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Friday, July 3, 2009

Queer Legends: Queer Wolf an anthology

Queer Legends: Queer Wolf an anthology
Publisher: Queered Fiction
Genre: Paranormal Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Anthology)
Length: Full (299 pages)
Other: M/M, F/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by: Phlox

A Pink Moon is Rising...

“Their world lies between the shadows and the moonlight, between man and animal…and in the city under neon moons and through iron-treed streets, the queer wolves run.”

Bound within QUEER WOLF is an exciting collection of contemporary, urban and sensual werewolf tales; a gathering of queer wolves presented by exciting, new and established authors.

Anthologies can be a bit of a clay pigeon shoot: they can be hit or miss and sometimes have the bad habit of repeating the same arc over and over. So it was with some trepidation that I approached this one, an anthology not only of paranormal stories but of an incredibly specific sort: queer werewolves. Imagine my surprise when I found myself reading seventeen unique works of fiction, marvelously varied in voice, mood and substance. They range from sweet to dark to funny, some staying in the traditional horror/paranormal modes while others decidedly did not. Were they all gems? No, like most anthologies, there were a couple of misses, but the large majority of these stories are well-crafted, by writers who understand the short story form. Seventeen stories are a lot to discuss, so I’ll attempt to edit myself and briefly visit them all.

“Wolf Strap” by Naomi Clark: This is part traditional horror, part hard-boiled noire, except the investigation here isn’t done by Philip Marlowe, but by punky, tough little werewolf Ayla and her lover Shannon. Fast-paced and tightly packed, the success of this story is in its completeness – a fully realized alternate world, fully realized characters and an exciting story brought to its full conclusion before the end. Well done.

“Moon Sing” by Laramie Dean: From classic horror, we switch to a short first-person romance in a completely different world where there is no room for wolves. The ‘teen-speak’ of the narrator’s thoughts was slightly annoying but the story is bittersweet and satisfying and the overall mood consistent and well-delivered.

“Wolf Lover” by Michael Itig: The first completely erotic offering in this anthology, this story about a man with a fetish for werewolves males is hot and steamy – a short, hard ride with some very interesting twists.

“Shy Hunter” by Ginn Hale: I’m going to pick favorites; as the reviewer, I’m allowed. This is one of them. Back to a more traditional horror vein, David is a werewolf who works as a rescue dog, partly to rescue people from the monster lurking up on the mountain, the psychotic werewolf who changed him. His protective instincts are what make him so endearing as a character and also make him vulnerable to those less ethical than himself. Well- drawn, wonderful characters and some great twists and turns put this at the top of my list.

“The Stray” by Anel Viz: Short and filled with ironic humor, this is one of those stories where the reader knows exactly what’s happening and the narrator is quite clueless. A good break from the more serious offerings, this one had me chuckling throughout.

“New Beginnings” by Cari Z: A story of shared danger and scarred hearts, one has the feeling here of a dystopian world, a world devolved into clans and tribal behavior, though, thankfully, there are no long winded explanations regarding the state of the world. It simply is and the characters have to deal with it in their own ways. Spare, tense and compact, evoking anxious feelings and tender concern, this one worked well for me.

“Where the Sled Dogs Run” by Jerome Stueart: This is the first story in the collection which did not work for me. The premise is cute, the tone light and sometimes funny, but the dialogue often fell flat and the characters never felt filled out enough to be real. The end is odd and abrupt and leaves you wondering what one was supposed to get out of it.

“Pavlov’s Dog” by Andi Lee: An interesting set of premises without a real story, I enjoyed the writing and the promise of the characters but this was not a short story. It could well be the first chapter of a longer piece and would work very well in that role but not as a short story. No real conflict, no resolution, the beginning of something interesting that ends too soon.

“Wolves of the West” by Charlie Cochrane: Another of the less serious offerings, I found the notion of a society of gay werewolves ensconced as the board of a natural history museum utterly charming. Civilized, educated weres who solve their problems in civilized fashion is just not something you run into every day.

“Family Matters” by Moondancer Drake: This is the third and last of the real ‘misses’ for me in this collection. Again, the story’s failing is not due to poor writing or premises but in the lack of understanding of what constitutes a short story. Far too many ideas are thrown out in a short space of time, far too much is left unresolved and far too many characters are involved for the reader to become attached. First chapter of a novel? Yes. I’d read it. Does it work as a short story? No.

“Wrong Turn” by Stephen Osborne: A sweet romance with some horror elements, this piece has some interesting thoughts about how weres might live alongside humans successfully and what happens when these worlds accidentally bump into each other.

“Leader of the Pack” by Robert Saldarini: A different take on the WWII story, this is a spare. Almost terse look at how our reactions and perceptions can change over time. Guilt and forgiveness are treated in a way that saves them from being overly sentimental while letting us examine them nonetheless.

“War of the Wolves” by Charles Long: A fast-paced story and yet another take on werewolf society, this one is both bloody and sweet. I’m not generally fond of the first person, present-tense mode but it was well done and not the distraction I’d feared.

“Flip City” by Lucas Johnson: Another one of my favorites – this is pure horror and a ripping good story. The characters draw the reader in and don’t let go, the story is well-conceived and executed with just the right mix of tension and release.

“Night Swimming” by RJ Bradshaw: Short and sweet, city wolf meets country wolf. Very fun.

“In the Seeonee Hills” by Erica Hildebrand: I think I was a little disappointed that the story did not take place in India as I had expected from the title. It’s certainly an exciting story with perhaps a bit too much convenience in the plot twists but a good read all the same.

“A Wolf’s Moon” by Quinn Smythwood: The last of my favorites, this was an excellent choice to end the collection. The writing here fits the paranormal plot, ethereal and haunting. Nothing is over-explained and the feeling of dread only grows as the story progresses.

Taken altogether, this is an excellent, well rounded collection with enough horror to satisfy the paranormal buff and enough steamy sex for the erotic reader. For those of us who like both, well, you can’t help but sink your teeth in.

Undercover Lover by Jane Leopold Quinn

Undercover Lover by Jane Leopold Quinn
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full (198 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Review by: Tiger Lily

Free spirited actress Liz Aspen can't resist masturbating to the fantasy of her gorgeous, hunky next door neighbor. If he were only there in the bedroom with her, she wouldn't need Mr. Fake-Nine-Inch-Cock.

Sam Bolt, loner and secretive undercover cop, gets an eyeful when he accidentally spies on his neighbor from his window to hers. It's a shame what she's doing to herself--when he could do it much better!

Their lives entwine when he saves her life, but she's in further danger when his past meets his present. Sam hates the pain he's caused, but can't stay away from her. He craves the promise of a normal life with a soft, willing woman like Liz who doesn't have to fight tortuously dark demons.

Addicted to his powerful lovemaking, Liz finds him as compelling as she is confused by the mystery of what he's not telling her. Will she still love him when he finally tells her the whole truth? Can Sam accept that his past actions don't need to destroy a future with a woman who has proven her strength--emotionally and physically?

He’s her fantasy lover. He’s also an undercover cop. She’s the object of his dirtiest desires. She also lives in the next building. What happens when they finally meet? Read Undercover Lover and find out.

Ms. Quinn writes a fascinating novel. Her characters are rich with intrigue and are easy to root for. The situations are ripe with detail. They pull you into the story from page one.

I liked the complexity of the relationship. You could feel the passion between Sam and Liz, but not without some struggles. Both characters carried baggage that the reader could and can relate to. She’s just out of a loveless relationship and he’s dealing with a past he can’t control, but takes responsibility for. I liked that he came to her, although he couldn’t understand his internal issues – the issues of the heart. Who really understands love, anyway? It made me want to help Sam all the more.

A really good romance novel also shows a growing love between the characters. The love scenes are not only filled with passion, but trust. The pages practically combusted with the heat of their lovemaking. I came away from the story with the characters still in my head.

If you want a sexy read for a lazy afternoon, then Undercover Lover is the novel for you. I give this novel 4 ½ cherries.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sexy by Design by Avery Beck

Sexy by Design by Avery Beck
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (135 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Toys
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Tulip

One night of anonymous sex. Zero consequences. At least, that was the plan.

Dumped for another woman, Bree Jamison buries her white-picket-fence dreams—and her naturally shy demeanor—for a contract job behind the scenes of an erotic cyberstore. Her new life comes with a sexy public persona, and a driving ambition to earn a permanent position with the company.

On the day she’s prepared to present her best work, she’s shocked to discover her future depends on impressing her only one-night stand. The one man who could blow her cover and ruin everything.

In a bedroom full of the company’s products, fiery arguments lead to experimentation—and then to a passion that strips away their masks. In that vulnerable place, their troubled pasts collide, baring secrets that force Evan into a hard decision. And Bree back on the road to heartbreak…

Erotic tantalizing passion! Not sure if I can think of a better way to describe Sexy by Design by Avery Beck. This story is full of hot sex, battery operated toys used in ways that will make your toes curl in ecstasy. A very kinky and exciting to-do list, four letter words that make you hot, and of course having an entertaining office job. What else could a girl ask for? Oh, yes the romance.

Although I would like to see more romance and love and passion between the two characters, the story isn’t lacking. Both Bree and Evan overcome a lot together and are able to find a relationship they can agree upon having. I think it’s really exciting that Bree has to prove her skills to her new boss, not only in the bedroom, which she has blown his mind with, but in the office. This story isn’t for the faint of heart or those that blush easily. Take caution and of course enjoy!

Man After Midnight by Devyn Quinn

Man After Midnight by Devyn Quinn
Publisher: Kensington Aphrodisia
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (284 pgs)
Other: M/F, Forced Seduction
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Cholla

Devyn Quinn spins a dark tale of erotic tension, deception, and betrayal, where a woman's desires descend into an ecstasy she may never escape . . .

All Of Him

Dani Wallace forged her powers as a guardian of light—but it is darkness that tempts her most strongly. Drawn to her fiery beauty and brilliance, Casedren, the prince of a mysterious underworld, initiates her into erotic rites designed to mold her into his compliant consort. Yet Dani refuses to surrender at once. But she cannot resist a man so masterful. The slightest touch of her enigmatic captor ignites an uncontrollable passion to know all of him—and the forbidden secrets he teaches . . . .

A wonderfully magical read! Devyn Quinn once again pleases and satisfies with this story of intrigue, deception, self-discovery and of course, steaming hot sex.

Enticed by a mysterious fan, Dani Wallace is seduced by the Prince of an alternate world. A witch by birth and stripper by trade, she’s proven herself as a defender of the light, despite being drawn to the darker side of life. She’s torn between being faithful to her family and herself and finding the one true love she’s been waiting her whole life for. Dani is the ultimate modern woman in all ways. Self-dependent, confident, and beautiful, always willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants. Despite her rough life and overprotective older brother, Dani is bound and determined to make her way – and on her own terms.

That is, until Prince Casedren outs himself to her one lust-filled night. He whisks her away to his domain, an alternate world filled with descendants of the dark lord, a world full of magic and danger. He’s fighting for ascension to the throne and needs a queen to do just that. And how could Dani resist such a handsome, sweet-talking man?

If you’re in the mood for a tale of family intrigue, magic, and magical eroticism, then Man After Midnight is a sure-fire pleaser. Beautifully written and steaming from the first word, this is a must read novel for the lover of the dark and sensual fantasy.


More Bark Than Bite by Melissa Hosack

More Bark Than Bite by Melissa Hosack
Publisher: Mystic Moon Press, LLC
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (77 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Amaranth

More Bark Than Bite follows a reporter's inquiry into a serial killer investigation that leads through the world of the supernatural. Reporter Morgan Phillips jumps on the opportunity to further her career when a killer plagues her city. Under the guise of needing assistance, she places herself along the predictable route of police officer Graham Audrick.

Knowing that Graham is attracted to her, Morgan attempts to charm information out of him. She gets in way over her head when her sly flirtation turns into a full out seduction by Graham. Not only is she now emotionally involved in the case, but she also discovers that the killer she'd desperately wanted information on is a werewolf bent on revenge against humanity. This supernatural murderer also has an abnormal obsession with Graham. Now worried about simply staying alive another day, Morgan learns that Graham has a few secrets of his own that may be just as dark as the killer's.

This was the first Melissa Hosack book that I have read, but I know that it will not be my last. More Bark Than Bite has it all with realistic characters, a dark conflict, humor in all the right places, and loads of passion.

Morgan is a reporter, but isn’t cunning enough to get the big stories. On the advice of a friend and co-worker, she decides to set up an “accidental” meeting with Graham, an adorable cop who has a thing for her, and pump him for information on a string of murders in the area. Morgan has an ingenious idea to get Graham alone for a while, but she quickly feels guilty about her deception, because Graham is just so nice. I could relate with her feelings of guilt, because I would have felt the same way. This is a very fast-paced book, and Morgan quickly finds herself in bed and in a serious relationship with Graham. She realizes that they are moving fast and that there is something weird going on with Graham, but she can’t help herself because it just feels right. I did feel at times that Morgan was a bit unrealistic, because everything did happen so fast, including her learning that Graham is a werewolf and mated her during their first time together. Ms. Hosack did a superb job of showing that Morgan knows that her circumstances are not normal, but again, it was right for her and Graham.

Graham is a cop and puts up a front of being a really nice, funny guy. Though that is who he really is, he doesn’t often show the dangerous animal lurking just below the surface. I loved his balance of a nice, sweet guy and dominating werewolf. His wolf has been telling him for a while that Morgan was his, but he wanted to take his time and develop a relationship with her, but once she showed an interest in him, he couldn’t hold back any longer.

More Bark Than Bite was a quick, enjoyable read. There were a few times that it became a bit unrealistic, but the characters and feelings put into the book overshadowed those few times very well. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Hosack.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Darkness Burning by Delilah Devlin

Darkness Burning by Delilah Devlin
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon Red
Genre: Paranormal, Futuristic
Length: Full Length (294 pgs)
Other: M/F, Multiple Partners, Spanking, Voyeurism, Light BDSM
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Cherry Blossom

Beware the place where darkness rules and bloodlust is the ultimate aphrodisiac…
An apocalyptic storm has transformed New Orleans into a city of lawless terror—and Mikaela Jones is standing in the center of the nightmare. A beautiful, courageous journalist with a mysterious past, she sees monsters prowling all around her. But the gravest peril of all awaits Mikaela when she is taken captive by a mesmerizing male who is not mortal—a breathtaking creature who arouses the fire in her blood, making her burn for the exquisite erotic ecstasy of total surrender.

For seven centuries Alex Broussard has been waiting for the chance to free himself from the threat of the matriarchal undead society that seeks his destruction. And now, finally, that time is at hand—until the opportunity is ruined by the stunning, innocent, human interloper Alex is compelled to rescue from certain doom. Now they are joined, for good or ill, as they give in to the burning need that neither can resist—risking everything to experience the ultimate sensual release as the darkness rises all around them.

Darkness Burning is the third book in the Darkness series, but it also stands on its own. While it would be a pity to miss two great reads with the preceeding stories, they are not absolutely necessary to the understanding of the plot or the characters in this one.

Darkness is the state in which New Orleans finds itself after the Storm surge destroys most of the city, and worst of all, allows the inhuman underworld to roam free in its streets. But nothing is ever simple in Delilah Devlin's world, and the struggle isn't just between mortal prey and its immortal hunters. Something is after the hunters themselves, and if they can't unite against their foe, they will be destroyed.

Ploys, palace intrigues, backstabbing and betrayal, shifting allegiances and true friendship, and above all, abiding love, are what make Delilah Devlin's dark romances so irresistible.

Do not expect a formulaic and predictable story. You can, however, count on a sensual read, hot flashes, sharp humor, unexpected twists, sudden revelations, and one of the best storytellers in her genre.

Once again, Delilah Devlin weaves a wicked tale set in a world filled with darkness and demons, and heroes you can only dream of. Her world-building is such that after visiting the real-life cities through her books, the reader is bound to be disappointed by the prosaic look of the streets and their mortal inhabitants.

We will be forever drawn back to her fantasies and her powerful characters. They step out in front of you, and you never forget them. Her worlds rise up around you and when you look up from her book, you are surprised to see familiar surroundings. Weeks after turning the last page, the characters will come knocking at the door of your imagination and whispering more secrets in your ear.

Darkness Burning isn't just a must-read. It's going to be a re-read many times for the sheer pleasure of wonderful word-weaving. Oh yes, and the sensual enjoyment, too. There's more than one romance budding in the Delilah's Darkness.


The Road to Shanhassan by Joely Sue Burkhart

The Road to Shanhassan by Joely Sue Burkhart
Publisher: Drollerie Press
Length: Full Length (328 pgs)
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Other: M/F/M, Voyeurism
Rating: Best Book
Review by Holly

The long awaited sequel to Joely Sue Burkhart's first Shanhasson novel, The Rose of Shanhasson, is finally here. The Road to Shanhasson is the second in the "Blood and Shadows" series, and continues the breathtaking story of Shannari, rightful queen of the Green Lands.

Shannari is about to be made the Khul’lanna of the Plains, wife to the Khul, leader of the 9 camps of the Sha’Kae al’Dan people. Unusual in the land of her birth for her skills as a warrior and prized as the rightful ruler of the Green Lands before being stolen away by Rhaekar, the Khul of the Sha'Kae al'Dan, Shannari is as foreign to these people as they are to her.

Shannari has admitted her love for Rhaekar, and, reluctantly, that she also loves Gregar, the Shadowed man who, along with the other eight Blood guards, protects Rhaekar from danger. Rhaekar, far from being angered by her love for another man, is man enough to give her what she wants, and determines that Gregar shall be her co-mate.

Some of her new people welcome Shannari, but others are angry that a hated Outlander is to become their new queen. Controversy and danger swirls around Shannari and the men she loves, threatening to tear apart the camps. Shannari works with Rhaekar, Gregar, and some new allies to bring peace to the camps, but she forgets that Theo, the current ruler of the Green Lands, will stop at nothing to debase and destroy her, and his bloody pact with Lygon, the god of Shadow, will bring Shannari to her knees.

Please note: Strong sexual imagery, sexual situations, violence.

The Road to Shanhassan is a dark, violent road. The relationships formed in Joely Sue Burkhart’s first book in the Blood and Shadows series, The Rose of Shanhassan, are cemented by blood in this book. The characters are richly drawn and fully engaging, and the feelings are deep and strong throughout the story.

This book deals with the struggle to win acceptance for Shannari from the Nine Camps, and to prepare her for the tribulations ahead of her as she fights to meet her destiny to become Queen of the Green Lands and unseat King Theo, the embodiment of Lygon, the lord of The Endless Night who controls him. The bonds of Shannari and her co-mates are forged by blood, and are strong and enduring. Shannari becomes the mate to both Rhaekhar, Khul of the Nine Camps, and his First Blood, Gregar, the Shadowed Blood. The tribes don’t want to accept an “outlander” like Shannari as the mate to their leader, but she is able to show them that she is not weak. The training she goes through to prepare is grueling, and with it comes the grudging respect of many of Rhaekhar’s people. The tribes equate blood with honor, so there is a lot of blood-letting in this story of passion, love, lust and eventually loss. Even the joining of Shannari and Rhaekhar is bloody and quite violent, but very much consensual. This book takes the reader on the journey with Shannari as she comes into her power, not only as the Last Daughter of The Blessed Lady Leesha of the Green Lands, but as Khul’lanna of the Nine Camps of the Sha’Kae al’Dan, co-mate to Rhaekhar and Gregar. All roads in this lead to the great battle for the Rose Crown of Shanhassan, a Trial by Blood between the Champions of Shannari and Theo.

The Road to Shanhassan is definitely not a standalone book. The relationships in this book are dependent on the set up from The Rose of Shanhassan, and could be quite confusing if you have not read that book. But this book pushes the limits to new levels, in terms of passion, strength and pure lust. The scenes between the three main characters are so explicitly hot and erotic I expected my e-reader to melt. Ms. Burkhart creates her world so skillfully, the people and places become real to the reader, and the emotions are deep and, at times quite gut-wrenchingly real. There were many places in the story where I cried along with Shannari, at her depth of loss and her heights of joy and passion. There is humor scattered throughout the book as well; wicked sharp humor with a bite to it, to be sure.

Nothing in this book can be seen as “filler”; every single scene is necessary to the plot, and even the seemingly innocuous events come to have significance in retrospect. The character development throughout the book is wonderful, and I look forward to the final installment impatiently.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who loves a lot of action, a lot of passion and lots of steamy romance. Like the previous book in the series, this one is not for the faint of heart. If you want a simple “happily ever after” this is not the book for you. But if you want depth of characters and excellent storytelling, Joely Sue Burkhart comes through with one fantastic book. I can’t wait for the next one.

Murder by Design by Jade Falconer

Murder by Design by Jade Falconer
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (178 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Daisy

Sidney has it all: he's a gorgeous, sought-after male model, and he lives with Alan, who worships the ground he walks on. He's surrounded by friends and luxury. His life may not be conventional, but he's happy.

Then Alan is murdered, and Sidney is arrested for the crime. All evidence points to Sidney, but the detective assigned to the case is sure they've got the wrong man. Detective Greg Wilson is convinced of Sidney's innocence, but is it because he's falling for him? Can Greg solve the case before it's too late?

Sidney is the prime suspect when his lover, a prominent fashion designer is murdered. He is the sole beneficiary, has no alibi, and then when it seems things can’t get worse, a gun is found in his car.

Greg is the investigating detective and despite all the evidence to the contrary, his gut says he has got the wrong man.

The only way he can clear Sidney is to find the murderer. Fast. And the clock is ticking.

Sidney and Greg form a bond from a mutual attraction, working together from the start. Murder by Design is a real page turner. Jade Falconer has created a compelling plot with three-dimensional characters that are true to life and you love to witness fall in love. The romance and mystery was well balanced throughout the story.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

His Final Seduction by Scarlett Childs

His Final Seduction by Scarlett Childs
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Length: Full Length (177 pgs)
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Other: M/F, Voyeurism, M/M/F, F/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Holly

Signed, sealed and seduced.

When an affair with her boss wrecked her legal career, Sydney James finally admitted her sex addiction and swore off men. After a year of self-imposed celibacy, her friends surprise her with a trip to a Caribbean resort. Only they fail to mention her destination is the infamous erotic getaway, Club Carnal.

She fully intends on fleeing temptation—until the club’s hotter-than-the-tropical-sun manager puts a kink in her plan. And her celibacy.

Moments from death, Damien Blake signed a contract with a succubus who promised to save his life…for a price. In exchange, he must use his newly granted sex-demon powers to seduce and steal energy from one hundred women. Now, ninety-nine women later—just one conquest away from freedom—he meets his final victim, the alluring, enigmatic Sydney James. Long-dormant emotions sizzle to life and ignite a fire in his blood unlike any he’s ever known.

But when a lethal clause in his contract is revealed, Damien is forced to make a deadly decision. Spend eternity in slavery…or kill the woman he loves.

Warning: If you like hot sex with even hotter partners, then you’ve come to the right place! Here at Club Carnal, anything and everything goes…foreplay for dinner, hands-on body massages, toys that take on a completely new meaning, girl-on-girl action—and, if you’re not careful, you might run into a sex demon. Or two.

What would you do to save your life? Damien Blake and Sydney James both have to answer this question in His Final Seduction. In Sydney’s case, it is figurative, while Damien must decide literally whether to live or die. The choices they make will influence their lives in a major way.

Damien Blake is literally on the verge of death after eating poisonous blowfish, when he is offered the chance to live by what he thought was a sexy woman. All he has to do is sign a contract, in his blood (of course), and he will live. Like any contract with an evil demon, there’s a catch. He must take on the powers of an incubus, and he has one year to seduce one hundred women, take their essence while making love to them, and transfer that essence to Giselle, the succubus.

Sydney James swears off sex after an unfortunate encounter costs her almost everything: her career, her reputation and her self-respect. Her friends think she needs a break, so they get together and give her a weeklong Caribbean vacation. Unbeknownst to Sydney, the trip is to a world famous sex club, which is owned and operated by, you guessed it, Damien Blake.

When we first enter this world, Damien is close to the end of his agreement. He has seduced ninety-nine pretty willing victims, and only has one more to go to fulfill the conditions of his contract. That’s where Sydney comes into the story. He decides she will be his final seduction, and starts putting plans in motion when he sees her arrival.

That is when Giselle drops the bombshell on him...the fine print in his contract with her. Seems with the last victim, he not only has to take her energy and essence, he must steal her soul in order to fulfill his duties completely.

This is a super hot tale of sex and seduction. I love the way Scarlett Childs draws you into her characters' world of "anything goes" with anyone at this resort. If you like tales of steamy sex and seduction, this book is for you. The characters are well thought out, and there are enough different scenarios to please most anyone who reads this. There are some surprises I didn’t see coming at all, and I like that in a book. And the supporting characters are quite a surprise as well.

This is Scarlett Childs’ first book, and I think with a start like this, she has a great future. To see if Sydney’s legal sense saves the day, and Damien, just pick up a copy of His Final Seduction and enjoy.

Never Say Goodbye by Jenna Byrnes

Never Say Goodbye by Jenna Byrnes
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (55 pgs)
Other: M/M, Multiple Partners
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Zinnia

Damien Hall has never done an honest day's work in his life. On his own from a young age, his street wiles got him by until he ended up in Corcoran State Prison for theft. Five years later, he's moved in with a man who only wants him for one thing, nightly hot sex. But he's off the streets, and Damien thinks the trade-off is worth it.

Travis Slater wrangles horses for a living, and wants to wrangle Damien in his off hours. He sees potential in the man who suffers from extremely low self esteem, and quickly falls in love with him. He hopes to take Damien and leave, knowing they can make their own way in the world.

Damien isn't so sure, and is terrified at the thought of being homeless again. When his employer admits the real reason Damien was hired, it's decision time. Do what's easy or do what's right? Only Damien can decide.

Damien Hall’s naiveté in trusting Charles, a man who uses him as a sex toy, is the mark of a desperately seeking soul. Damien’s first goal in life seems to be having a roof over his head and food to eat. If he pays for it with sex, hey, it’s not like he doesn’t excel at work he enjoys.

As tough as the protagonist tries to be, the street kid who just wants to be loved keeps popping through—and that’s what makes this short read, by Jenna Byrnes, work. On his own from a young age, all of Damien’s street wiles have gotten him nothing but a stretch in Corcoran State Prison for theft. Five years later, out of jail, with the stigma of being an ex-con, he believes that he has only one sellable skill—and the reader is definitely convinced that he excels in this area as Damien gives and receives rough, satisfying sex.

Author Jenna Byrnes has taken 55 pages and created a memorable story that leaves one pondering the inequities of life, the harsh trade-offs one might embrace to survive, and why it is that male on male sex is totally arousing.

If the story has any weakness, it would be the bothersome dialogue between Damien and his new lover. The conversations were cliché; discussions between Damien and Travis Slater seemed more like two awkward teens first meeting, than lusty adult males. But, the robust sexual content was definitely enough to forgive the forgettable chit-chat.

Jenna Byrnes has written a short story with a hot, tightly constructed plot, clean editing and an easy to read style. Never Say Goodbye, will tease all of your senses, not just your libido. All things considered, it is a very satisfying read and this reviewer anticipates enjoying future books by Ms. Byrnes.

Tally’s Gift by Elle Amery

Tally’s Gift by Elle Amery
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Length: Full Length (177 pgs)
Genre: Contemporary
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Holly

Tally Bennett's always been a giver, Brett Huntsman's always been a player. When Brett has a snowboarding accident and can't use his hands, Tally's happy to help him out-in more ways than one-but for one night and one night only.

Then Tally is asked for one more favor: take care of egotistical rich boy Brett while his broken bones heal. She just started developing her new bath and body line, Naughty Body-how is she supposed to find the time to take care of Brett and deal with his latest request: that they indulge in a six-week sex fest?

Brett always gets what he wants, and he wants sex with Tally. But a sex fest with lush, earthy Tally affects Brett in a way he never saw coming, and he's just discovered the one thing money can't buy-Tally's heart.

Can a self-centered rich boy and a self-made country girl come to learn the true meaning of giving before their differences rip them apart?

Can a small town budding entrepreneur find happiness with a rich and handsome playboy? Does she even want to? Can a playboy see behind a façade of a woman he’s known most of his life and find the inner beauty hidden from everyone? These questions and more can be answered in Tally’s Gift, the third book of Elle Amery’s Quartzton books.

Tally Bennett is beginning her new career as an entrepreneur, with her line of sensual bath and body products when her best friend Sophie calls from New York and asks her to visit her brother Brett in the hospital.

Spoiled rich boy Brett is used to having his way, with life as well as with women. But after a snowboarding accident, he is sidelined in the hospital and can barely care for himself. He gets his way where Tally is concerned and they both think that's the end of it.

Unfortunately, Sophie can’t come back to help care for her brother as planned, and asks Tally to let him stay with her for the time it will take for Brett to heal. Against her better judgement, Tally agrees to let him stay at her house. She quickly sets up ground rules of no sex between them while he is there. This becomes difficult early on and after one really difficult night of avoidance, the ground rules change. They make an agreement to have a six-week “sex fest” after which they will go their separate ways, no strings attached. But, can Tally and Brett remain friends with benefits and then go their separate ways with no regrets? The answers are in Tally’s Gift, and it is well worth reading.

Elle Amery has a talent for writing well-rounded characters, people that we can recognize as someone we may know or want to know. I loved the idea that Tally was her own person, not some cookie cutter heroine. She is eccentric, and just imperfect enough to be any woman. Tally is honest, with herself as well as with others.

Ms. Amery gives us situations of real depth and I find myself hoping to revisit Quartzton California again sometime in the future. With Tally’s Gift, she has actually gifted us with an excellent story of passion and love, and someone who feels like a friend. I would recommend that all three of the Quartzton books be a part of anyone’s library, but most especially Tally’s Gift.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wanderlust by KyAnn Waters

Wanderlust by KyAnn Waters
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (146 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: Best Book
Review by Wisteria

The world is waiting for her…and he’s waited long enough.

Meg Snow is having hot and wild sex with Cory Traven…in her dreams.

Four years ago he had his chance for a relationship with her. Instead, he joined the military, leaving her to endure Milcott, South Dakota on her own. Now it’s her turn for adventure and a chance to banish those erotic Cory fantasies once and for all—on a singles cruise to Jamaica.

Cory has come home for what he’d denied himself four years before. Meg. But she’s made it clear she wants anyone except him. There’s only one way to show her that what she wants and what she needs are two different things. How? Storm the beaches of Jamaica. Infiltrate his way into her bed. Breach the walls of her heart.

And show her that paradise is not in the Caribbean, but in his arms.

Warning: This title contains scorching sex on the beach, in the shower, in bed, and against a wall. A hot hero with a wicked tongue who goes after what he wants and a heroine who gives it to him…again, and again and again.

Meg Snow has always had a thing for her best friend and now neighbor, Cory Traven. But she has no desire to be stuck in a one horse town for the rest of her life. She wants to travel and see the world, have adventure and be wild. When a snafoo lands her on a singles cruise that isn’t exactly what she had in mind, she needs Cory’s help to get home. Sparks fly when the duo spend time on a tropical paradise together, well away from the drab life they knew in South Dakota.

HOLY MOLY!!!!! Not only is this creation filled with hot, steamy, I-want-to-be-her love scenes, but I laughed so hard in spots I thought I was going to embarrass myself! The secondary characters were memorable and added a wonderful layer to the ongoing story between Meg and Cory. I found the realism of the characters, both H/H and the secondaries, refreshing. A totally believable and entertaining plot that has me giving a standing ovation to Ms Waters.

Rest assured that THIS reviewer will be jumping over to Ms. Waters' website to snap up more of her work. If the rest are anything even remotely as fabulous as this one, she has earned herself a new fan and a BEST BOOK rating by me. From the bottom of my heart--and laugh box--I urge you to take a peek at this story. It will, no doubt be as memorable for you as it was for me. A definite keeper I plan to re-read in the future. Thank goodness it’s e-book, or I would probably wear out the binding and have pages falling out!

Beef Cake by Kris Eton

Beef Cake by Kris Eton
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand Publishing, Siren
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (60 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Mistletoe

If you bake it, he will come.

Naomi Keller receives a mysterious cookbook on her doorstep. Bake a cake, and a hot, sexy man arrives at your door, ready for action. But there's a catch, not every recipe is a winner and she has to act fast before the right one slips through her fingers. Can Naomi find true love in a cookbook? She'll have to find out, one recipe at a time.

"The idea for BEEF CAKE came to me over a year ago. I wanted to write something fun and sexy, and because I love to bake, the plot was a natural. When I brainstormed about which cakes Naomi would use, it was so much fun coming up with men who fit the recipe's name!" ~Kris~

Imagine baking a cake and finding your true love. Now who would not want that? Food and love all in one? It gives a new meaning to the saying have your cake and eat it too! I know I certainly would not mind trying a few recipes out myself.

When Naomi Keller receives her grandmother’s old cookbook, the mayhem begins. With her feisty roommate to encourage her, Naomi begins the ride of her life: trying different recipes to find that special one.

With a whole cookbook of cakes to try you can just imagine the fun that ensues. Can Naomi choose the right recipe? She must read through the book carefully. A few mishaps and recipes later has she finally found the right one? Naomi hopes and trusts she will make the right decision and has the reader rooting for her as well.

This was a fast paced story filled with lots of spice and a little bit of humor mixed in. It was a great read and very interesting concept. What a new twist on an old adage!

Getting It In The End by G.A. Hauser

Getting It In The End by G.A. HAUSER
Publisher: Linden Bay Romance, LLC
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (227 pgs
Other: BDSM, M/M, M/M/M/M
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Magnolia

Too much is never enough, especially in LA.

Action! Book 3

In Los Angeles, where everyone is a ten, Mark Antonious Richfield is an eleven. Too gorgeous for anyone’s good. Externally flawless, but inside? That’s another matter.

He’s been an almost-husband. Been swept off his feet by an ex-cop. Seduced by two young, handsome TV stars. But who is he? He’s looking for the answer to that question himself. All he’s sure of is that he loves too much and craves love in return. Desperately. To the point of testing his current relationship to the limit.

Then a look back at one freeze-frame moment reminds Mark of the love he could have had—and threw away.

Years ago, Jack stood patiently by, madly in love, until Mark broke his heart one too many times. Eventually Jack moved on, but now Mark is back, begging for one more chance. And Jack can’t help but crave him, even if it means sacrificing the peace he’s found with another man.

Out of this quagmire of love and lust, only one picture is crystal clear: Mark wants it all. And what Mark wants, he goes for with his whole heart, whatever the cost.

Warning! These books contain unthinkable acts of forbidden sensual passion and hot, wild bouts of unbridled sex between men and men, and more men, sure to shock you or drive you wild.

Gorgeous, hot, sexy, and seriously in need of a shrink, Mark Richfield has just a few problems. He seems to have it all, the looks, the body, the talent, men and women who fall all over themselves to be near him, and although he seems to be star quality on the outside, he’s a mess inside. This book delves into the psyche of a man raised by an abusive father who made sure Mark knew he was worthless and would never amount to anything. Even though Mark is now a grown man, and his father is long dead, he can’t seem to get past his father’s opinions and hears his father’s words echoing in his mind constantly.

Mark goes from man to man, lover to lover trying to validate himself, trying to convince himself that his father’s words aren’t true, but Mark screws up every relationship and opportunity he has. He is haunted by the demons of his past, which include ex-lover Jack, who Mark tries to hang on to even though Jack has moved on to a loving and committed relationship with someone else. As a result, Mark is about to screw up his relationship with current live-in lover Steve Miller.

Steve is madly in love with Mark and just the sight of this gorgeous hunk turns Steve into a walking hard-on. But Steve’s love for Mark isn’t just skin-deep. Steve has given his heart and soul to Mark and will do anything it takes to make him happy--even having sex with another couple. Steve wants to have a deep, meaningful relationship with Mark, and even though Mark’s pain is mostly self-inflicted, Steve tries to find a way to reach Mark and help him put his self-loathing and self-destructive ways to rest.

I really liked Steve and I felt sorry for him. There were times when I thought he was just wasting his time and his heart on someone who would never grow up and let the past go. I didn’t think Mark was good enough for Steve and of course, neither did Mark. That seems to be his biggest problem. The more people adore him, the worse he feels about himself because he knows inside that he’s a cheater and he uses people. Yet his need for sex with multiple partners is almost a driving force in proving to himself that he isn’t worthless, but afterwards he feels more worthless than before, and seems to be caught up in this cycle with no end in sight.

I have always liked G.A. Hauser’s work and I think she did a superb job in Getting It In The End. The depth in which she characterizes Mark is wonderful and I think will resonate with many people who have low self-esteem issues. She also writes a great character with Steve, who is the type of person we all need in our lives—the one who will always be there and will love us unconditionally. And of course, the sex is really, really hot! Ms. Hauser writes M/M sex scenes with an insight that makes me wonder if she’s really not a man in disguise! Although I don’t think Getting It In The End is Ms. Hauser’s best work, I certainly wasn’t disappointed and highly recommend putting it in your “I’m gonna read this one next” pile!