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Friday, July 10, 2009

Show Off by Emma Jay

Show Off by Emma Jay
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Scarlet Line
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (87 pgs)
Other: M/F, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by: Magnolia

Veronica Butler avoids risks as a rule, but when faced with celebrating her thirty-fifth birthday alone, she dons her sexiest dress and heads to a single's club. She’s startled when the attention she draws is that of her supervisor, Vicente Salazar. They’ve worked on the same team at an architectural firm, designing a hotel with Gaudi-influenced elements. Veronica has indulged in several fantasies starring the sexy Spaniard. Now she’s fueling his.

Though she knows it's a mistake, that this decision may affect the office atmosphere, she gives into her desire and allows him to show her exquisite pleasure in public places. From the back of a limousine to his office to an alcove in a museum, each sexual encounter is exciting, challenging, terrifying. Each encounter shows her more of who she is. Each encounter risks her heart. Now if only she can convince him to risk his.

Veronica Butler is facing her 35th birthday alone so she decides to go out and celebrate. Having been alone for the past ten months since breaking up with her boyfriend, she’s determined to get laid. Wearing a slip dress that says “come f*ck me” all over it, she goes to a bar and immediately has several men vying for the chance to bed her.

Vicente Salazar is out with friends and he’s ready to go home when in walks a beautiful woman reeking of pheromones. As he watches her sit on a barstool and several men approach her, he realizes he recognizes her, and decides to join the party.

Veronica almost falls off her stool when Vicente walks up to her. Seeing her boss in front of her is more than a shock. But when he asks her to leave with him, she does. And when they’re in his limo and he exposes her so the chauffeur can watch, Veronica realizes there is more to her boss than she ever knew.

I loved this short story. An office romance is always a treat and Ms. Jay uses every office scenario available to put Veronica and Vicente into delightful positions. Full of humor, surprises and some of the hottest sex I’ve ever read, this book is a treat for the libido. This is another to put in your bedtime stories pile!

Waking the Witch by Lisa Whitefern

Waking the Witch by Lisa Whitefern
Publisher: Freya’s Bower
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (32 pgs)
Other: M/F, Spanking
Rating: 2.5 Cherries
Review by Phlox

From inside the stunning opal necklace, a haunting voice whispered, "Make love to him, Faith. Do it now!"

Faith Abbot is a good Puritan woman, but the magic inside an opal necklace begins to torment her with lustful thoughts.

For years her heart and body have craved handsome James Parris, a man twelve years her junior, a man she thinks should be courting women his own age. But now the magic of a ghost trapped in a jewel breaks down all her inhibitions.

When she and James surrender to the fierce erotic tension that pulses between them, her heart fills with joy.

But who is the angry female ghost dwelling within the necklace, wanting revenge?

And when Faith is accused of performing witchcraft in Salem Village, can James's love save her from the hangman's noose?

The Salem Witch trials are on the periphery of this historic piece, though the action ends before they start. The title and the time period led me to believe there would be an actual, misunderstood witch involved. There was not. Or perhaps a time jump would occur to a future date when the witch needed waking. Wrong on that count, too.

Ms. Whitefern does a credible job with her heroine. Faith is believable and sympathetic as a widow living on the fringe of a Puritan village. She’s largely self-sufficient and certainly not pining after her no-good, abusive, not-so-dearly-departed husband, all good things. James is a nice enough young man, though his personality never really came into focus for me and his failure to reassure Faith that he will marry her someday is baffling. The motives of Rachel, the story’s ghost, are even more baffling and perhaps a bit simplistic in the end.

I’m a stickler for history. Even a short historical story needs to strive for accuracy in all of its aspects. Alternative history can be toyed with and can be great fun but this was obviously not meant as an alternate reality Salem. The dialogue waffles between ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ formality of the period and obvious twentieth century phrases such as ‘I want you so bad’ which were jarring in their inappropriate placement. Ms. Whitefern did some research on the Salem troubles, the names were all in place, Sarah Good, Tituba, and so on, but the lascivious license and lawless behavior of the townspeople did not feel like a real Puritan community. Things got ugly in Salem, certainly, innocent people were tortured and hanged, but all by the letter of the law and under the strict guidance of learned theologians rather than mob rule. (Not that it makes it better, but that’s how it was.) The historical innaccuracies on the author's part are what brought down the rating.

The scenes of lovemaking are sweet, though, and this story’s saving grace. His young, tender fire awakes the long-banked embers in her previously unfulfilled libido and her giving nature are a source of endless surprise and joy for him. Waking the Witch is an uncomplicated bedtime story read with sex scenes heated enough to have you squirming before lights out.

Cage Match by Bonnie Dee

Cage Match by Bonnie Dee
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Futuristic, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (140 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, Voyeurism, Forced Seduction
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Zinnia

A prince of industry, an imprisoned gladiator, fistfights instead of ballrooms -- Cinderella just got hotter.

A master in the arena but a slave when combat is over, Jabez is a cage fighter raised on the streets. Wealthy young Andreas Fortias rescues him from his bleak existence, offering him the chance for a new life. But Andreas will have to break through more than a slave cage to touch Jabez's heart. And Jabez may have to risk his new freedom to save his lover, so together can they expose a truth which may change their world.

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

Andreas Fortias is a spoiled dilettante pursuing meaningless rounds of pleasure with his ne’er-do-well friends. But when he watches the slave/prisoner, Jabez, fight, and win a cage match, Andreas, is entranced, and attracted, but too reserved to ever do anything about it. But of course, what are friends for? Andreas receives the sexual attentions of the fighter as payment for a bet he has won after which he can’t forget the man in the ring called Snake.

Bonnie Dee sets up this male/male erotic romance that resonates with honesty in its gritty, harsh, and sometimes brutal, telling. Two men from different worlds, come together under circumstances not conducive to trust. Jabez has no reason to believe his new owner, although Andreas assures the fighter that he is free and under no obligation to remain. Andreas has no business losing his heart to a common thief and slave, but he does.

Perhaps Andreas is just a tad too naïve to be twenty-five and that innocent, so we’re glad it was Jabez he fell for, since his new lover had every reason to protect and appreciate the man who bought his freedom. The sex is hot, the punches thrown in the ring are hard, and the characters are believable.

Bonnie Dee has written a novel with a hot, tightly constructed plot, clean editing and an easy to read style. Cage Match is a very satisfying story and the reviewer anticipates enjoying future books by Ms. Dee.

Whatever It Takes by Sydney Somers

Whatever It Takes by Sydney Somers
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Stephanotis

The best laid plans can come back to bite you in the ass…

Spellbound, Book 3

Government Operative Gideon Bishop thrives on high-risk situations, but even his most volatile mission is nothing compared to coming face-to-face with his past. He’s spent the last four years trying to forget Tate Calder and their scorching affair, but the only way to get the information he needs is to keep her close—and keep his hands off her. Because the only thing riskier than protecting a woman who insists on hiding the truth is giving in to the attraction that still crackles between them.

All Tate wants is a quiet holiday with zero interruptions from her family, and even fewer from the witches’ council bent on recruiting her. Instead, she finds herself on the run from lethal mercenaries and the police with the one man she never expected to see again. To protect her family’s secrets, she’ll do whatever it takes to keep Gideon from learning the truth.

Even if it means risking her heart to seduce him—over and over again.

Warning: Adult language, skin-tingling forced intimacy, late-night office seductions, hot explicit sex between reunited lovers and graphic violence perpetrated by mercenaries, spies and occasionally by magic.

Take a tale of murder, a who-dunnit, undercover operatives and you’ve got Whatever It Takes. But wait, this isn’t just another mystery, it’s got a twist; it’s also a paranormal romance too.

Gideon Bishop and Tate Calder have a history, they were married for two weeks and then Gideon walked out the door. So imagine Tate’s surprise when she’s on vacation and Gideon shows up at her apartment building looking for her next door neighbor, Penny. There’s even more of a twist when Penny winds up dead. Can these two put their differences aside to solve a series of murders? Oh, and did I happen to mention they’re witches?

I really liked these two characters, in fact, even the secondary characters really added depth to the story. The pacing was great and dialogue natural sounding. This could have been a run of the mill romantic suspense story but Somers added this paranormal element. Some of my favorite romance stories are where the hero and the heroine have a past, meet up again and take things from there. Even if you don’t like these types of books, don’t let the paranormal bit put you off. It’s very subtle and a welcome change from the many vampires and shape shifters. The book is in fact, number three in the Spellbound Series. I’ll be checking out the other two and also other books by Sydney Somers. She’s definitely a writer to watch for in the future.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Empire: After The Fall by Cat Marsters

Empire: After The Fall by Cat Marsters
Publisher: Changeling Press
Length: Short Story (117 pgs)
Genre: Futuristic, Paranormal
Other: M/F, M/F/M, BDSM, F/F, F/M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Bittersweet

"No one hides from the Empire. They see everything, they know everything."

After the Fall, one superpower emerged to rule the whole world. The Empire knows everything about everyone, and no one can hide from it. No one except a psychotic vampire mercenary known as Carver, who has fought both for the Empire and against it.

On the edge of the Empire, a wave of Neo Puritanism has stifled Nalina, a fiesty shape-changer, into a passionless marriage. But when rebellion strikes and the terrifying, corrupt Emperor stakes his claim on Nalina, it's Carver she turns to for help.

But she's underestimated the rough soldier of fortune. Far from being a heartless bloodsucker, he's a passionate, loyal man with a dark and painful past. Escaping the all-knowing Empire for the drowned cities of the old world, Nalina's about to learn that passion can be found in the most surprising places.

War, rubble and destruction, a strange necklace placed upon a woman and a mercenary all in one place at a given time. Confusion was my first thought as I encountered this situation in Empire: After The Fall, however, soon enough, Ms. Marsters began to give me clear coherent answers as to what was going on.

As I delved deeper into the story I found myself falling for Carver, that raucous vampire with a heart of gold and a body to match, just as Nalina was.

Nalina herself is easily liked as well, for she is a character one can identify with: Haven’t we all felt at times obliged to what society, parents or friends impose on us? Amidst all the destruction and havoc occurring in her world Nalina is able to find the liberty to be herself. However, I would have liked to see a little more of her character out of the sexual terrain.

Characters like George, the Emperor or others (don’t want to spoil any surprises) fit smugly into the plot, which although seemed to advance a bit slowly at times, ended up rising to its challenge.

Glimpses of humor along with large doses of love and very wild sex (as usual Mrs. Marsters descriptions are wild and vivid) make Empire 1: After The Fall a hot read for these warm summer nights.

Del Fantasma: Winter Break by Dawn Montgomery

Del Fantasma: Winter Break by Dawn Montgomery
Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Holiday, Christmas
Length: Short Story (56 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Ice Play
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Phlox

Christmas alone isn't all it's cracked up to be and for adult toy QA tech, Nicollete Snow a little non-silicone action at the Del Fantasma is just the ticket. Who shows up a little ticked off and delicious riding a sweet bike but Jack Frost, ready to cause a little mischief. What happens when Old Man Winter takes a holiday?

We’re all familiar with anthropomorphic representations: the Grim Reaper personifying death, the old, bearded Father Time, but how often do you get to run into one who happens to be a smoking-hot, leather clad bad boy? This is the rather fun premise to Winter Break, in which Jack Frost gets to play the sexy, tortured hero. Del Fantasma – for those who might not have run across it – is an Aspen Mountain creation where authors get to play with paranormal stories centered around or originating in the vampire-owned bar of that name in Vista Loma, California. Some are full length stories and some shorter pieces with a drink name in the title (see “A Slow, Fuzzy Screw’ for example.) The drink recipe is at the end of the book.

This is a holiday release, so one expects light and fun, which Ms. Montgomery delivers with a heroine who does QA for adult toys at the North Pole and carries a bottomless purse reminiscent of the old D&D Bag of Holding. Hers is mainly for a plethora of cookies, good for whatever might ail you. I did enjoy the characters and the erotic scenes are white-hot and imaginative since Jack can do all sorts of fun things with wind and ice. The issues, unfortunately, come from this being a holiday release as well, most likely written on a schedule and edited too quickly to get it released in time. The text is peppered with errors, incomplete sentences and syntax oddities. (‘Sweat-slickened blonde hair’? And for a male at that?) There are some plot holes that left me with a feeling of having missed something (we never get a good explanation of who Nicolette really is, we’re not entirely sure what Jack has done to unbalance the weather patterns, and the resolution is left a bit vague.)

Taken altogether, though, it’s a fun, fast read, well steeped in the sentiments of the season. It is, after all, a story about two lonely people, (even if one is a demigod) who need to learn to trust and to recognize they need one another. In this, Ms. Montgomery succeeds with humor and abundant imagination.

Deadly Crimson by Trista Ann Michaels

Deadly Crimson by Trista Ann Michaels
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (146 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, BDSM
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Cherry Blossom

Stacy has been ordered off her current drug case. Her superiors think the death of her best friend make it too personal. They're right. Too personal to let it go. So Stacy takes matters into her own hands and investigates the Coven, the last place her friend was seen alive and where Stacy believes she got the drug. Her snooping leads her right into the arms of the gorgeous owners, who also happen to be the men she thinks might be behind the drug.

Jason and Vincent already know the Coven is being used as a distribution point, but when police detective Stacy shows up, they know time is running out for them to find the man responsible. This is no ordinary drug and the men responsible are no ordinary mortals. Jason and Vincent work together to distract Stacy and keep her occupied, and sated, while they track down the culprits.

But when Stacy is attacked, they have no choice but to come clean about the criminals, as well as themselves.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM content, ménage (m/f/m), violence.

Trista Ann Michaels' characters jump off the page from the first line. The author short-circuited all of this reviewer's hot buttons and drew me immediately into her story-world. She has ability to draw her heroes in a few bold strokes that give them depth and warmth and make them real.

Stacy Bevins is drawn inexorably into a world of shadows and secrets and her reaction to its existence is treated in a believable manner. The way she responds to the situations, too, is always in character, and for once we have both a strong-willed heroine, capable of taking care of herself, and one who is not so foolish as to throw herself into danger once she understands the situation. Which doesn't mean she is kept safe by the twists and turns of the plot.

Jason and Vincent have enough charisma for an entire Special Forces team. Their attraction to Stacy and their initial confusion over it make them all the more charming. If there is one aspect of their characterization I might have like to see explored a little more, it is the personal side of their supernatural powers, and a greater clarity about the differences between them. However, within the limits of a novella, Trista Ann Michaels managed to make their abilities such an integral part of their personalities that they can never be mistaken for ordinary mortals.

The sensuality of Deadly Crimson sizzles on every page. It is not limited to the sex scenes. Trista Ann Michaels builds a world of the senses where every moment is foreplay and games between the sheets are the culmination and reward for the waiting.

Deadly Crimson is most definitely a fun read, and Trista Ann Michaels is an author worth watching. It looks like there is more to tell about the world in which Stacy met Jason and Vincent, more heat, and more danger on the horizon.

Dance for Me by Pam Champagne

Dance for Me by Pam Champagne
Publisher: Siren Publishing, April 2009
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (78 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Stephanotis

Lara Stevens, a Boston detective has her hands full investigating a series of bizarre serial murders. She also has to deal with Reino Larkin, a man twelve years her junior. With several exotic dancers murdered, Lara goes undercover as a stripper at the club where the victims danced.

When Reino discovers his murdered friend had been an exotic dancer, he becomes a regular where she danced. Determined to find her murderer, night after night he sits in the club searching for clues. When Lara, the cool detective he'd spoken with at the BPD struts onto the stage, wearing a smile and little else, the heat rises and with it his protective instincts.

The lust in his eyes as he watches her on stage gets her juices flowing. Can Lara keep her professional kick ass attitude when all she wants is Reino?

This title was previously published.

Detective Lara Stevens has a lot on her hands. A serial killer has already murdered four women when in walks sexy Reino Larkin, friend of the third murder victim. Lara’s 38, he’s 25, handsome and she can’t seem to say no to him, even when he asks if he can tag along to help find who murdered his friend.

When she goes undercover as exotic dancer, Summer Day at the Beaver Lodge, the club where all victims worked, things heat up between her and Reino. Will this jeopardize the case, or put them one step closer to solving it?

I liked this story, the problem I had was it was too much story for too short a book. It made the chapter transitions a bit jarring. My other problem and I’ll be fair here, I read a lot of mysteries so I usually figure out who the guilty party is in almost every book now. Having said that, I guessed who the bad guy was as soon as he was introduced into this story, but some of you might not figure it out so easily. Apart from these two elements, the author did a great job of developing the characters and their relationship in such a short time frame.

I think this would have been a first class book if it had been longer with more characters and red herrings to throw you off track. However, if you’re not a die-hard mystery fan but want a quick sexy read, it’s worth checking out.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Club Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair

Club Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (155 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Masters of the Shadowlands Book 1

Her car disabled during a tropical storm, Jessica Randall discovers the isolated house where she's sheltering is a private bondage club. At first shocked, she soon becomes aroused watching the interactions between the Doms and their subs. But she's a professional woman--an accountant--and surely isn't a submissive . . . is she?

Master Z hasn't been so attracted to a woman in years. But the little sub who has wandered into his club intrigues him. She's intelligent. Reserved. Conservative. After he discovers her interest in BDSM, he can't resist tying her up and unleashing the passion she hides within.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, strong BDSM theme and content (including/not limited to bondage, caning, restraints, spanking, etc), exhibitionism, voyeurism.

She’s stranded in the rain with a sinking car. He’s in charge of the club, and not about to share control. What happens when they meet on a dark and stormy night? Come to Club Shadowlands and find out.

Ms. Sinclair writes a captivating novella. Her characters are memorable and human. They have problems which shape them as people, but the nuances are what also make them unforgettable.

There are many stories in the BDSM genre. Many of those stories include unique characters, but what makes Club Shadowlands different is that the characters are people you may know in your life. They have joys and fears and sexual inclinations. Jessica Randall knows nothing of the life, when she wanders in and gets the initiation of a lifetime. I liked that she had body issues. Who doesn’t? But I liked that she ignored her hang ups when she thought another woman was being harmed.

As a Dom, I came to like Master Z. He thrived on control, but when he understood his sub, he wasn’t afraid to yield a bit of that iron control. I liked that he valued Jessica as a person and loved her as is, not the world prescribed ideal of beauty.

If you want a steamy novella about trust, control, and honesty, then you want Club Shadowlands. I give this novel 4 ½ cherries.

Going the Distance by Mandy M. Roth

Going the Distance by Mandy M. Roth
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (60 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Wild Plum

The ultimate battle is waged with one’s heart.

Paranormal Deathmatch, Book 1

Extreme fighting champion Quinn Padgett once had it all. Fame, fortune, freedom. One fateful night it was all stripped away, and for two years the alpha male has endured a torturous life, doing the bidding of a madman in a different kind of ring. The Deathmatch, where the only rule is kill or be killed.

It’s as primal as it gets, and Quinn must draw on all his werewolf instincts to survive. Especially with Carri. Her very presence brings him to his knees, demanding he do all to protect her.

Carri had no idea how close danger lurked until she witnessed her boyfriend’s sick idea of “entertainment”. Now all she wants is to get away from the bastards who are hell-bent on ridding the world of that which they do not understand. But her boyfriend’s reach is long—and brutal. Quinn is her only hope. And the only man who awakens a fire within her, body and soul.

As Quinn and Carri go on the run in a fight for their lives, they find themselves engaged in an even deeper and more dangerous battle—a battle of the heart.

Warning: This book contains a kick-ass alpha male, a crazed madman, towel-dropping sexual tension, smokin’ hot sex, a woman who is more than capable of taming the beast, and the normal “Mandy” death, destruction and mayhem.

Who doesn’t like to watch men fight? Have you ever thought about watching a paranormal death-match? Quinn is a strong alpha-hero. He’s independent, he can kick butt, he fights for a living (both professional and paranormal battles) but has he found his mate? If so, he just saved her from being attacked by a bunch of junkies. Ms. Roth knows how to heat up the pages. Her sex scenes are out of this world and unlike most others. She explores boundaries most are afraid of thinking about.

Going the Distance grabs you and drags you through a crazy, emotional ride. Mandy M. Roth has created a world unlike any other with this series, it’s dark, compelling and the characters are to die for! The author has penned a striking mix of emotions that are hard to combine together, yet she comes out with a compelling end result.

The plot is solid and moves quickly throughout the story, there isn’t ever a time it’s lacking in emotion or conflict. I couldn’t think of one time I wanted this story to end. You become caught up in this fascinating world and with the characters, it’s a book you just can’t put down…it’s a book you don’t want to put down. The sex scenes are smoldering hot, to the point it’s hard for you to catch your breath. Yes, Ms. Roth is that good, so good in fact you want to be the lead character in this story and live through her eyes and feel what she feels.

This author is imaginative and brilliant and so much fun. I can’t believe I’ve never read any of her books before! She’s going at the top of my list. And you should definitely add her to your list--because trust me, this story will knock you off your feet with its action!

Decadent Deceptions by Keta Diablo

Decadent Deceptions by Keta Diablo
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (197 pgs)
Other: M/F, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Amaranth

Daring and desperate to win Morgan’s love, Olivia Breedlove embarks on a reckless folly. But everything backfires when Morgan remains one step ahead of her and the game ventures down a path of duplicity and murder.

A decade ago, Morgan was a heartbeat away from taking Olivia’s virginity. Her father, Thaddeus, intervened and threatened to meet him over pistols if he so much as looked at his daughter again. But now, Thaddeus is dead and Morgan has no intention of ignoring the ravenous hunger he’s harbored for the blasted woman for ten years.

One way or the other, he will quench this burning desire and make her his forever.

Decadent Deceptions begins with Olivia and Cain attending the reading of their father’s will. Olivia is enraged to learn that the terms of the will includes that she must marry a decent man within six months or she will not receive her half of the inheritance. I immediately fell in love with Olivia and her quick wit and hot temper. Olivia has been in love with Morgan for most of her life and she devises the most devious of plans to finally capture Morgan for herself. Her escapades turn hilarious when nothing goes just as she plans and it seems that she digs herself into a deeper hole at every turn. I learned that Morgan and Olivia love and want one another, but neither of them seems to be able to get the other to admit their feelings. It almost made me want to bang my head on the wall, or maybe theirs. Morgan is just as stubborn as Olivia, with just as quick a temper and sharp tongue. These two were definitely made for each other.

A little way into the book, another aspect of the book was introduced. Olivia has a stalker who is killing ladies and leaving her black roses. The introduction of this conflict was a bit confusing and unexpected, but it did amp up the suspense. I was a bit disappointed that this conflict was solved just as suddenly as it was introduced. I can also say the same about the relationship between Morgan and Olivia. It seems that they were both coming up against a wall every time one of them tried to get the attention of the other. It was nearly frustrating at times. Then, all of a sudden, they professed their love for one another, the suspense was resolved and conflict taken care of, all near the end of the book and within a few pages of the other.

Overall, and except for my few concerns noted above, Decadent Deceptions was a good read. Every time that I felt like things were kind of dropping off a bit or going off topic, I was pulled right back into the story. I did enjoy the antics of Olivia and Morgan and was relieved when they finally found their way to each other.

Taking Chloe by Anne Rainey

Taking Chloe by Anne Rainey
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (82 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

The only way to keep what he has…is to surrender everything.

The Vaughn Series, Book 3

Merrick Vaughn couldn’t be happier with his life. His business is jumping and his marriage to the love of his life is about as good as it gets. At least, that’s what he thinks…until Chloe announces she wants to separate.

Stunned doesn’t begin to cover it, but it quickly becomes clear that she’s dead serious. And if he doesn’t take action, as in now, he’s going to lose the only woman he’s ever loved.

The last thing Chloe wants is a divorce, but she can’t go on living with a virtual stranger who spends all his time—and hers—behind a desk. It’s tearing her apart, and taking a break to sort out her thoughts seems her only recourse.

Then Merrick offers a wicked proposition: go to Hawaii with him for one week’s vacation. After that, if he hasn’t successfully changed her mind, he’ll let her go. No questions asked. There’s only one caveat. She must agree to give him complete control.

Chloe’s intrigued and scared. One week in paradise might bring them closer—or be their ultimate undoing.

Warning: This story contains graphic language, a touch of voyeurism, anal sex, and husband-and-wife lovin’ in lots of sinful positions. Have your significant other handy!

He’s a workaholic and she’s fed up. She wants her marriage to work. And he? Well, Chloe’s not sure what he wants. When Merrick realizes he’s close to losing Chloe, he decides he’s not taking no, he’s Taking Chloe.

Ms. Rainey writes a steamy novella, no doubt. Her characters are rich with life and human qualities that draw the reader into the story. The scenes are vibrant and filled with passion. The writing style flows well, hooking the reader from page one until the very end.

You want Chloe and Merrick to figure out their problems and solve them, with some hot sex along the way. Even as things seem to be falling apart, the reader can feel the love and devotion between them. You can identify with the couple as well. We all go through times in our lives where we know what needs to be done, but we aren’t strong enough – due to fear – to do it. It’s how Chloe and Merrick deal that draws the reader’s respect.

As for the love scenes... Whew! You can feel the trust between Chloe and Merrick. They may not be a stable couple, but they always loved and respected each other. Ms. Rainey writes the acts of love in a poignant way that’s touching and heartfelt.

If you want a great read that will stay with you long after the novella closes, you want Taking Chloe. I give this novella 5 cherries.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dark Phoenix by Marly Mathews

Dark Phoenix by Marly Mathews
Publisher: New Concepts Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction (futuristic)
Length: Full (170 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by: Heather

Born with the magical soul of a Crimson Phoenix, Garrett Firestorm is a beacon of light in a dark universe. As an Immortal from the Hidden Realms of Magic, he and his starship fleet of freedom fighters roam the known galaxies fighting evil.

When he finds Alora Bishop in shackles and destined for the intergalactic slave trade market, he rescues her and brings her into his confidence, knowing that an unbreakable bond—a psychic chain for his kind, has been forged between the two of them, he sets out to win her heart. But Alora is a woman with a mysterious past, and the secrets hidden just might be their saving grace—or their total destruction.

Alora’s life was over – she'd been attacked, captured and sold as a slave. And then, she’s rescued by a mysterious stranger who claims she’s his mate.

Garrett is a legendary warrior, a mythical phoenix or firebird. Alora doesn’t believe in love at first sight. She’s grateful for the rescue, but is hardly prepared for him to take over her entire life. On Garrett’s next rescue mission, she meets Queen Aislynn, her consort Bryce and her children Merrick and Matilda. Alora becomes embroiled in aiding the deposed Aislynn reclaiming her kingdom. In doing so she discovers things about her past and her true nature that she never thought possible.

Aislynn is very strong for a secondary character, and nearly takes over the scenes she’s in. Her daughter Matilda is the same. At times Alora almost gets lost in the mix. The dialogue can be wordy at times – there are moments when this reader thought it read more like narrative with quotation marks that how people would actually talk. Matilda does not sound like a kid, or even a teenager--she talks like a mature adult.

Also, the editing could have been tighter. There are several words that are capitalized for no apparent reason and a few instances when the wrong variation of a word is used – ”reigns” instead of “reins”, as one example.

I liked that the villain is very dark – Dark Immortals to balance the Light. I love books that pit good vs. evil, and the darker the evil the lighter the good by contrast. I did wonder at the odd choice of having a gryphon on the cover of a book with firebirds as the primary characters and “Phoenix” in the title.

This was a fun science fiction, with a heroine that was fun to watch as she grew into her own, to become a power unto herself and more than a match for her mate. Alora and Garrett were an intriguing couple, and I wished them well when their tale was over. I would like to read other books set in their world.

Phantom Desires by Bianca D'Arc

Phantom Desires by Bianca D’Arc
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short (135 pages)
Other: M/F, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Holly

This time, the creature under the basement is real. And dead sexy.

Brotherhood of Blood, Book 3

Computer expert Carly is tired, burned out and ready to downgrade her hectic lifestyle to something simpler. Her solution—pull up stakes and move to an old farm house in the middle of Wyoming. Her new house is full of old-time charm, and it comes with an unexpected surprise. Dmitri Belakov.

Dmitri, a Master Vampire, had an agreement with the former owners of the house to let him live peacefully beneath it in his hidden lair. Now there’s a new owner, and he may have to risk revealing his presence to negotiate a new contract. He moves cautiously because if she won’t deal, he’ll have to kill her once she knows his secret. Carly’s mind is unusually hard to influence, but he makes inroads when she is asleep.

Their shared dreams are more erotic than he ever expected, firing a hunger within him to know her feel and taste in the flesh. But doing so risks far too much. Even if Carly can’t deny the attraction arcing between them, loving him will force her to make a choice. An eternity in darkness with him—or life in the sun without him.

This book has been previously published and has been substantially revised and expanded from its original release.

Warning: This book contains graphic language, explicit sex, very naughty dreamwalking and passionate neck biting.

Imagine, if you will, an old farmhouse in Wyoming, surrounded by fields and woods. Slightly dilapidated, in need of work and cleaning. Add to this a young woman, a computer expert who runs her own company, but is on the edge of burnout with the pressures of work and city living. Finally, toss in one Master Vampire, who, unknown to the woman, shares residency of the farmhouse through an ages old agreement with the family who owned the farm for generations, until the death of the last remaining member of that family. What you have here is the makings for a great reading experience.

Carly has come to Wyoming, to live in the old farmhouse she recently bought. Her computer business can be run long distance and she needed to get away from the intensity of the city. She wakes to the vision of a man sitting in her bedroom, watching her sleep. But in the light of day, she believes she imagined it or dreamed it. Two of her best friends recently found their true loves, and while Carly is happy for them, she feels a little left out. She spends her days either working on cleaning the old house, or working on programs at her computer. Her nights are spent in the arms of a mysterious dream lover, sensuous and erotic experiences that heat her nights. Dmitri is a Master vampire who has lived beneath the old farmhouse for generations, but with the death of the last of the family, he is worried about how to approach the new owner. He invades her dreams with his sensuous images, but finds Carly’s mind difficult to control. His original plan was to use his vampire powers to get her to agree, but after he meets her, he decides on another strategy. Either she will be his, or she will die. Great choices there.

Phantom Desires is the third of Bianca D’Arc’s Brotherhood of Blood books, and she is clearly in control of her vampire world. I like the way she has intertwined the stories, but still makes each book stand on its own merits.

Ms. D’Arc can make even the smallest gesture heat up the pages, and when Carly and Dmitri finally get serious, the heat is taken to new levels. There is a small bit of voyeurism, when the Alpha of the local wolf pack watches through the window during one of the encounters, but that is done as tastefully as a peek through the window can be. The wolves also provide a bit of comic relief, as well as showing Carly that there are all manner of things on her land. The twist near the end came out of nowhere, and I was surprised when it happened.

I love it when a writer is unpredictable, and that can certainly be said for Bianca D’Arc’s Brotherhood books, and I only have one complaint about Phantom Desires: I wanted it to keep on going. It is a great book for a summer Saturday night, and I sincerely enjoyed reading this one.

Grim Justin (Collection) by Fiona Jayde

Grim Justin (Collection) by Fiona Jayde
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (221 pgs Collection)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Magnolia

Traveling through space, GrimJustin is ship of hackers, fighters and lovers working the not quite legal side of interplanetary politics.
When Intel Agent Dinah Burns is captured obtaining a top-secret key sequence to a competitor’s MainFrame system, the man committed to extracting her intel is Jack Brenner. But Dinah won’t give up the key sequence. Even when Brenner uses his own special kind of orgasmic torture.

Halloway Duke is contracted to bring back a rogue pilot. Finding her isn’t a problem. Finding her to be Kara Dillon -- the lover who betrayed him into enemy hands -- is unpleasant. Finding he still wants her is not something he’s ready to deal with just now...

GenAlt -- superhuman, super strong. MedTech Lilian Oser leads a quiet life aboard GrimJustin until Trent O’Blak is called to Arius Prime and the old need for revenge burns through every cell of her now strong body. She will get to Arius Prime. She will take her revenge. And she will prove to Trent that she can handle anything the big GenAlt can dish out.

Old Earth Curse: May you live in interesting times...

Grim Justin is an interplanetary spaceship that tends to work the under side of interplanetary politics. In this collection we have DeBriefed, DisArmed, and DeTained and all three stories are set upon the Grim Justin.

In DeBriefed Agent Dinah Burns has a top-secret key sequence to a computer mainframe and the crew of the Grim Justin sets out to get it. After capturing Dinah, Jack Brenner is given the job of extracting the information. Dinah and Jack have a past and neither is exactly sure where the present meeting might lead them in the future.

In DisArmed, Halloway Duke is ordered to a rogue pilot. What he doesn’t know is that she’s Kara Dillon, the woman who betrayed him. And now she is near death with a body full of explosives in her blood. One little drop and boom! Duke is forced to save her life by giving her his own blood. Anything else she might want from him, well, he’s prepared to make her beg for it!

In DeTained Trent O’Blak is a GenAlt, one in a group of soldiers who were experimented on to make them bigger, stronger and more deadly, but it also shortens their lifespan. Trent has been hiding his identity while he’s been onboard the Grim Justin. Lilian Oser is a MedTech aboard the Grim Justin. Trent can’t keep his mind off of her, and barely manages to keep his hands to himself. When he’s called to rescue the scientist responsible for all his pain, he goes to AltusPrime, but Lilian is determined to follow and show Trent she can take anything he can dish out.

These three short stories combine to make up Grim Justin and I have to say that while as well as writing three interesting stories, (and I’m not a big sci-fi fan either), Fiona Jayde has also written three of the sexiest tales I’ve ever read. As I was reading DeBriefed I kept wishing that I should be so darn lucky as to be “tortured” like that! All of the heroes in this collection are the bad boys girls want to be in bed with. This is a definite “put it in your to be read in bed” pile!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tooth and Claw by Annmarie McKenna

Tooth and Claw by Annmarie McKenna
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (58 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Eglantine

Vampire: (noun) Bloodsucker, murderer, bedpost-notcher, God’s gift to women, fiend.

Seth Gramble is a prince among his people. Half vampire, half jaguar, he is one of a rare few who can shift into an animal form. Both his halves have found their mate in a female detective determined to lump all vampires in with the rogue who killed her former lover. He’s given her six months to see him differently. He’s done waiting.

Paxton Tenor wants nothing to do with a blood-sucking fiend, no matter how much he makes her body sing. Nothing good can come of a vampire. A case she’s working on partners her with Seth, and she’s forced to reconsider her hatred. He doesn’t seem at all like the rogue who sucked the life from her boyfriend in cold blood.

When Seth’s kitty comes out to play, Paxton realizes she’s been stupid to deny herself this man. And when he puts his life on the line to protect hers? All bets are off.

Warning: Let’s be realistic here people; there’s sex. Who doesn’t want to be coerced into bed by a sexy, God’s-gift-to-women vampire? And when they can be undressed and on you before you can blink—hello. Even if said vampire faints at the sight of his own blood…

Is there a god? The question has been pondered by greater minds than mine through the ages, and has nothing to do with the plot of Tooth and Claw. Yet I felt the answer must be 'yes' when I got my mittens on this excellent ebook after an unfortunate deluge of electronically published titles of such low quality that I despaired for the industry.

The screen almost spontaneously combusts from the word go. Ms McKenna certainly knows how to crank up the tension. And though the sex is M/F only, with hints of bondage and some anal play, it sizzles.

Characters are rounded, well written and real. My only niggle was that the heroine's bitchiness seemed a little too much eventually. This small bother was by no means enough to take away from my enjoyment of the story as a whole.

Editing, which is often a very irritating problem with ebooks, was flawless. I cannot understand why Samhain is able to maintain such high standards while such an overwhelming majority of electronic publishers can't do the same. Cover art is another issue that often makes me cringe, but the illustration you lay eyes on when you open this novella is pleasing on the eye.

All in all an exceptional book and a very good effort, both from author and editors. Five cherries given to this one without a moment's hesitation, and worth every cent of the cover price.

Sexual Healing for Three by Gracie C. McKeever

Sexual Healing for Three by Gracie C. McKeever
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand Publishing, Siren
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Escaping an abusive past, Donna Vega is determined never to be the victim of a man's whims again. She doesn't have the inclination or time for one man, much less two.

Wiccan and drowning survivor, Chance Novak, has inherited psychic gifts that he's wary of using. When he meets Donna at a domestic abuse seminar, Chance recognizes an injured soul that he'd like to heal. But can he get past Donna's armor to make her see him as more than just a colleague?

Russell Merrick has always put everyone's needs before his own, pursuing a vanilla ideal of wedded bliss. But now since his divorce can he abide sharing the one woman who could fulfill his every sexual fetish, when his younger brother is the other man?

More importantly, can Russ deflect the twisted attentions of a killer who's willing to go through Chance and Donna to get to him?

She’s not into relationships because they lead to heartbreak. He’s not into taking no for an answer, especially when it comes to the woman he loves and his brother. What happens when the three mix? Read Sexual Healing for Three and find out! You won’t be let down.

Ms. McKeever writes a gripping novel about coming to terms with who we are and what we want out of our lives. Her characters are unique and memorable. They stay with you once the book closes. Her scenes are rich with details, keeping the reader firmly entrenched in the story. The love scenes are graphic, but filled with passion. You know these people love each other and are afraid to upset the balance in their lives.

Donna is a great heroine. She knows what she wants and gets it, unless she’s got to deal with her fears. As the story goes, she grows and becomes a stronger woman. She proves the old adage that you can’t let your fears rule your life. The reader can connect with her journey.

Chance and Russ are fun heroes. The brothers know they want the same woman, but it’s the differences in their personalities that make them unique and loveable. Russ had the stereotypical suburban life, but he isn’t the typical suburbanite – readers can relate to his inner turmoil with who he is. In the same vein, Chance deals with his special powers, but he’s still uncomfortable with them. Who doesn’t have something about themselves that they aren’t totally happy with? These small fears make all three characters human. You want to see them succeed and succeed together.

If you want a steamy novel about learning how to be yourself, and how to accept what you can’t change, then Sexual Healing for Three is the novel for you. I give this work 4 ½ cherries.