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Friday, April 24, 2009

The Lady Makes Three by Morgan Ashbury

The Lady Makes Three by Morgan Ashbury
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Other: M/M/F; M/M; Menage
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Violet

Colorado ranch owner Maddy Dalton knows all about being in charge. For the last ten years every decision, every burden has rested squarely on her shoulders. Sure, she's lonely, and longs to love and be loved, but she doesn't see how she can take on a man without losing control of her ranch or her life.

Lucas Calhoun has been the foreman of the Rocking D for nearly half his life, and he's had a soft spot for Maddy for nearly just as long. But he's harboring a secret: images of sexy, rugged men turn him on, too. How can he make a move on Maddy when he doesn't feel free to commit to her all the way?

Comfortable with his bi-sexuality, cowboy Chase Reynolds wants a home, but there's a catch. His ideal scenario features a wife…and a husband. Recognizing the suppressed longing in both Maddy and Lucas, Chase decides that bold action is needed. But it's not without risk. Having loved and lost badly in the past, Chase is leery losing his heart.

Can these three people learn to find themselves, trust their hearts, and make a family? And can they survive the danger that threatens them all?

Let me just say that right from the beginning this was one HOT, sexy and breathtaking read. I was blown away right from the beginning by the sexual tension and the amazing plot line.

Maddy is a woman who has put herself on the back burner while taking care of the ranch and her very grumpy father during his illness. She has always been attracted to Lucas but has never really acted on it other than some harmless flirting. Maddy and Lucas have had a bond since they were teenagers. She's very strong on the outside but about to snap with frustration on the inside. It takes a very patient man (or two) to help Maddy realize the beautiful woman that she is and how to trust someone other than herself.

Lucas has to be my favorite character in this book. He genuinely loved Maddy but would not hurt her in any way. His confusing feelings about liking another man keeps him from being close to Maddy . He doesn't know how to deal with his inner turmoil and is embarrassed about how he feels. He is over 40 and feels that he will be alone for the rest of his life. Just when he feels this way, along comes Chase.

Chase is a younger man who has been attracted to Lucas since he was a teenager but kept it to himself. He has been with both men and women and is confident in his sexual capabilities and feels he can show both Lucas and Maddy a thing or two when it comes to the bedroom. He grows to care about both of them and will do whatever it takes to make sure they both belong to him for the rest of their lives. Then enters Kevin.

Kevin was the character that I thoroughly enjoyed hating. He is after Maddy's land and plans on doing whatever it takes to get his hands on her property even if it means marrying her. He has an agenda and there will be hell to pay if she doesn't follow it.

The Lady Makes Three was an amazing read that was well written with the reader in mind. Sometimes I wondered how the pages of my book weren't bursting into flames. The plot line was remarkable and there were several times I had to say to myself "NO WAY, I CAN'T BELIEVE HE DID THAT!" I enjoy reading books by Morgan Ashbury because she always provides an action packed sizzling read that I know I am going to be amazed by. Ms. Ashbury just gets better with each new book she writes. I enthusiastically urge you to pick up The Lady Makes Three for a story line that will have you sweating it is so hot.

Gargoyles 1: Gargoyle's Quest by Nia K. Foxx

Gargoyles 1: Gargoyle's Quest by Nia K. Foxx
Publisher: Changeling
Genre: Contemporary; Paranormal
Length: Short
Other: M/F, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Agapanthus

For Lorn De LaRue, Gargoyles have always been as common place as the humans they are sworn to protect. It’s up to Lorn to make sure their existence is preserved -- by any means necessary.

Right now the means would appear to be Dr. Fatima Smith, an ebony beauty who never imagined that her interest in Gothic folklore would force her into a world she had never known existed and into the arms of a creature who could not let her go.

Publisher’s Note: Gargoyles 1: Gargoyle’s Quest is book one of a serial, books meant to be read in order.

How would you feel if a fantasy creature from your dreams suddenly appeared to be real. Would you check yourself into the nut house or would you go along for the ride and see where you ended up? I personally would hop on and enjoy the ride.

Nia K. Foxx has started a great series with this first novella. Encompassing a powerfully strong and independent heroine and a dashing,handsome, mysterious hero this is a great beginning. The story is well written, with strong dialogue, vivid erotic scenes and excellent descriptions.

This is a great story and I cannot wait for the next installment to arrive on the scene.

Cat and Mouse by Melinda Barron

Cat and Mouse by Melinda Barron
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary; Paranormal
Length: Short (81 pages)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, BDSM
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Xeranth

Cat shifter and private detective Jaci Dillard is hired to steal back a family heirloom from adventurer Simon Jaymes. She sneaks into his house during a party, intent on doing the job quickly. But when she’s discovered, she does the only thing she knows to get out of the situation. She shifts, and is caught on the security tape.

Simon Jaymes is amazed when he sees a woman turn into a cat. He and his best friend, police detective Josh Sage, track her down. Simon is more interested in Jaci’s shifting abilities, and Josh wants to know exactly what she was doing in Simon’s house that night.

But when Jaci realizes she’s been duped, and her client ends up dead, the three of them join forces to find out what happened. They also join together as lovers, realizing that in their case, three is the perfect number for solving crimes, and making love.

Finally, I got to read a story about a cat burglar who’s not only a regular kitty-cat, not a big bad panther or jaguar, but one who’s involved in an interesting caper fraught with mayhem and men.

Jaci is a fun character who has a nifty little talent, but what I enjoyed about her personality was the fact that she’s not a pushover. It takes a botched job to bring her closer to a man who she’s resisted for quite some time – Josh. I prefer a woman be a little hard to get and Ms. Barron balanced that pretty well.

Josh and Simon are an interesting pair; the skeptic and the free-thinker. These two opposites appeal to the many facets of Jaci and are hard to resist. Their friendship, highlighted by dialogue read pretty well.

The external conflict of the mysterious heirloom was an interesting tie-in and it presented some situations which Jaci, Josh and Simon took advantage of. Be prepared for numerous sensual and titillating scenes sure to please erotic readers.

I wish the heirloom was more thoroughly fleshed out however. I prefer a bit more meat to my stories and this had immense potential. I can only hope that the thread is picked up in another installment because it has caught my interest. It has a dark edge which could lend itself to a very gritty and intense future story.

"Cat and Mouse" has most of what a reader wants: a smart and feisty heroine for whom it takes two hunky heroes to satisfy in body and heart and a plot with just enough deviousness to stir things up.

Soul Keeper by Belinda McBride

Soul Keeper by Belinda McBride
Publisher: New Concepts Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure; Contemporary; Paranormal
Length: Full (158 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Cholla

He was the most beautiful creature she’d ever seen.

Prompted by visions of her late husband, Phaedre Goode seeks out the elusive Soul Keeper Dorian Blue. The haunted Equis shelters the soul of Steven Goode, and with it, Phaedre’s hopes for a child with her late husband.

The mysterious woman mesmerizes Dorian. How did she know to find him? How can she so clearly read his pain? With just a smile, she rouses his passion and wakes his dead heart.

Phaedre must convince the centaur to leave the forest and accompany her on a journey that will change his very existence.

Because Phaedre is keeping a secret. And Phaedre’s secret will rock the world.

Just when you begin to believe that every avenue of shifters has been presented, you stumble across Soul Keeper and are immediately proved wrong. Belinda McBride outdoes herself with the creation of the Equis, a race of horse shifters. And the surprises don’t end there.

Phaedre Goode is a strong, but sensitive woman with a need and a secret. Her desire to have a baby is only just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to this character than a need for a child and her strong attraction to Dorian Blue. She has depth and emotion that surpass most characters I’ve read lately.

Dorian Blue is a conflicted soul. He’s torn between mourning and the desire to move on with his life. His emotional struggles with Phaedre are ones that are real and heart wrenching, and very relatable. Their combined struggles make for a rough road, but one that can be conquered given time and patience.

Probably the best part of the whole novel, however, is all of the side characters. Kaine and Danae have very serious issues of their own that bring a more serious tone to the story. So, seeing their progress brings you a special sort of pride as you read about them. Also, there is such a varied assortment of characters surrounding Phaedre and Dorian that there is never a dull moment to be had. Annoying, jealous women, fun-loving friends, and everything inbetween. It’s a pleasure to see secondary characters that are as well-developed and enjoyable as the main characters are.

Belinda McBride always takes you on a roller coaster of emotions in each and every story. Soul Keeper is no exception. This is a fantastic, fascinating read that you will not regret picking up!

Erotikos by Shannon Leigh

Erotikos by Shannon Leigh
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Genre: Action/Adventure; Paranormal
Length: Short (120 pages)
Other: M/F; Multiple Partners; Voyeurism
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Hibiscus

It’s been a long time since Renee and her two friends have gotten together for a girl’s night in. What could possibly be more fun than drinking margaritas, gossiping about their recent bed-partners, and playing drunken rounds of Twister until they all pass out? But when Mina shows up toting a bottle of José Cuervo Gold in one arm, and a strange game named Erotikos in the other, the girls’ evening is about to get a lot more interesting.

Even before they remove the contents, Renee senses something amiss. This is no ordinary game. Erotikos promises pleasures galore and adventures filled with sexual delight. But how can a cardboard pastime with its small stack of cards, two oddly marked die, and eight pewter men accomplish all this?

After reading the instructions, the girls select their character pieces—an Indian, a selkie, and a vampire. Three men of varying backgrounds, but all sexy as sin and tantillizing to the eye. With a roll of the dice, the game begins, and the three women soon find themselves pulled into a place where their wildest fantasies come to life...

Jumanji for adults. That is the first thing I thought of when I started reading this fascinating story of an erotic board game. Erotikos is a three for one when it comes to stories. Renee, Candi and Mina each have an erotic tale of their own as they play the game that I, for one, would love to have myself.

Erotikos is a finely detailed game. The box itself has an intricate mirror on its cover that Renee saw the image of an Indian appear then disappear. There are eight different game pieces to pick from and each game piece has four adventures to choose from. I know I am hoping for twenty-nine more stories from this very talented writer. After each girl picks her piece and adventure, they agree as one to the rules and are sucked into the game board to play out their story.

Out of the three tales, I found Mina’s story the most complex. Athan is a vampire who compels Mina to help him in ways right up her alley. She helps him acquire sustenance and a warm bed. The addition of the hunter who is trailing Athan adds an element of danger that the other two stories were lacking. I am not saying that Renee and Candi’s stories were not good. They were. But I personally enjoyed Mina’s the best.

Another quirk to the game is that every player must complete their task in order for each of them to return to the present. I found Candi’s task to find Surius’s pelt to be the most difficult of the adventures and Renee’s task to comfort Eyanosa’s heart and soul to be the easiest.

Erotikos is a highly imaginative book that contains room to expand into a series of at least thirty-two tales given the different cards and multiple characters. I enjoyed this story of an erotic adult game and would like to know if anyone knows where to obtain a version of it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Courting Calvin by Amber Kell

Courting Calvin by Amber Kell
Publisher: Literary Road Press
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Short (41 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by: Cactus

Calvin was attracted to the vampire Alesandro. But could he get involved with the gorgeous creature of the night when he knew he would be sacrificing Anthony to get his sister back? Book Three in the Moon Pack series. m/m sexual situations.

When a fragile human carpenter (of all things) claims centuries old vampire Alesandro’s desire and heart, will Calvin’s secret agenda tear them apart? In this return to the Moon wolf pack, Calvin must balance his familial obligations against his rising desire for the vampire and his respect for Anthony. In the third book of the series, be sure to have read the previous books or you’re likely to be lost.

After such a strong start for the series, it seems the author has put less time, effort, and creativity into the successive stories. In this story, there are numerous editing errors as well as clichéd and dramatic prose not fitting with the theme and tone of the characters. Although the common thread throughout the stories are the pack members and the instant knowledge of their mates, the author keeps adding layer upon layer of falsely dramatic tension and ends up with an over the top and almost ridiculous resolution. In this particular book there is less and less focus on the relationship of Calvin and Alesandro than there was on the fabulous Anthony and his yet even more god-like abilities.

It’s clear the author adores Anthony but he is becoming a large and central figure in the series instead of a supporting character to the various couples who should be highlighted. Additionally Silver’s capitulation in agreeing with Tony’s plan was ridiculous and uncharacteristic. One moment he’s arguing, the next he says “ok, don’t get hurt”. It was a weak and contradictory resolution to the argument to move the story along. The characters are not only spoken of in exaggerated terms as the most beautiful but now the various paranormals can heal instantly, teleport instantly, and are perfect without flaws.

Kell has such potential as a writer and her point of view is clear and distinct so I continue to hope that in future editions of this series more time and effort are paid to the stories and the editing. There is potential for a solid, tightly written and fully developed story that has hereto been absent. That being said, if those who have enjoyed the series up until now can overlook the problems, this does feature Tony prominently and with a smattering of hot sex. Alesandro is attention catching and the idea that such an old and experienced vampire must now woo a human is entertaining. I’m not quite ready to give up on the series, but I truly hope they pick up to the level of writing and detail the original offered.

Comanche Heat by Robin Gideon

Comanche Heat by Robin Gideon
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Western
Length: Short (116 pages)
Other: M/F, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus

Northern Comanche war chief, Broken Blade won't rest until justice is served against the bloodthirsty renegades who brutally murdered a woman of his tribe. But Blade never counted on finding a blonde beauty, bound and naked, in his enemy's tepee.

Kidnapped from a train by a ruthless Indian outlaw, Samantha Murchison finds herself scared and alone until she is rescued by a bronzed warrior who appears every bit as dangerous as the man holding her hostage. But what frightens Samantha most is her passionate response to his raw sexual nature.

Comanche Heat is not your usual Western, Cowboys and Indians romance. It’s unique in its characters and their mind set.

Broken Blade is a Comanche war chief who is half white. He envisions a future for his people that include co-existing with the white settlers. Since he had gone to school, he has worked to enrich his tribe in lands and money. Unfortunately, there is a renegade tribe of outcasts who are led by Blue Elk. Blue Elk causes trouble not only for the white settlers but also other tribes.

Enter Samantha Murchinson, a schoolmarm who is captured by Blue Elk. Samantha is an open-minded woman who has nothing against the Indians nor the very handsome war chief who rescues her from her kidnapper.

Though not badly written, some parts of the story were difficult to believe. Samantha's behavior seemed more indigenous to the twentieth century. And, English is spoken by not only Broken Blade but by many in his tribe. This is explained away by the presence of Broken Blade’s mother and other white women along with his wanting to have his tribe acclimated to the white world, but it still seemed well outside the norm.

When I decided to overlook the few things I mentioned, I began to wonder "What if...". What if it could have been this simple, this easy for whites and Indians to co-exist? It wasn't of course, but this is fiction and made for a decent, and very sexy, story.

All in all, I found Comanche Heat to be a very hot story that was an enjoyable way to while away the afternoon.

Blue Willows by Gregory L. Norris

Blue Willows by Gregory L. Norris
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short (21 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by: Cactus

Sometimes the best sex happens in the strangest of places. For naïve musician Brent Dunne and brooding, handsome man-of-mystery Joe Legere, that place is a men's retreat in the Adirondacks designed to help the tougher sex get in touch with the beauty of being male. Great sex soon evolves into something far deeper – a love blessed by a mysterious supernatural presence. The young lovers will need all the help they can get when the same dark forces dogging Joe close in to destroy them.

Finding love on an all men’s retreat turns out to be more complicated than Brent ever imagined. As a musician Brent has poured all his energy and emotion into writing and performing his music. He ends up on an all men’s retreat in the woods to try and find what he’s missing. Amongst the all-nude men, Brent falls in love with the mysterious Joe who offers few explanations and little hope for the future.

In this short story, Brent and Joe meet at the retreat and fall in love pretty quickly. They share little about their lives, hopes, and dreams but as young men are likely to do when naked and encouraged, they have sex. The virgin Brent sees more to this encounter than a forgotten hook up and although Joe seems to feel the same, they can’t quite be together. The reasons aren’t explained until much later when Joe suddenly appears to rescue Brent.

The opening scene at the all men’s nude resort reminded me of a sex seminar, including the speeches about the true nature of men and nudity is beautiful. It was humorous and added the tone needed for the character of Mister Lang and his later involvement. It was a little new age but I think most people will enjoy the opening scenes for their entertainment value.

For an erotic romance short story there was just enough action, romance, and sex to make it an easy read yet there wasn’t any real depth to the story. This may be due to the shortened length and the author had a lot going on for those few pages. The resolution with Mister Lang edges into the paranormal or religious, I’m not quite sure which it is to be honest. But it is a traditionally romantic and dramatic ending. Overall it was an enjoyable quick read.

Amber Eyes by Maya Banks

Amber Eyes by Maya Banks
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Novella (138 pgs)
Other: M/F/M, Menage
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by: Amaranth

Their final mission will be to win her love.

A beautiful, vulnerable woman appears at the high country cabin where Hunter and Jericho live between assignments. They are captivated by their stunning, reticent visitor and vow to protect her—and uncover what she’s hiding. Neither is prepared for the unbelievable. Their beautiful innocent is a cougar shifter who’s spent a lifetime alone.

In the shelter of their love, Kaya blooms, finally willing to trust—and embrace her humanity again. Then Hunter and Jericho are called away on a mission that goes terribly wrong. Now, pregnant, and alone once more, she must find her way in a world she doesn’t belong to—and hope that the two men she loves will find their way home.

Warning: This title contains explicit sex, adult language, sweet lovin’, multiple partners and ménage a trois.

Imagine your surprise if you had found a wounded woman with many secrets and one of them turned out to be that she was a cougar. This is the dilemma that Hunter and Jericho faced. They actually found the wounded cougar first and learned soon enough that the cougar and the woman were one and the same. They both wanted her, but they'd shared and loved another woman, Rebecca and lost her, so swore that they would never let another woman between them. However, Kaya completes both of them, and she wants both of them as her mates.

Of the two, Hunter is the most affected by the loss of Rebecca. He has not opened himself to another woman since she died and seems to prefer animals over other people, unless they are children. Jericho was hurt as well, but has handled it better. It hurts him even more to see that Hunter has shut himself off so thoroughly.

Kaya has her own past trauma to overcome. She was taken as a young child and when she made it back to her home, her family was gone. She has lived the last 20 years or so thinking that her family abandoned her. She has never lived among humans, but is drawn to Hunter and Jericho, and for some unknown reason, she trusts them with her life.

Ms. Banks writing is solid and each of these characters are likeable and realistic, other than the shape shifting Kaya who, while likeable, is a little outside the norm. The reaction from the men when they first see Kaya shift was not as I would have expected. Sure, they were shocked, but recovered quickly and accepted it even quicker.

Overall, I enjoyed Amber Eyes very much, especially when I got to see Aliyah and Duncan again from Golden Eyes. It was fantastic to read about these two sisters being reunited.

Another great work from Maya Banks and one I happily recommend to anyone who enjoys a hot, paranormal romance.

The Lawyer by Carrie Golden

The Lawyer by Carrie Golden
Publisher: Loose ID, LLC
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 196 pages
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/F/F, M/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Review by: Tiger Lily

By day, Grace Sheffield is a respected, old money business woman. By night, she's an experienced Dominatrix, one of the best. Her toy box is full, but her heart and her bed are empty. She can't find a submissive who is still strong enough to challenge her. So she's going to create one: a slave, a lover, and a partner all rolled into one.

Strong-willed, perceptive attorney William Walker also has an untapped submissive side. He's straight, conservative, has women in his life, but none who hold his attention. When he's first handcuffed and dominated he is fascinated at his own response--he loves it! But he was burned long ago by a conniving lover, and he can't have Grace unless he learns to trust.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, dubious consent, male/male sexual practices, ménage (m/m/f), strong BDSM content (including/not limited to bondage, humiliation, spanking, tethering), violence, voyeurism.

He likes his quaint, suburban life, but isn’t fulfilled. She wants to fulfill his wildest, raunchiest dreams – on her terms. Curious? Then read The Lawyer.

Carrie Golden writes a captivating novel based firmly in the world of BDSM. Her characters nab the reader from page one and keep them in their seats until the very last word. Ms. Golden’s vast knowledge of the BDSM world helps build the richly detailed story. Each trial is vivid and felt by the reader.

I liked William’s character. As the hero, he literally takes a beating, but never gives up. He could teach us all a lesson on loyalty and trust. Although I found it hard to picture him, it was easy and exciting to picture his world. As for the heroine, Grace, I respected her choices and her stern attitude. Her acumen on a business level was astounding and refreshing.

I give kudos to Ms. Golden. Many stories along the same line as The Lawyer depict the helpless female who submits. The reverse – a man in a helpless position - is fresh and interesting.

If you want a steamy novel that tests the limits of the characters and the reader, then grab a copy of The Lawyer and explore your own intimate desires. I give this novel 4 ½ cherries.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Underwater Romance by Ana Star

Underwater Romance by Ana Star
Publisher: Mystic Moon Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (18 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 cherries
Review by: Wisteria

Lydia's eighteenth birthday gift is a sea cruise with her parents to the Antilles Islands. There she meets the gorgeous native clam collector, Soma. Their attraction for each other is instant and they become lovers.

According to native custom, Soma now believes Lydia is his wife and offers her family wedding gifts. Even though the family dismisses the entire affair as a humorous misunderstanding, Lydia feels mystified and confused.

The family is invited and takes part in the festivities celebrating the native fertility goddess. The festivities proceed in unexpected ways.

Will Lydia accept the native customs or choose her family and break Soma's heart?

Lydia and Soma are from two different cultures. They speak different languages and have different customs. But love is one thing that has no boundaries.

The premise for this story was good, two people driven by lust, with no words that could be spoken between them but somehow they found something with each other. The story was good, hot and filled with steamy scenes. The first sex scene takes place in the ocean behind some rocks within hearing distance of the boat they have traveled on. Definitely a good, steamy, erotic scene, with the thrill of being caught and the allure of not being able to speak the same language.

However, considering this was marketed as an erotic romance, I do feel the story could have been hotter in places, and the love scenes more descriptive, but was definitely not a waste of my time to read.

Overall, the editing here was clean and the writing worthwhile. I am looking forward to seeing what else Ms. Star puts out in the future. I see a promising writer here!

A Fostered Love by Cameron Dane

A Fostered Love by Cameron Dane
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Novella (135 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by: Cactus

Christian Sanchez never thought he would see Jonah Roberts again. Foster brothers for a short time as teens, Christian developed a massive crush on Jonah, his tough, older roommate. That all ended when the cops came and arrested Jonah, stealing him from Christian’s uncertain world.

Jonah never forgot Christian, even though he cut off all contact with the boy. Jonah knew the kid with the crush on him would be better off forgetting that Jonah ever existed. Jonah stayed in contact with his foster mother Marisol, but refused to hear stories about Christian, and made the woman promise never to tell Christian anything about him.

Upon her death fifteen years later, Marisol leaves a request that Jonah come home and help Christian renovate her house. Jonah can’t refuse, even though he knows he will have to face Christian once again.

Although they haven’t seen each other in years, neither man has forgotten the other. Neither man will deny Marisol her final request…even if it means facing their past, working together, sharing the room they had as teens, getting to know one another now as men, and discovering that the brief friendship they shared has altered into a consuming, abiding love.

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

You never forget your first love, no matter how old you were. At fourteen, Christian knew he was in love with bad boy, Jonah. It didn’t matter what the older boy had done wrong, Christian knew he was worth more than meets the eye. Fifteen years later, Christian has a second chance to reunite with his first love and is determined not to let Jonah get away again.

Jonah is an emotionally distant man who’s never had any close relationships. From a broken home as a child to foster care to finally juvenile detention, Jonah trusts no one and has difficulty forming lasting bonds with others. So his reaction to Christian, even after all these years, shocks and surprises him. While he doesn’t understand why he wants and needs Christian above anyone else, Jonah is determined not to make the same mistakes of his past. He wants to be a better person for Christian and tries, in his own way, to make Christian happy. He’s not always successful but he never doubts his feelings for Christian, even when they scare him.

Christian is a perfect counterpoint to Jonah’s emotional rollercoaster. When Jonah attempts to run from their budding relationship, Christian is there to stop him. Similarly Christian may jump to conclusions and make false assumptions but he’s quick to apologize and work just as hard as Jonah to making the relationship work. It’s not easy for either man and for all their communication, they don’t always hear each other but their connection is undeniable as is their steamy chemistry.

The story involves an ex-boyfriend of Christian’s that can’t understand the word “no” and that Christian has moved on, creating a reason to move the story along. This was a little thin and really the relationship between Jonah and Christian is where most readers will want to keep their focus. The emotional journey these two take is far greater than the physical and it has a satisfying happy ending for all the romance lovers. The author smartly played to the strengths of the book in focusing on the characters while letting the details slide somewhat.

For new and old fans of Dane’s alike, you’ll be sure to enjoy this quick and solid read. It may not be as great as some of her other books, but I liked the characters and their relationship. I can easily see these two happy in the future, while they may still have some issues and problems to solve. I can easily recommend this book to anyone wanting a good book.

The Cowboy Way by Tory Richards

The Cowboy Way by Tory Richards
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (202 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: Best Book
Review by: Wisteria

Artist Lacey Owens comes home to her father’s ranch for a long overdue visit, and for a little rest and relaxation. She’s not prepared for becoming the means for revenge against him by an escaped convict he helped send to prison. Getting involved with her father’s sexy ranch foreman and partner Chase Saunders isn’t in her plans either. But as unexplained events occur and Lacey’s life becomes threatened, Chase makes it his mission to protect her. Her independent nature rebels against his arrogant, high-handed methods and tempers ignite. But it soon becomes apparent that their animosity is only a ruse for the gripping sexual longing stirring in their blood.

Lacey Owens has come home to her father’s ranch for a vacation. The last thing she expects is the sexual pull she feels toward the cocky, bossy foreman. But when it becomes quite apparent the foreman, Chase, feels the same pull, how long will they be able to resist? And do they really want to?

I bow down in awe at Ms Richards’s ability to craft, spin and captivate with the written word. This was without a doubt one of the best books I have read in a LONG time! The characters pulled me in from the first page. Lacey with her head strong ways, and Chase with his dominate alpha male personality. Watching these two dance around the raw attraction they feel for each other was loads of fun and kept me focused and giggling in places. I had a very hard time pulling it down and found myself dashing back to my computer to see what happened next every chance I got, even if it was only to read a paragraph or two before darting back to dinner or the kids.

There is no doubt that I will be searching out much more of Ms Richards work to read and no doubt enjoy as much as I did this story. It is such a treat to find an author who can make you feel so strongly toward the story they have written. Ms Richards……you are my hero!

If I Were A Lady… by Bryl R. Tyne

If I Were A Lady… by Bryl R. Tyne
Publisher: Noble Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (78 pages)
Other: M/M, Transsexual
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by: Cactus

Fifth grade English teacher, Kendra Wright, doesn’t believe in instant love. In fact, at twenty-nine, she’s all but given up hope of ever finding love, period. That is, until she meets the new principal, Valerian Riche.

He may be stunning, gentlemanly and honorable, but falling for the man is the last thing on Kendra's agenda. But when Val makes the first move, Kendra’s life as the youngest spinster to ever grace the pages of history is turned upside-down.

She’s longed to be treated like the lady she knows she is, but technically, is not. But if the truth comes out, it will destroy her career and end the wildest romantic ride she’s ever known.

Kendra must end the relationship before she’s in too deep. Before the truth is revealed. But, how does a lady say no to the charm-charged wiles of a man as determined, and eager, as Val Riche? While she anticipates the horror of breaking the news, he persists on making her decision as difficult as possible. Maybe Val should’ve checked Kendra’s package before he unchecked his heart.

Kendra’s given up on men, then she meets Val. The sexy new principle of their school refuses to let Kendra run away from her feelings and their relationship. When he forces her to confront her deepest fears, he shows her that they really are meant to be together.

In the twist on this rather classic romance tale, Kendra is a woman with a little something extra. A woman born in a man’s body, she knew early on which gender she was – regardless that she has a penis. But not having the perfect body of a woman has kept Kendra from dating. Her fear of rejection causes her to lash out and treat Val horribly. She can’t believe that he could possibly want her, need her and love her so her response is to consistently sabotage their budding relationship and then run away. This fear of intimacy and emotion is an important aspect of Kendra’s personality as she seeks the very thing she fears. The author affords an honest characterization of actions and personality traits that will not always resonate in a positive way to the reader.

Kendra has hints of a sympathetic character, yet it’s difficult to like such a polarizing personality, even if it’s a genuine depiction. Her fear and anger cause her to spend a considerable amount of time ensuring no one will want to be with her, regardless of her body. I certainly understood why Val should leave her alone on numerous occasions, but at the same time I felt bad for Kendra being her own worst enemy. She’s always running off to bathrooms and seems to fall down quite a bit, leaving these characteristics as part of her sullen attitude rather than charming quirks. It’s difficult to understand Val’s persistent attraction to Kendra until near the end, but the hope exists that she may calm down with his consistent affections.

Val is not very well defined in that his emotions swing repeatedly and he lacks any real depth as a character. He’s mostly the perfect gentleman, never remarking on Kendra’s wild behavior and even going so far as to accept her almost abusive office sex. Why within the span of a week, he is in love with her and wants to marry her is a mystery considering Kendra spends much of the week actively working to have him dislike her. However, considering the context of Kendra’s emotional difficulties and the ending information about Val’s proclivities, the relationship begins to make more sense. I just wish the author hadn’t waited until the near end of the story to add this much needed depth and information to the at times chaotic mix of emotion and action.

There were positive aspects to the book in that the supporting characters of Kendra’s friends were well drawn, if not always likable. Additionally, both Kendra and Val are complex characters that show the mercurial nature of someone with a bipolar personality and thus swings from likeable to dislikeable but in an entirely realistic portrayal. The author definitely shows potential in her writing and characters, but the subject matter may limit her audience. Few books are able to look at the complex problems surrounding MtF transgenders with a realistic and untainted view, unafraid of the reader not being able to connect and relate to the characters. While this wasn’t a book I entirely enjoyed, I didn’t hate it and for those who are looking for an m/m twist on the classic office romance theme, this may fill that for you. If nothing else, this is an interesting and honest look at the problems and emotions surrounding an often ignored group of people.

Snowfire: Her Winged Mates by Ruth D. Kerce

Snowfire: Her Winged Mates by Ruth D. Kerce
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Short (14 pages)
Other: Ménage, F/M/M/M
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by: Amaranth

While Sheridin Jacoby is bird-sitting three snowy owls, the mysterious predators shift into hunky men. Sheridin is shocked, terrified… and aroused. Starving to breed, Mast, Maze, and Mason seduce her with savage pleasures, binding her to them as their one true mate. Forever.

I never imagined a snow owl shape shifting into a man, or how very erotic sex with that man can be, but Her Winged Mates provided me with three such men/owls. In this book, I met Mason, Mast and Maze, three snow owls captured by Josh. As a secondary character, I didn’t get to know anything about Josh except that he works on an animal rescue team, funded by a top secret government agency. Sheridin is Josh’s friend and after her last long term relationship ended, she needs to get away. When Josh calls to ask her to take care of the owls while he is away, she agrees, knowing that this is just what she needs. Of course, she had no idea that her life was getting ready to change in a very big, erotic way.

After arriving at Josh’s home and checking in with the owls, she decides that this is going to be a piece of cake. Just make sure that those owls are fed and watered, simple, right? Sheridin quickly finds herself surrounded by three naked men, who she deduces are the three owls, though she seems to realize that the very notion is crazy. As I read this story, I didn't feel Sheridin’s reactions were believable, but Ms. Kerce does well in illustrating that Sheridin realizes that she is not responding as a normal person would in her situation, yet she cannot seem to help herself. What follows is an erotic, though very different sex scene between Sheridin and the three men.

Overall, I found Her Winged Mates to be an interesting and hot read. I can easiily believe this story would have most certainly been better if it had been longer. More character development and a more in-depth plot, which is actually hinted at in this story, would have satisfied this reader more. With any luck, this book is a series and the reader can learn more about who these people are and what is going on in a future book. It's an interesting premise, and I'd certainly be interested in finding out more about the owl shifters.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Do You Trust Me? by Desiree Holt

Do You Trust Me? by Desiree Holt
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (283 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Lilac

A cryptic message from her brother leaves Rina Devargas with a secret and no one to trust...

Carrying the fate of a nation in a locket next to her heart, Rina's life is turned upside down as her brother’s partner, McCall, moves into her home under the guise of keeping her safe. Though she surrenders her body to his dark desires, someone betrayed John, and until McCall gives her a sign, Rina can't be certain that someone isn't him.

Assigned to protect her, Connor McCall must gain Rina's confidence the only way he knows how...

Having once shared a night of forbidden pleasure, McCall reawakens her submissive appetite for dominance. However, keeping his mind on the job and his hands off Rina proves difficult--remaining aloof from his feelings for her, even more so. He’s been down that road and paid a handsome price for it—the life of a fellow agent.

With an assassination plot brewing and killers after Rina, will McCall gain her trust before it’s too late? Or will their dangerous desires ultimately destroy them all?

A suspense-filled tale full of passion, Do You Trust Me? is a highly entertaining read that will surprise you and keep you guessing.

The story gets off to an intriguing start that made me long to know more. Romance author Rina Devargas finds her life turned upside down after a cryptic message from her brother, a special agent for a counter-terrorist agency. Convinced that someone on his team betrayed him, he turns to Rina who soon finds herself in danger and under the protection of her brother’s partner, McCall, a man she spent a passionate night with in the past. Now with her brother missing Rina holds evidence that someone seeks to destroy by any means possible. Unsure of whom to trust and with killers after her, Rina struggles with what to do. But McCall is nothing if not determined and knows Rina is hiding something. As the two spend time together, they can’t deny the passion that simmers between them and soon embark on a passionate relationship. But McCall knows he must gain Rina’s trust if they are going to get out of their current messy situation…trust that Rina is reluctant to give.

This was a fascinating story full of action, intrigue, and passion. I really enjoyed both the characters and the plot of the story. Rina and McCall share a very passionate and erotic relationship even in the face of danger. They cannot deny their attraction and give into it in some very steamy scenes. But they also grow to care for one another, but incidents from McCall’s past still haunt him making him reluctant to take things beyond the physical. McCall is an interesting character. At times coarse and a bit mysterious, I longed to know more about him. Rina brings out an interesting side to this strong man. Rina is also an interesting character and I really loved the whole romance author aspect of the story. Along with being interesting, the booksignings that she must attend really make it difficult to protect her and enhance the action and suspense of the plot.

As for that plot, it was definitely intriguing and full of surprises. I couldn’t wait to see what trouble would befall the hero and heroine next and loved watching them handle all that came their way. In addition to the romance, an assassination plot, betrayal, and murder really keep this story interesting.

A fascinating and unique story, Do You Trust Me? is a highly enjoyable read with strong characters and a plot that will keep you guessing.



Twice the Pleasure by Carolina Barbour

Twice the Pleasure by Carolina Barbour
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (271 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, M/M/F, Spanking
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Lilac

Jayce is a pretty face, a gambler, and deadly. When a poker game goes bad, she is forced to flee and ends up in the arms of a nefarious Mexican. Two dangerous, appealing strangers come to her rescue. A gambler at heart, Jayce bets against the odds. Her sexual attraction for both men is nothing but curiosity.

Forging into the forbidden pleasures of menage a trois is not an easy decision for Jayce. The Banner brothers' superior art of seduction becomes too much even for her bluff. With the last hand dealt, Jayce realizes she doesn't have an ace in the hole. Finally, unable to resist, she tosses in her hand, succumbs to the allure of desire and lust, and takes the biggest gamble of her life in the arms of twin pleasures.

Twice the Pleasure is a highly erotic historical full of passion and intrigue.

With vivid descriptions the author really sets the scene as we meet Jayce, a young woman who has made her life as a gambler. On the run following a poker game gone bad, she meets up with Gavin and Zane Banner, two brothers who have been framed for the murder of their stepmother and a sheriff. Gavin and Zane are both attracted to the young beauty and soon the three share some passionate encounters as they journey together. But when their pursuers catch up with them, the three find themselves in a mess of trouble.

I was fascinated by the main characters of this story, all of whom are of mixed heritage, a fact that I found quite interesting and felt really added to the story. Jayce is an intriguing individual with a painful past. Unused to having people care about what happens to her, she is reluctant to trust Gavin and Zane and often finds herself in one mess after another because of her impulsiveness.

Gavin, meanwhile, is intrigued by the woman but as he watches Jayce with Zane, he finds himself dealing with some unexpected feelings of jealousy. He begins to care for Jayce in a way he never expected, but knows that a relationship between them could be difficult.

As for Zane, he is a quiet, yet strong character. He loves his brother and is willing to do anything to protect him and those they care about. When the brothers finds themselves facing a murder trial, Zane hires a young female lawyer and a secondary romance blossoms between the pair as they work together on the case. I was a bit surprised by this relationship, but I really enjoyed it.

All of these characters, along with the plot, come together to form a fascinating story. As for that plot, it centers mostly on a murder trial full of twists and turns that I never saw coming. I was especially surprised by the ending and I applaud the author for the choices she made with this revelation.

However, despite my enjoyment of the overall story there were a few things I felt were a bit weak and that left me with some questions. There are some story threads or twists that seemed a bit unfinished, as if something were missing as we moved forward in the story.

But despite this, I would say Twice the Pleasure is a great read that I enjoyed reading.