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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Devil's Den

The Devil's Den by Gracen Miller
Publisher: Firedrake's Weyr
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Full
Other: M/F
Review by Amaranth

Who wants to live forever? Going once…going twice. Sold to the blonde in the front row! Or maybe you would rather reveal the story of a lifetime to the world? But, ask yourself, is it worth risking your life? It was the opportunity of a lifetime, or so Meredith told her best friend, Serena. It had Serena thinking Meredith was finally eligible for the looney-bin. Meredith was talking about monsters and fairytales. So, when Meredith disappeared, there was only one thing Serena could do, take matters into her own hands and investigate the local criminal hotspot, The Devil’s Den. The bar was as seedy and decadent as reputed. And the creature she found there—Six was his first, middle and last name—was nothing short of terrifying, his abilities completely defying logic. Yet, it was easier for Serena to pretend he was not all that he claimed.

Born over three thousand years ago, nothing could have prepared Six for the sudden unexplainable desire he felt toward the human woman, Serena. Spoiled by the powers he possesses, Six is arrogant and cocky and completely without morals. And all he wants is Serena.

The Devil’s Den is an excellent read, from beginning to end. Author Gracen Miller has created a great vampire story with a complex plot and unbelievably strong characters. Serena is a strong, beautiful woman. She lives life on her own terms and no one tells her what to do. Six is a very old and powerful vampire, who enjoys his evil ways and does not apologize to anyone or care how anyone else feels. That is until he meets Serena. She is so powerful, in not only her beauty and physical strength, but also her mental strength. Ms. Miller did such a wonderful job of describing the setting, which I felt as though I were watching a movie, rather than reading a book. Her talent with words and descriptions continually impressed me.

The Devil’s Den has a very strong and intriguing story line, but also has a few smaller storylines interwoven into the main plot. When they were introduced, it was a bit confusing and unexpected, but the characters and story were so good, I didn’t give it much of a second thought. That was the only thing that threw me about this book. I truly enjoyed everything about this book and can not give it higher praise.

I highly recommend this book for anyone, especially if you enjoy hot vampire romance! Bravo, Ms. Miller!

Heat Stroke: Solar Flare

Heat Stroke: Solar Flare by Elizabeth Jewell
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Short
Other: M/M
Review by Amaranth

It’s the one place in the universe where a vampire can bask in full sunlight without danger of death -- a red star, deep in open space. Kristof’s newly purchased ship will take vampires there, to experience the novelty of constant day. But he himself is afraid to take that last step into the light. Until Tomas arrives to show him just how arousing the sun can be.

"Solar Flare" takes place on a spaceship and is a very short and very hot read. Years ago, a star was discovered very similar to the sun, but it will not kill vampires. Kristof is a vampire, hundreds of years old, and could not resist the pull of feeling the sun again, so he bought a ship and takes passengers out to space. On his first trip out, he meets Tomas, another vampire. Tomas is a passenger on his ship, also unable to resist feeling the sun once again.

This was a quick read, cleanly edited. It was so short though, there was really no character development. Ms. Jewell wrote a very good dialogue between the two men. The story was somewhat unbelievable, in that the two men met and less than ten minutes later are in bed together.

Even so, this short story heated me up quickly and had a very passionate scene. If you are looking for a very short story with plenty of heat to get you in the mood, then I recommend this story for you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bedroom Behavior 101

Bedroom Behavior 101 by Sophia Rae
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Review by Lilac

So what if Gabrielle Dayton is a twenty-six year old virgin? Sleeping with a guy just for the sake of having sex never appealed to her...until sexy carpenter Luke Delaney shows up on her doorstep. Just the way he handles his tools awakens her deepest desires. Gabrielle knows Luke is the perfect man to teach her all the things she's only read about.

As a carpenter, Luke Delaney has all the women he can handle. All he has to do is take off his shirt and swing a hammer--end of story. When his newest client, Gabrielle Dayton, wants more than just renovations in her bedroom, he's ready, willing and able to take on a little overtime.

One hot read, Bedroom Behavior 101 features Gabrielle Dayton, a twenty-six year-old virgin who has hired sexy carpenter Luke Delaney to renovate her home. Instantly attracted to Luke, Gabrielle decides that maybe it is time to lose her innocence and explore her sexual nature and Luke just might be the one to teach her. Attracted to his new client, Luke is more than willing to help Gabrielle learn explore her newfound sexual side as long as their hearts don’t get involved…but that is easier said than done.

This was a wonderful story of love and learning to trust. Having been hurt by the loss of his parents, Luke is reluctant to let himself care about anyone because he fears losing them as well. Falling for Gabrielle was not in his plans, but he finds it hard to resist the spunky beauty.

Unsure of herself, Gabrielle is a heroine one can easily relate to. With her insecurities, she feels very real and you can feel her hesitancy and fears as she decides to throw caution to the wind and act on her impulses with Luke.

The chemistry between Gabrielle and Luke was great. You could almost feel it from their very first encounter and knew it was only a matter of time before they acted on it…which definitely happened sooner rather than later in this story. And when they do, the scenes are very hot and passionate.

Misunderstandings and self-doubt eventually combine to keep the two apart, but I enjoyed how the author worked things out. My only complaint is that the ending and resolution felt a bit rushed. Other than that Bedroom Behavior 101 was a wonderful read about two characters discovering more about themselves while also finding love.

Big, Blooming and Wild: Two Fine For Pine

Big, Blooming and Wild: Two Fine For Pine by Isabella Jordan
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short
Other: M/M/F, Ménage
Review by Amaranth

Botans Charles and Christopher have found a wonderful home in Cana, Virginia. Half the small population is made of farmers, musicians, and craftsmen of all kinds who've been there for generations. The other half is made up of nudists and other free spirits who came to Cana for the beautiful, green mountains and the opportunity to express themselves in a stress free environment.
When Vanessa Arnault arrives in town, the twins immediately know that their woman has finally arrived, big, beautiful, and exotic.

There's just one problem. Her father owns the land the Botans call home and she has an idea for a signature line of puppy palaces and kitty condos for the pets of her affluent friends and acquaintances back in NY and Paris. She's even picked out two trees, the tallest and grandest oaks in the wooded area for the first puppy palace meant for her own pet.

Charles and Christopher have a lot to do and a short time to do it in. They must convince Vanessa that her idea for designer pet homes isn't the best she can do, win her heart, and claim her as their mate.

"Two Fine for Pine" took me on a passionate ride with two aliens and a party girl. Charles and Christopher are twin brothers. Not only that, but they are also Botan, an alien race that came to Earth in 1947. They are shape shifters, their natural form is an oak tree and they shift into human form. Isabella Jordan did a wonderful job of describing in detail exactly how the shift occurs, from one form to the other.

Christopher is more fun loving, warm, and friendly, while Charles tends to be brooding and worries a lot. Their family tradition states that they when they find a mate, they will share her; and they have been looking for over sixty years. When Vanessa strolls onto the property and marks them with a red “x”, preparing to cut them down, Christopher knows that she is the one, while Charles is not so sure.

Vanessa is a party-girl and loves men. Her father bought property way out in the country, sent her to live there, and told her that if she could not grow up and find a way to make a living with the land, then he was going to stop giving her money. Vanessa is very smart and quickly comes up with an idea. She is also easily distracted and after meeting Christopher, she is definitely distracted!

I only had one problem with this book. Vanessa meets Christopher at a restaurant, talks to him a few minutes, and leaves with him, going straight home and having sex with him. The next morning, she thinks that she may be in love with him. I don’t find the scenario realistic for myself, but that may be a personal preference. Other than that, the editing was very clean, the dialogue was excellent, and the descriptions of both the setting and characters were amazing.

Overall, I did very much enjoy "Two Fine for Pine". Isabella Jordan’s writing style fits right in with what I like. The passion between Christopher, Charles, and Vanessa is enough to heat anyone up very quickly. If you like erotic paranormal, but are looking for something different, then I recommend that you give "Two Fine for Pine" a try.

Brothers At Arms

Brothers At Arms by Desiree Lee
Publisher: Tease Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short
Other: M/F, BDSM
Review by Buttercup

For 250 years, the Arcée brothers have been in conflict. The vendetta between these two powerful vampires has shown no signs of resolve or waning. The concession made between the two is that the location of their ongoing war is moved every five decades to help prevent hapless mortals from discovering them. It was determined that the new locations would be chosen by a delegated Keeper, symbolized by a custom-made tarot card. Where the card goes, so do the Houses and also the war.

When the card changes hands, each house sends out Seekers, specially trained vampires who race against each other to be the first to discover the card’s new location. The first one to find the card and take control of the new keeper has the upper hand in the battle for that duration as they gain first foothold in the new city.

This year is a turning year. Julio Mendoza receives the card in the mail, unaware of its meaning. When he learns of the history of the card, he realizes he has been thrust in to a war that holds nothing for him, yet he cannot escape his fate. Still he will not accept his role meekly.

Michelle Bryson is a Seeker for the House of François Arcée. She is pitted against a ruthless rival from the House of Pierre Arcée to get to Julio first. Michelle is a young Seeker and if she fails to capture the Keeper, her life may be forfeited. What Michelle did not plan on was to find the Keeper to be a sexy, rebellious man who has a spirit in him unlike any Keeper she has seen in the past.

Julio knows the vampires are coming for him. He knows that he cannot hide forever. When the Seekers find him though, he cannot deny his attraction toward Michelle – an attraction that they will both pay dearly for if the Seeker from the House of Pierre Arcée has anything to do about it.

Unsuspecting Julio Mendoza receives a ‘Chariot’ Tarot card in the mail and wonders what it could mean and why someone from California would send it to him. He is familiar with Tarot because his mother makes her living at reading and is quite proficient at the art. After mulling over it for a while, he decides to take the card to his mother for her thoughts on the matter. Instead of shrugging the errant piece of mail off, his mother becomes visibly upset. That is the precise moment his heritage comes into play and his life becomes a quest for peace and survival―His.

Meanwhile, new ”Seeker” Michelle Bryson from the vampire house of Francois Arcée is hot on the trail of the card. She must find the “Keeper” before Francois’ twin brother Pierre’s seeker finds him. Pierre and Francois have been feuding for over 250 years. She is in for a few surprises herself after she does find the card and the “Keeper” first.

This story grabs you immediately and moves quickly along building to a nice crescendo. Ms. Lee has woven a wonderfully unique story with likeable characters. The only pitfall I found was the weak editing. This author tells a fabulously imaginative and unique story but it lacks an element of imagery and a system of beats to place the reader within the scenes. The dialogue is true and realistic though it seems to ramble without little side actions and beats to keep the reader ‘seeing’ and ‘feeling’ the scene. Other obvious edit issues pop out throughout.

Even with the above-mentioned issues, which brought the overall rating down, this book is definitely worth the read. When Seeker, Michelle, and Keeper, Julio, get together under one roof, things explode. Between the warring brothers, the past romance issues and the attraction these two discover for one another there is never a dull moment. Will Julio still the dueling brothers from senseless killing amongst the two houses and will Michelle deal with the lost of her first love turned traitor? The only way to find out is pick this one up and give it a hearty read.

Kudos to Desiree Lee for a unique and enthralling tale. I’d definitely read more from this author.

Love Cuffs

Love Cuffs by Ashlyn Chase and Dalton Diaz
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Other: M/F, BDSM
Review by Xeranth

At thirty-eight, Hope Daniels is a Jersey cop with superhuman hearing and a controlling mother. And she's about to marry any sane woman's last choice of a groom. Right before she walks down the aisle, she hears distant screams. Figuring someone should be rescued, she bolts from her mother's vision of a royal wedding. But when she breaks down the door of a BDSM club, she's the one who winds up in handcuffs.

Dorian Markoff is intent on using a hypnotist to wipe the beautiful cop's mind of his — and his club's — existence. But the hypnotist is in Vegas so a mad romp ensues, involving lots of hot vanilla-ish sex that turns his BDSM lifestyle upside down.

Neither guesses what an adventure it will be to find the hypnotist, avoid one unintentionally snubbed Dominatrix, and explain it all to Hope's mother. All while falling in love.

Love Cuffs grabbed my funny bone in a gentle but firm hold from the moment Hope left her tent. The humor is snappy and the authors had Hope using words and metaphors which showcased her rapier wit. I was captured by the heroine’s voice as sturdily as any handcuffs used in this very erotic tale.

The unique use of half chapter headers to highlight POV shifts worked well and for me ended up being a source of amusement and something to look forward to. Those half chapters belong to Dorian’s POV, the hero. He tells things in first person POV and I found it intriguing to hear things from a guy’s perspective about the scene before when Hope is the star. It was fascinating, like watching a sexual tennis match. The verbal volleys kept the pace rolling at a quick and entertaining clip and I couldn’t read fast enough.

It’s been a long while where a writer used the word ‘snort’ to great effect and I got a kick out of its irreverence. When Hope dove into a shopping bag of clothing purchased for her I almost fell off my chair. That scene alone highlighted the authors’ sense of the ridiculous and fun. And, oh, my gosh! Just wait until you get to the part when Hope drinks the champagne, it was so cute! I couldn’t stop grinning.

There were tasteful and well woven mentions of the BDSM lifestyle along with a refreshing presentation of romance and sex in this story. The hot and erotic moments were balanced with some great dialogue, plot movement and character development. This story also has a mild Jewish flavor, and even me who really doesn’t know all that much about that belief could appreciate most of the insider jokes and Hope’s poking fun at the stereotypes. It was funny yet respectful.

Out of everything that I enjoyed and was entertained by in Love Cuffs, I guess the only trial for me was Fredrico. Not him specifically but the results of his visit. I kept hoping that he couldn’t pull it off or something. Of all the realistic and plausible scenes throughout this book, I sort of felt like Hope was seriously taking advantage of Dorian and at that point, I felt bad for him and mad at her. I don’t care if she loves him; she should not have gone through with it. Granted, the big secret ends up all being re-exposed anyway though I won’t say how. It’s the principle of the matter. If she loved him, she shouldn’t have gone through with it. It was at that point I wanted Dorian to go all Dom on her.

The secondary characters, like Juliet and Guy, not to mention Ivan, helped bring out Dorian’s character and played nicely off of Hope. Out of all of them, I believe Juliet’s character made the most impact. I got the best sense of her when Hope used this one-liner starting with ‘Weebles Wobble and they…’ (If you remember your kid’s toys), which had me grinning because it clued you into their relationship in the story. Also, I’d be remiss as to my curiosity about wolfie if I didn’t ask, “Just who or what was wolfie?” And will we ever see the canine culprit again? There was something about how he/it was written that totally has me intrigued. Is there something more?

I would highly recommend Love Cuffs for anyone who seeks erotic stories that embrace a healthy dose of humor and adventurous romance. It’s a fast read with a grasp of language that dips into a vast array of imagination and descriptions leaving you smiling, mostly hot and a lot satisfied.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Perfect Tool

The Perfect Tool by Lara Santiago
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Review by Lilac

Lynda, sick of the loser men she's been dating recently, decides to hire out and requests a perfect male escort for her thirtieth birthday.

A delicious handy man named Max shows up at her door for her special date. Will he have the perfect tool to get the job done?

Max, on his way to help his cousin's friend with a leaking sink, stumbles in to the wrong apartment and finds a hot woman in a silk robe wanting to help him take his tool belt off among other things.

Is this a set up by his cousin and does he really care once he finds out what's beneath her robe?

Tired of dating losers, Lynda decides to give herself the perfect 30th birthday gift and hires an escort for the evening. All she wants is an evening of no-strings sex with someone who will take care of her needs for once. When handyman Max shows up at her door, she can’t believe how perfect her gift really is. However, a mistake has led Max to the wrong address as he is actually expecting to repair a leaky sink as a favor to his cousin, not be someone’s “date”. But when the attractive young woman begins to come on to him, Max can’t resist the temptation she offers and begins to wonder if perhaps his cousin set him up. When they both discover their mistake they have a lot to discuss and deal with…

The Perfect Tool was a fast-paced and steamy read about mistaken identity and finding romance when you least expect it. Things move pretty fast between Lynda and Max once they first meet and I found it a little difficult to believe that she wouldn’t at least ask the man a few questions before things progressed as far as they did. Even once their mistake was discovered, she is very understanding, which I wasn’t sure would be her response. However, this story seems to be a sexual fantasy with a bit of romance thrown in, so I can see why the author handled it the way she did. And as a short story, where there isn’t a lot of time for more, it worked.

The story also had a bit of an interesting twist thrown in that added to my enjoyment of the story…it was one I definitely didn’t see coming, but I won’t spoil.

Although it is part of the Blind Date After Dark series, The Perfect Tool is a stand alone book and reading the first in the series is not necessary to enjoy this one. The Perfect Tool is a very quick and enjoyable read.

Heat Stroke: Sanctuary by Fire

Heat Stroke: Sanctuary by Fire by Hunter Raines
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Short
Other: M/M
Review by Amaranth

Vampire Lord Theodore Grantaire is hopelessly in love with his human thrall. But being with Reed means turning him into a vampire, and no bliss is worth that price. The only solution is to find an ancient relic and become mortal himself. What he finds instead are vampire hunters.

After a morning of torture, the unmerciful sun’s rays have claimed Theo as their own. But the memory of Reed’s touch has the power to soothe, even as it engulfs the vampire Lord in a different type of flame.

Can a scarred vampire find sanctuary in the arms of a human? Reed believes he can. Over and over and over again…

"Sanctuary by Fire" is a short read, filled with heart-stopping action and deep love and passion. Theo is a vampire who has lived hundreds of years. He is a powerful vampire, Lord over many, but he is still lonely. All he wants is to be mortal, so he can have the man that he loves. Reed has been by Theo’s side for several years and is devoted to him. He worries about and loves Theo, but can do nothing to stop him in his search for mortality. These two share a deep love, passion, and a heart touching dedication to one another. Ms. Raines did an excellent job writing of this passion and devotion, grasping me and pulling me in very quickly.

If you are looking for a quick read that will not only touch your heart, but also give you scorching passion, then I recommend "Sanctuary by Fire". I am looking forward to looking for and reading more work from Hunter Raines, especially a longer book, that will get more into the story and characters.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rekindling the Spark

Rekindling the Spark by Nicole Gestalt
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Review by Hibiscus

Big, fat and frumpy is how Angela feels. After being married to her husband for more years then she can care to remember the spark seems to have gone. She still loves him as much as she ever did but somehow it's just not the same. From the first moment that she sets eyes upon her young gardener Richard things begin to change and the spark turns into a fire – but who will end up with her affections?

"Rekindling The Spark" is a unique story with a quirky twist. At first it seems to be the standard story of a housewife who believes she is unappealing and kind of gives up on sex with her husband. I feel that how Angela views herself is how many woman who go through that time period in their lives may feel. I believe that Angela really loves Matthew but is unhappy with the ways things are and does not know how to change things.

In walks Richard, the gardener. Matthew has hired Richard's company to help Angela with some yard work that she is unable to do on her own. I could feel the sparks flying off the two of them from the start. Angela really is pretty and Richard makes her aware of that fact. This was especially apparent when he went to get her to show her the tree. I wondered if Angela would be with Richard. I know I would have a hard time turning down a hunk like him. I loved the surprise Angela has in store for the object of her affection.

The best part of this story is the twist at the end. I just could not believe everything I was reading! It was truly ingenious. I think "Rekindling The Spark" could blaze a whole trail of new stories.

Pret Ops: Identity

Pret Ops: Identity by Emma Ray Garrett
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Length: Short
Other: M/M, M/F/M, ménage
Review by Amaranth

After thirty years on the job, Lucia Malholland's retiring. She loves the Corp but even a Selkie's biological clock gets to ticking. Lucia's ready to find the man of her dreams. Problem is, there's a man stalking her whose dreams are about to put Lucia's in jeopardy.

After building the newest branch of the Corp, Cyber Operations, John and Cole Marshall are ready for a real test of their new unit's skills. Being called in to track down a stalker turned murderer targeting one of their own sounds right up Cy Ops' alley.

All the danger isn't from cyberspace, as Cole finds out when he meets Lucia for the first time. He's torn between eating her and… eating her. Not good. Add to that John's insistence they renew their prior intimate relationship - and suddenly finding a homicidal human suitor, bent on ripping Lucia's pelt and magic from her, doesn't seem quite so difficult.

Wow, wow, and wow! I truly enjoyed this exceptional book from beginning to end. It is obvious that Ms. Garrett poured not only tons of imagination into this story, but also all of her heart and soul!

John and Cole share a love and passion that has consumed them for years. However, Cole has held back, not wanting to bring shame to their family, because they are foster brothers. John, being the sweet, patient man that he is, has waited for Cole. When Lucia is introduced to this trio, immediately sparks fly. Cole and Lucia have a deep love and passion that is almost dark in intensity, but also very caring and sweet. John and Lucia have a more gentle love, but with huge amounts of heat and attraction. When these three get together, the explosion of passion nearly singed me.

Toward the end, when they were all fighting to save Lucia, the action and anticipation had me holding my breath and sitting on the edge of my seat. This is the first book of the series that I have read, but after reading this one, I am determined to backtrack and read the rest! If you enjoy erotic paranormal romance, with ménage, male/male and male/female/male action, then this book is a must read for you!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tartan Interlude

Tartan Interlude by Selena Illyria
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Shapeshifter
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Review by Hibiscus

Werewolf Iain is in love with Katherine, a human. Katherine doesn't think anyone can fall in love in three months. Mating is one thing, love is another altogether.

Iain is determined to prove her wrong and he'll do everything he can to convince her of his love.

Tartan Interlude was a delightful short story that continued where Tartan Surprise left off. Once again, this story was very detailed in all the descriptions it used. I could easily place myself within the story and experience what Katherine saw and felt.

Iain has been with Katherine for three months at the beginning of Tartan Interlude. Iain is in love with her and must convince her that he is serious about his feelings. I saw through his actions in the story that he cared for Katherine deeply. He shows his love for her in the way he reassures her and puts her mind at ease that Robin is just a friend he is going to help. Then there is the episode when he carefully carries her down the stairs when she is sore.

Katherine is a very likable character. She goes out of her way to accommodate Iain no matter what time of the day it is as I found out in the first chapter. I believe that Katherine not only loves Iain but she really enjoys being with him. There was a fun scene where she teases Iain with her skirt in the office. Katherine also seemed to get along with everyone associated with Iain. Robin and Katherine became fast friends after just one night.

I enjoyed Tartan Interlude. This short filled me in on more of the life of Iain and Katherine. I look forward to reading more of this wonderful story of a werewolf and his mate and their life together.

Riding the Rail

Riding the Rail by Julia Devlin
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Review by Hibiscus

When Serena Adams collided with a gorgeous young stranger on a crowded subway, nothing could have prepared her for the hottest ride of her life…

Serena gets more than she bargained for when her ordinary morning commute turns into an erotic encounter with a much younger man able to excite her with the merest touch. Later that morning, Serena's prospective new client turns out to be her El train stranger and she can't believe her misfortune. If she can't ride the rails without wanting to devour him, how will she manage to work with him professionally?

Julian St. Claire believed he would never see the beautiful woman from the El again. However, this turns out to be his lucky day when she falls into his lap hours later. Never one to back down from a challenge, he pursues the sexy siren, despite her protests about their age difference. The way Julian sees it, age is no match for undeniable chemistry.

Can the two sort our their differences to enjoy the physical attraction they discovered...riding the rail?

I enjoyed this delightful story about an older woman and younger man in Chicago. I was happy that Ms. Devlin wrote about the subjects she knew, Chicago and management consultants, as it made the story that much more enjoyable. She wrote strong details of the city, including the El trains and how they do go underground on several of the lines and that there is an El stop at Clark and Lake Streets. Also her knowledge of management consultations showed in the story with Serena's meetings with Julian and Ryan. All these little things made the story much more enjoyable for me.

I loved the character of Serena Adams. She was an older, divorced woman making her way in the world. She longs for someone in her life, romantically, but is very image conscious. I loved the interplay between Serena and Julian on the El at the beginning of the story. The bumping and jostling that occurs during the morning rush, and the playfulness that went on. I laughed when Serena realized who was hiring her company. That whole first meeting was very cute. I liked the struggle that she had in coming to terms with herself and her needs.

Julian St. Claire is a genius who comes from a solid working class family. Julian does not care about age differences. When Serena mentions the ten year difference, Julian comes back with the standard reply: age is just a number. But he truly believes it. I believe that Julian has his head on straight. He is at that point in his life that he wants to start settling down. He's made something of himself and wants to begin to enjoy it. That's why he and Ryan want to hire a management consultant to help them out with their company. I loved how he uses unfair tactics to get Serena to agree to go to dinner with him. I felt that Julian really wanted to see if there is something special going on between he and Serena.

I loved the entire story, but the end really made me smile. It was cute how it was on the El, and very clever how the author had the story looping around to end just like it began, the same way the trains do downtown Chicago.

I found Riding the Rails to be a very well written story of romance in the most unexpected places. I recommend this delightful story which is set in my hometown.