoyed watching his innocent puppy love for Dana turn into a full blown romance. He fought against Huthar repeatedly even though I knew that he could not win. His convincing Dana of his feelings had me smiling at times.

This is a seriously hot book. With Ms. Venton's words, I could feel, touch-by-touch, the love scenes between Dana and Gavin. If you ever wondered what love would it be like with a younger man, try experiencing it through this steamy story in outer space.

A Matter Among Men

A Matter Among Men by Destiny Blaine
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus

Jack Dawson is solid cowboy. He's built for a woman's indefinite pleasure but only one cowgirl has his attention. His body indicates he can deliver on any woman's fantasy but Darlene knows Dawson's type. They have tall hats, big ideas and of course, they possess the grandest of them all. She's not easily impressed until she comes face to face with a man who plans to ruin her for another cowboy.

Jack and Darlene know one another from a past life but hard time and a harder past have changed them both. When Jack shows up on Darlene's ranch, he makes few bones about it. He's there to claim the woman he's supposed to have, the land that belongs to him, and the life he's placed on hold for far too long. And when he does—he'll make sure he has a damn good time doing it.

I enjoyed reading this story by Ms. Blaine. She had everything from young love, loss of family and friends, grief and denial, to sex, betrayal and love renewed. Throw in an arranged marriage and secrets on neighboring ranches and I couldn't put the book down until I finished it. It had so many twists and kept me guessing throughout the story.

There are five major characters in the story. I loved Darlene. She was a sweet 16 year-old who had to take over the running of the ranch when her parents died. Now that she has grown, she handles her older sister Kimbrell, who I felt was very easy and loved messing with the ranch hands. I liked how Darlene teased Stan, Kimbrell's current friend, and made Kimbrell mad at her antics. Stan's brother, Finn, is Darlene's boyfriend. I did not care for the characters of Stan, Finn, or Kimbrell. I found them very hard to like no matter what they did in the story. Even Kimbrell's keeping in touch with Jack made me angry that she did not share this information with Darlene. Jack Dawson was easy to like. He had tall, dark, handsome and wounded down pat. I loved when he made Darlene come to him. He made me want to do whatever he asked.

The sex in the book is riveting and very detailed, especially the scenes with Darlene and Jack. I could see that their first joining was very intense and a long time coming. I kept pulling for the two of them the entire story, even before I knew the details of their lives.

With characters I like, a good storyline, and lots of hot sex, "A Matter Among Men" has everything I look for in a good erotic romance.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Little Taste of Red

A Little Taste of Red by Beth Wylde
Publisher: Phaze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal (shape-shifter)
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Hibisicus

When Tinsel Redleigh Sawyers, affectionately nicknamed Red, finds out her grandmother is seriously ill she immediately drops everything and rushes to the hospital. En route her best friend calls from college in the midst of a major social crisis. Katie is having boy trouble again and she's frantic over being left dateless so close to her sorority's yearly charity event. Tinsel promises to come to her aid once she makes sure her grandmother is going to be okay. She never makes it to either destination though because an unexpected car accident leaves her badly injured. With no hope of rescue in sight Tinsel is convinced she's going to die until a handsome stranger comes along to save her.

Lance Waverly is out on a hunting expedition with his young nephew when he detects the smell of smoke and blood in the air. What he finds is totally unexpected. A young woman has been thrown from her vehicle and is seriously hurt. She's human but Lance's body doesn't care about that. Her scent is intoxicating and one sniff stirs Lance's most animalistic senses to life. She's elated over his rescue but Lance knows immediately that they are headed for dangerous territory. He's not only a werewolf, but a young, unmated one in his prime and on the lookout for a woman to call his own. He's afraid he may have just found his missing mate in Tinsel. Sparks fly between Lance and Tinsel but the romance is short lived when a crazy hunter tracks Lance and his brother down and tries to kill the entire family. Lance must protect them all but there is only one way to save Tinsel. He must change her into a werewolf. By Den law he has to get her permission before biting her. Will Tinsel accept his offer or run to the hunter for protection?

I enjoy fairy tales. Especially fractured fairy tales. A Little Taste of Red is a take off of Little Red Riding Hood. She is a lonely young girl who was raised by her grandmother in the country by the woods. Her character is very believable. Tinsel wants to stand on her own two feet and does not want to accept any kind of charity from her best friend Katie. I saw how Tinsel lived and felt how sexually frustrated she was in the vivid descriptions Ms. Wilde provided. Tinsel is a very likable girl who I just wanted to take under my wing and help out in any way that I was able to.

Lance is the werewolf who finds Tinsel after she crashes her car on the way to visit her grandmother. I enjoyed his character a lot. I could feel how aroused he was from the minute he found Tinsel and knew she was meant for him. The scene in the bedroom was hilarious after Tinsel had a sip of Green Dragon. I loved how Lance fought against his own inner beast. Then how he was surprised when he spoke to Tinsel about helping he heal her leg. It was very enjoyable dialog between the main characters.

All of the werewolves played parts in the story and kept it moving on pace. Some were vital to the ending of the book. I loved the creative twist on the fairy tale toward the end. For a wickedly hot fractured fairy tale, this is a definite read.

Magik Ink: Dark Lotus

Magik Ink: Dark Lotus by Fiona Jayde
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-fi, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Cholla

He has been cold for nearly two centuries. A tattoo artist by day and an assassin by night, Kyoto Hajime must kill the ones chosen by Magik to keep the gift from twisting into something dark. Ensuring that monsters like his brother cannot consume the dark power they crave.

Jim’s ink will denote Magik’s choice. He must kill Tia Morse, the woman he had marked with the Dark Lotus -- a Vegas bartender whose touch gives him the warmth he has not felt in years.

Duty must come before desire. But years of discipline may crumble when passion’s fire burns through ice and Magik’s choices are no longer clear.

Tia Morse is trying to break free from the memory of an overbearing, nasty boyfriend. Kyoto Hajime is looking to keep the streets of Vegas free of dark magik, and to keep his evil brother from gaining more power than he’s already obtained. Together, they just might make a big difference in the streets of Sin City.

Dark Lotus is an amazing combination of passionate sex, intense action, and subtle dark overtones that leaves you wanting more, more, more. Drawn together by magik, held together by something even stronger, Tia and Jim face their fears and their destinies to prove that the magik doesn’t have to lead you to the dark side. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Madam Periwinkle's: Toys for Trish

Madam Periwinkle's: Toys for Trish by Celia Kyle
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F, BDSM
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus

"Man, I'd like a ride on the two-ton Trish train…"

Trish nearly bludgeons her boss to death for voicing his desires, but somehow she fights past the urge to beat him with her stapler and simply gets even, then quits. Just before her grand exit, she gathers her meager possessions and leaves the accounting firm without a backward glance. A block from the office, as she drops yet another stack of papers, she realizes she needs something to carry everything in. She ducks into Madam Periwinkle's Erotic Delights, where the gracious proprietor gives her a cardboard box with the promise that everything from her shop comes with a little something "extra." If
only she'd known…

Markham Woods can't believe his luck! Ten years since he'd last seen Trish and now he's nearly mowed her down on a city sidewalk. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Mark charms his way into spending the afternoon with the lusciously curved Trish. Mark has spent the last ten years wondering if only…

I found Toys For Trish to be a very funny story that I really enjoyed reading. There was everything from a Joan Rivers joke that I chuckled at to a “praisejesusallelujahamen” that I roared at. I loved how the humor was placed in this story in a way that made very serious and very sad situations feel better.

Tish was a character that I enjoyed. She is overweight and very self-conscious about being so. I was glad when she finally decides to stand up for herself in her workplace. I was happy that Trish saw Madam Periwinkle as a large women who she wanted to emulate. I think this was a boost for her sagging self esteem. Even more, I believe a little magic was at work when she bumps into Markham.

Markham is my idea of one sexy male specimen. He seemed to know exactly what he wanted -- Trish -- and I was fairly certain he would do anything to get her. He did not want to let a second chance slip through his fingers. I liked that he kept reassuring Trish that he wanted to be with her. I'm glad as Mark seemed to really care about Trish regardless of how much time had gone by. I thought it was great that he was playful in the bedroom. Yes, the sex sizzled between the two of them but they also had fun together. It seemed to me that her size did not matter to Mark as he kept calling Trish “Tinkerbell”. I wonder where that street is so I can bump into a Mark of my own.

I really enjoyed this plus size story and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a happy if only, what might have been story.

The Agency: Monkeying Around

The Agency: Monkeying Around by Michelle Hasker
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Action/Adventure, Shapeshifter
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus

Posing as lovers shouldn't be too hard. Not for Jessica and Chase. Fooling around during their training mission had landed them in this mess when they couldn't keep their hands off each other. Now they need to redeem themselves by gaining the trust of one of the country's greatest criminals. But with Erik Hardaway's suspicion of Jessica and Chase's relationship, his questions about their reasons for visiting his mansion, and Erik's obvious desire for her, getting out of this situation alive and unscathed will be their biggest challenge ever.

I enjoyed both Chase and Jessica's characters. I thought they both were very likable and very efficient at their jobs as agents, though Jessica struck me as trying just a little too hard to get the job done. It's mentioned in the story that other characters did not care very much for the way Jessica worked, but I thought that she just overcompensated for things she thought she owed. I felt she deliberately denied her feelings for Chase and had difficulties trusting in him. For instance, when Chase asked her straight out about her pet, I felt Jessica should have trusted Chase enough to tell him the truth. I thought it was great how Chase used sex when he became frustrated with Jessica. I loved that Chase stays with Jessica through thick and thin and helps her realize her true feelings.

This is a scorching hot book. Chase and Jessica went above and beyond the call of duty, especially when it came to the sexual side of their assignment. Ms. Hasker writes very detailed, sizzling scenes that had me reaching for a cool drink as I read them.

I look forward to reading the previous books in this series. The tidbits that were mentioned in this book whetted my appetite for more of The Agency.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare by Syrell Starr
Publisher: Carnal Passions
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F, Light Bondage
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus

A simple game proves not so simple when an elementary school principal is forced to drop all her inhibitions for a man worthy of love. What happens when a woman spins the bottle, then accepts both challenges of the truth or dare game?

Sheray Demsy is about to find out when she confesses that her most secret fantasy is to be seduced by a complete stranger. For her friends, it isn't enough she tells them her desires, they dare her to experience her fantasy as well. So begins Sheray's adventures with a stranger in the night.

I loved this highly provocative story. It brought back memories of playing Truth or Dare with friends but we never took it to such lengths. Every step of the story was written in a way that kept me on the edge of my chair and wondering what would come next.

Sheray Demsy is a very likable character. I could understand how she is an upstanding member of the community and must watch what she does at all time. I just felt bad for her that her ex-boyfriend Bob caused her to have such insecurities about herself. Sheray shows her love to everyone she cares about. Joey, a third grader who just happens to be Marc's nephew, is shown her love and understanding in several instances in the book when he gets into trouble. Sheray's game with her friends reveals her deepest, darkest – most secret – sexual fantasy.

Sheray's friends, Candice and Tammy, are what I consider to be the next best thing to having a twin. They care for Sheray and want to do everything in their powers to make her fantasy come true. Tammy tosses a couple of good one liners when they are interviewing Marc for the privilege of fulfilling the fantasy. I laughed like I was right there.

Marc Trent is a pilot that I would love to fly with. He has not gone out for a while since he was building his business. An ad in a magazine catches his eye. After being shot down with his old little black book (very funny stuff), he answers the ad. When he goes to the interview, he finds out from Tammy that Sheray is the woman whose fantasy he is to fulfill. I loved how he devises a fantasy where he is is both the mystery man and Marc. Some of the blatant hints he gives had me in stitches. Marc draws out of Sheray what she wants and the ways he meets those needs had me wanting to switch places with her.

Truth or Dare was a story that made dares dreams and had me wanting to play.

In Her Wildest Dreams

In Her Wildest Dreams by Kimberly Dean
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Viscaria

Sleep is seductive, but hot sex is even better.

Whenever petite blond research scientist Shea Caldwell walks into the office of security specialist Derek Oneiros, his chiseled muscles tense with need and his mind goes wild with fantasies about the silky curves under her business suits. By day their relationship is strictly professional, but at night Shea fulfills her desire for Derek in her dreams. Lately she's doing dangerous things in her sleep, though, and Derek is the only one who can help her.

A mischievous Somnambulist is the source of Shea's sleepwalking, but when her groundbreaking research notes are stolen and she discovers candles burning all over her home, it's clear she has a stalker of another kind, too. As she and Derek fight the unseen forces that prey upon her while she sleeps, they also start indulging the sizzling erotic fantasies that keep them both up at night....

This is the second book by Kimberly Dean that I have had the chance to review, and I loved it even more than the first! What a great series that Ms. Dean has started!

Shea is a brilliant but troubled scientist. Her sleep “issues” have bothered her since she was a child making her the person she thinks she is today. For a scientist I found her surprisingly open-minded about all things supernatural, which was a pleasant change from other tales where one of the protagonists was a science-minded individual. Shea’s strength and determination that her life would not be controlled by her problems endeared her to me, no cringing girl to sit in the corner here. Her refusal to hide from her very real fear that she wouldn’t be able to fix her issues had me rooting for her. Overlying all of her problems is the fact that she is a woman with needs, and those needs seem to be centered on one very sexy man.

Derek is enigmatic, and straight-laced… except where his attraction to Shea comes in. Even then, he has restrained himself where she is concerned. A man who always follows the rules and can even be considered rigid by some standards, he is also incredibly sensual; A trait that all Dream Wreakers seem to share. I love to see a big strong man brought to his knees and confused as all get out by one small woman, and Derek didn’t disappoint. His protectiveness is something I just love in a hero, and his confusion when the woman he is trying to protect stands up to him is great to witness. Bossy or not, Derek can invade my dreams any time he likes.

Right away, from the first page, the suspense and mystery started, pulling me into this world. Kimberly Dean had me wondering at each turn of the page what surprise she had in store. Her amazing world-building was even more in-depth than the first book and gives me high hopes for future Dream Wreaker books.

The chemistry between Shea and Derek was downright explosive and had me hot and bothered on more than one occasion… What more could you ask for from an Erotic Romance? Well: plot, which was there with all the twists and turns one can dream of in a suspenseful tale; tension which this book had in spades; and fun characters, I adored the characters in this world. Getting quick glimpses of “friends” made in the previous book was the icing on the cake. I love when I get to see that those people I liked in previous tales are doing well.

Once I started this book I didn’t want to put it down until I had finished it. The Dream Wreaker series is definitely a must read, and Kimberly Dean goes on my auto-buy list with her in-depth characterizations, realistic motivations and hot love scenes. I said it already, but I’ll say it again: I loved this book even more than the first book and can’t wait to see what else is in store for the Dream Wreakers. This is a definite must read.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pure Distraction

Pure Distraction by Carolina Barbour
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi, Futuristic, Action/Adventure, Interracial
Length: Full Length
Other: M/F, M/M
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus

It is strange enough Lana Sinclair lands on a planet where she is the alien, but things turn disastrous on the first day when she is captured and auctioned off as a "Breeder."

Then somebody wants her dead, and she has no clue why.

As if things couldn't get any worse.

Her true battle isn't against the lies, deceit and murder happening all around her. It's meeting the mysterious dark stranger who comes to her rescue. He is strength, power, hints of danger, and everything she is against in a male.

For the first time in her life, Lana fights the toughest battle of all: to maintain her heart from a man who has made it clear he intends to possess her as his own, whether she is willing or not.

Carolina Barbour's erotic novel is fantastic. She created a universe that interacts with our earth and has the story taking place all over the galaxy. She clearly explained the details of the DNA altering that had gone on, and the effects that it had with the well-written descriptions that were provided. This laid the groundwork for Lana Sinclair being taken as a Breeder and being auctioned.

I enjoyed the character of Lana Sinclair. She was a feisty, smart young woman who did not want to be told what to do and wanted someone to care for her just for who she was. Lana fought against anything that was unfamiliar to her. I learned that she had a very hard childhood and I liked that she achieved the level of learning that she had in the book. She has killers after her from the beginning of the book and I did not know why.

Luckily, Xander Rynior, learns about the breeder escaping at the beginning of the story. I found Xander to be a very caring man who does what he can to tweak the noses of the Federal Command Council. I also thought that Xander was very intelligent. The way he was able to calculate where Lana was transported to at the beginning of the story clearly illustrated his intellect. Xander also had a deep sense of family. He defers to his father when they discuss his betrothal; and his love for his sister Pulura is shown when he hugs her and cares for her later in the story.

There are many detailed secondary characters in this story that all keep the story moving. I was on the edge of my seat through most of it trying to guess who was behind everything. Who was the psychotic killer trying to eliminate Lana? Why were they trying to kill her? The story had so many twist and turns, I was kept guessing until the very end.

I also must say that this book raised my temperature as I read it. I found the sex scenes to be very arousing. I loved how Xander seduced Lana and helped her get over her inhibitions and helped make her feel good and clean. He allowed her to go at her pace and did not push her beyond what she truly wanted. I enjoyed watching the love they had for each other develop. I will say that there are also many M/M sexual scenes among the secondary characters. I found these to be appropriate in the book but advise that some may find these erotic scenes not quite their cup of tea.

I found that nothing could distract me as I read Pure Distraction. I look forward to the second book in this amazing series.


Hooked by Kate Davies
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus

Madison McIntyre has been banished to the ends of the earth, or at least Westhaven, Washington feels that way to her. She has one month to prepare a resort plan for her company or she'll be out of a job.

She has gone incognito in the small fishing town, hoping to succeed where no co-worker has found success before. Dylan Edwards loves living on the coast of Washington. Ever since his ex-wife ran off to the big city, he's been raising his daughter in the small town where he grew up. He's content with his charter- fishing business, his life, and no city girl is going to interfere with that contentment. Neither one of them can deny the sparks that fly whenever they're together, and the passion between them is as wild and untamed as the ocean itself.

When the truth comes out, will their growing feelings survive the storm?

Hooked caught me from the first page. It reminded me of the old boy meets girl movies where you root for the couple to get together and boo the bad guys who try to break them apart. I found it to be a very entertaining book that had me laughing one minute and then sizzling the next.

I enjoyed the characters of Madison and Dylan. They both had hang ups from previous relationships that colored how they looked at each other. I felt that their relationship was very believable and could happen in real life. I enjoyed the witty lines that Ms. Davies wrote. When Madison called Dylan a knight in shining armor and he replies that he's not because metal rusts or when Alexis says she just flew in from Paris and Madison quips “and boy are her arms tired”. These are conversations that happen in my life on a daily basis and helped me enjoy the story.

I thought that Dylan's mother, Ronnie, was a great character. It was fantastic how she threw Madison and Dylan together from the start. I loved how after the fishing fiasco, Ronnie immediately brings them together for dinner without their knowledge. I thought there was a great villain in the book in the body of Bob Lee, Madison's boss at Donovan Development. I felt he played evil perfectly and helped Madison become a strong, independent woman.

The romance between Madison and Dylan develops slowly in the story. There are some steamy scenes but I feel that the book was more about the relationship between Madison and Dylan than just the sex. I enjoyed reading this sweet story and am Hooked on the town of Westhaven.