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Friday, July 17, 2009

Branded as Trouble by Lorelei James

Branded as Trouble by Lorelei James
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Western
Length: Full Length (362 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Anthurium

It’s hard to trust the future when you’ve been branded by the past.

Rough Riders, Book 6

As a walking advertisement for the tattoo shop she’s set up in a small Wyoming town, India Ellison is well acquainted with preconceived notions. Despite the odd looks and off-color comments about her off-color hair, life is good. She’s clean and sober, dotes on her sister’s kids and, best of all, spends most of her free time with her best buddy, cowboy Colt McKay.

Reformed bad boy Colt never expected three years of sobriety to lead to three years of abstinence. Curbing his craving for booze and random sexual encounters is nothing compared to the ever-increasing craving for his hot-tempered, hot-bodied best friend, India. Too bad she’s his A.A. sponsor. Too bad she hasn’t a clue that Colt’s been head-over-bootheels in love with her from day one.

After an unexpected, steamy interlude, all India can think about is riding the sexy cowboy instead of her motorcycle, even when Colt is determined to show her a slower ride is worth the wait.

Or are they risking their friendship for a fling that could burn them both?

Warning: this romp features nekkidness the cowboy way—sex with boots on and with boots off, dirty sex against a dirty pickup truck, bare-assed sex on a bear skin rug, graphic language, unfortunate aim with a nail gun, and improvisational use of whips and whipped cream.

Branded as Trouble is the sixth book in Lorelei James' Rough Rider's series. This book does a spectacular job of showing that even those with addiction issues deserve and can love and be loved.

Both India and Colt have lived life on the wild side, they are on the recovery side of dealing with their addictions and are ready to begin living the lives they were meant to lead. They both have issues with guilt and trust and have a hard time believing that they deserve love and are lovable.

It is fun to experience their journey as their relationship moves from friendship to love. The story gives a very realistic edge to the struggle some have in having faith in others and trusting them with their heart. The push and pull and the snappy repertoire between the characters is very entertaining and the sex, when they get there is explosive.

Experiencing this developing relationship with the characters is some of the most fun I have had in reading a book in a long time. I highly recommend that if you enjoy hot sexy stories, that will also make you laugh, cry and fall in love with the characters that you give this book a try. The characters as well as the plot are well developed and well written, definitely worth your time.

Destined To Mate by C. A. Salo

Destined To Mate by C. A. Salo
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Scarlet Rose
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (95 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5
Review by Xeranthemum

A feline mated to a werewolf?

As a Chimera, half lioness/half human, Alexis Xanthis, has never released the beast within. Until she meets Lykan Alpha, Morgan LeVey. Being near him triggers a powerful need to mate, but is Morgan strong enough to dominate her feline side and still handle the human half with a gentle hand? And will the powers that be allow it?

Destined to Mate mixes a delicious combination of mythology, the paranormal and some hot loving sure to thrill a reader on many levels.

Alexis is a heroine with a deadly secret. She’s also adorable, spunky, and an amazing mix of charming innocence and old world knowledge. She is also the owner of a book store. Imagine that. What I really liked about her are her kick butt abilities which totally outshine the guys, much to their chagrin. All the guys except one, that is.

Morgan is an alpha wolf. And he’s the best part of being an alpha – not overbearing and irritatingly autocratic but protective, responsible and fair. He also has being dominant in a relationship down pat – it’s a very seductive and potent level. Even when Alexis throws him for a loop he still doesn’t get in a snit over it. He is so very well put together; I didn’t have to deal with any male ego trips. What a relief.

One of the things that I personally look for in a lycan/paranormal romance is if there is bite. I find biting in passion between the hero and heroine very erotic and Ms. Salo nailed it. But I am not going to tell you who was biting who, because that would be telling. There’s no way I want to diffuse those moments, which for me, were very sensual and satisfying.

The secondary characters were fun. Val was interesting and a good sounding board for Alexis. There’s a term for their relationship but no way am I writing that here. Rafe simply cracked me up. What a unique spin for a second-in-command. Usually they are about as strong as the alpha, but poor Rafe has a very human and irritating thing that happens to him. I could not help but giggle the times it happened. Alexis’ mom is a beaut. Wait until you meet her.

Destined to Mate is sure to entertain and excite, evoke interest and lust, and delivers a well written story with a character driven plot which delightfully showcases the pursuit of love in all its furry splendor.

Airborne by Belle Sloane

Airborne by Belle Sloane
Publisher: Carnal Passions
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (16 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

When Candice boards her flight to Hawaii, wrestling with her fear of flying, she doesn’t count on finding a hot mystery man sitting in her seat. He guarantees her he can make her flight worry free this time, with his mouth-watering distractions. Much to her delight, he more than proves himself a man of his word.

She’s afraid of flying. He’s determined to take her mind off her fears. Once they settle in the seats, everything’s Airborne.

Ms. Sloane writes an intriguing short story. Candice’s apprehension about flying is easy for many readers to identify with. The idea of joining the mile-high club with a stranger is exotic. The descriptions of the plane make you feel like you are right there with Candice and her mystery man. Their escapade is steamy, stimulation under a blanket and in the lavatory. You can feel the budding passion between them, even in the short period of time.

Although I would’ve liked to have seen more description of the characters and to know what happened after the story, this short is a great reading for a rainy afternoon. The ending is well written and perfect.

If you want a fun short story, then grab a copy of Airborne. I give this short 4 cherries.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Heat of the Knight by Scottie Barrett

The Heat of the Knight by Scottie Barrett
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (105 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/F/F, Multiple Partners, Voyeurism, Light BDSM
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Magnolia

Can a man be jealous…of himself?

Beckett de Saxby, Earl of Dareford, believes he is doing the right thing by blackmailing his childhood friend Christiana to live under his protection. Even though she can never be more to him than a servant, no matter what his heart wants. He is not the man she believes him to be, and his secrets are best kept hidden behind his titled fa├žade.

Christiana soon discovers that the lad she once adored has grown into a formidable stranger, a soul-hardened veteran of the Alexandrian Crusade with an appetite for debauchery and little else. She resolves to use his weakness by offering herself in exchange for freedom. But Beckett masters her body with a skill that makes leaving him seem a punishment—until his intended bride enters the picture.

When Christiana is abducted by masked horsemen, her rescuers are even more frightening to behold. They are led by a mysterious knight in blackened mail. With little thought of the consequences, Christiana rewards the dark knight’s gallantry.

Too late she realizes whose heart she’s broken.

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

Warning: Chivalry forsaken for fleshly pleasures. A knight, three obliging wenches, and an envious witness to the bed play. Spanking administered by a demanding lord. And a maiden who discovers that, indeed, size does matter.

Beckett de Saxby, earl of Dareford has been in love with Christiana since they were children, but she‘s the daughter of a servant, and worse, he caught Christiana bare-breasted with his cousin Colin and Beckett is not a man who easily forgives. When Christiana’s father dies and she’s left to fend for herself, Beckett brings her to the castle as a serving wench where he will be able to keep an eye on her.

Christiana has been in love with Beckett since she was a child and the only reason she had even considered being with his cousin, Colin, was because Colin convinced her the Earl of Dareford had no feelings for her and couldn’t marry below his station. But after being caught with Colin, Christiana hadn’t seen either of them since. Now she’s forced to be a servant in the castle and learns that Beckett does little besides go hunting with his men and ravish the maids when he returns: maids like Maud, who hates Christiana and does all sorts of wicked things to her. Insisting Christiana take a tray to the Earl’s room, Maud is making sure Christiana witnesses firsthand what goes on in the bedchamber.

Although mortified when she walks in on the Earl with two naked women in his bed, Christiana can’t tear her eyes away from the scene, even after Maud joins the affair. But when Beckett looks over his shoulder and sees Christiana watching them, Christiana runs from the room. Will these two ever find a way to be together and reveal their true feelings?

I loved this story. I am a sucker for knights in shining armor and just fell in love with the characters, the scenery, imagery and all the mishaps that befell Christiana. Though she was orphaned, rejected, kidnapped, berated and tricked, she never lost her determination and drive. Christiana is a strong woman who discovers her man’s secrets without revealing to him she knows. And she’s not above a little mischief herself. This is a wonderful story of love and friendship and shouldn’t be missed.

Beholding the Moon by Augusta Li and Eon De Beaumont

Beholding the Moon by Augusta Li and Eon De Beaumont
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Futuristic, Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (84 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, Multiple Partners
Rating: 2.5 Cherries
Review by Cactus

Taro Miyake, half-demon sorcerer and flamboyant international criminal (and star of Lockdown) is accustomed to getting exactly what he wants. What he wants is control of Shanghai's underworld and the love of the beautiful assassin, Qi Lu Bai. But with both the city and the man resistant to Taro’s desires, he’ll need use all of his wit, charm, and supernatural power to exert his control. Shanghai’s current crime lord and other, unpredictable forces threaten Taro’s life. What could be more fun?

If you like futuristic stories with a strong yaoi theme mixed in with gods, mobsters, assassins, and an innocent by-stander or two, this action packed story set in the steamy atmosphere of Shanghai may satisfy you. Li’s distinctive voice is clear in this novella that features a demi-god and his manipulations of various mortals to ultimately achieve everything he wants, in sex, power and love.

Taro Miyake is part-god, part-gangster as he rules various cities through his seemingly endless mystical powers while having sex with anyone who strikes his fancy. When he meets and has sex with legendary assassin Qi Lu-Bai, he falls instantly in love with the man and is determined that Lu return his affections. To this end, Miyake corrupts and destroys an innocent couple vacationing in Shanghai as a means to show Lu that love conquers all. Unfortunately all this book did was manage to show that true love can be manipulated and ultimately killed through the actions of a half god with no conscience.

As a romance or mystery story arc, the secondary plot simply tried to do too much. With almost no world building, the authors set their own rules, which seemed to change at their whim, leaving no restrictions on what new super power Miyake would have next. Furthermore, his corruption and use of Song and Dylan is frustrating, as is the author’s thinly veiled acceptance and resolution of their conflict. Dylan was perhaps the only character in the story that showed sparks of humanity, depth, and true emotion and even that was contradicted at the end.

The authors’ combined voice is very distinct with a vivid world that by turns glitters and stalks in its seedy underground and ritzy towers. The sex between various men is plentiful and hot making the book an easy read if you ignore the plot arc that was not well executed. The characters didn’t work for me either with the lack of depth, coming across as one-dimensional and unable to draw me into their plight and emotion.

For those that enjoy hot man on man sex and can ignore the motivations and thin plot surrounding them, the backdrop of Shanghai and the authors' vivid voices can make this enjoyable and unique. If nothing else, this book certainly brought to life the tourist and non-tourist aspects of a city not commonly used in erotic romance and I was happy to delve more deeply into that. Perhaps you will too.

Uncharted Territory by Ann Cory

Uncharted Territory by Ann Cory
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press Torrid
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (85 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Wisteria

A lavish vacation aboard a cruise ship turns into a nightmare for Charlotte Alderman. Thrown overboard, she swims to the nearest island, only to be held captive by a devastatingly handsome stranger with a sword. The last thing she needs is some ill-mannered pirate who cares only for gold and riches.

Captain Phineas Parr gets quite a surprise when he comes across a beautiful lass draped over the spot he plans to dig for buried treasure. Convinced she is a spy working for his archenemy, Fowler, he keeps a sharp eye on her. Though, to look at her is more pleasure than pain.

Together they explore more than the island and discover love is an uncharted territory in their lives. Too bad the one thing that stands in the way of their scorching good time is a murderous pirate with a score to settle.

When Charlotte finds herself washed up on a beach, she is sure things can’t get much worse. Her vacation is now ruined and the cruise ship she was on is nowhere in site. When a sword sinks into the sand near her hand she wonders if she would have been better off taking her chances in the open sea.

Without a doubt, Captain Phineas Parr is a very sexy pirate. The push and pull he feels toward the beautiful castaway is entertaining. The sexual tension and steamy loving definitely makes the story worthwhile to read. The plot was cute but had some problems. I was never really sure if the story was written as a contemporary time travel or if the pirates were modern day. If the entire story takes place in modern day, the pirates sure like to dress the part of their historical brothers. If it is a historical or a time travel, I would have liked that fact to have been explained a lot clearer.

Other than the issue with the setting, I enjoyed the story for what it was. Cute and sexy and a good way to spend the afternoon. The editing was clean and the writing was good. A worthwhile read and a cute story.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Slow Seduction by Marie Rochelle

Slow Seduction by Marie Rochelle
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (96K words)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Violet

Book Two of The Men of CCD!

From the moment he laid eyes on Jenisha Roman, Clinton Campbell wanted her. He knew he would stop at nothing to make the leggy, dark-skinned beauty his, and nobody - not family, not Jenisha's manipulative boss, not his delusional ex-girlfriend - would interfere.

Jenisha can't help her attraction to the dashing, successful Clinton. He's every bit as handsome as his brother, her best friend's husband. As much as she wants a relationship with Clinton, a dark cloud hangs over them, a tragic secret Jenisha thinks could change everything.

Little does Jenisha know, however, that her secrets aren't half as threatening as the dangerous end her boss is plotting for her...

Jenisha was left standing at the altar and thought she would never get over the heartache... until Clinton Campbell entered the picture. From the moment Clinton set eyes on Jenisha, he was a goner. She was all he could think about. No matter how many obstacles present themselves, Jenisha and Clinton vow to make it work. A boss that has an evil plan, a disgruntled co worker and a very catty exgirlfriend make matters a little hard to deal with. Jenisha has a secret that she's scared to tell Clinton and Clinton has a few of his own. Can a relationship for Jenisha and Clinton make it through it all?

I felt connected to Jenisha and Clinton's characters. They didn't really rush things and when they finally did decide to start a relationship, whew it was a hot one! The sexual tension between the two when they were in a room with other people, well, smoldering comes to mind. The plot line, fantastic! The action, outstanding! There were times during the first part of this story where I kept thinking "Why is Mark so angry with Jenisha?" Half way through the book, OH MY GOSH, you will be shocked at the brilliant twist in the story.

Although there were a few editing mistakes throughout the book, it in no way took away from the story. I adored Clinton's character. That he was a quick-tempered man with possessive issues which he tried desperately to rectify made him all the more lovable. He was quick to try to make things right though. Jenisha's character was a strong woman who spoke her mind and did it with class.

Ms. Rochelle has written a book that I am sure to read again. The writing style is very smooth and the characters well developed. The plot line was superbly written. Although this is a stand alone book, references to book 1, Loving True, are made throughout the book. Hayward is Clinton's brother and True is Jenisha's best friend. Reading the second book, Slow Seduction first has made me REALLY want to read the first book all that much more. I recommend this book to all who love erotic romance with a suspense twist. I have put all the other books in the series on my to be read ASAP list.

Hot Summer Fling by Toni Zuma

Hot Summer Fling by Toni Zuma
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (39 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Wisteria

An old, smoldering passion turns into a Hot Summer Fling

Home from college on summer break, Lily Rios is bored to tears after only a week. Just when she's ready to run back to school early, she reunites with Jack Turner, the one who got away.

Back in high school, Lily had let others convince her Jack wasn't the "right" kind of guy: no money, no status and no power. Now that she's grown up and calls her own shots, she discovers just how very right Jack can be -- he knows where her lust switch is, and knows how to use it.

Their hot, steamy trysts give her mind and body satisfaction she never imagined until startling accusations threaten to tear the lovers apart a second time.

Lily and Jack knew each other in school, and even though there was an attraction, Lily let her “friends” tell her he wasn’t the right kind of guy for her to date. Now she is all grown up and Jack is the kind of guy Lily wants to know, in more ways than one.

When I read a story like this one, it takes me back and makes me reflect on my younger days. High school was a hard time for most of us but when you realize as an adult that your friends back then weren’t really real friends it makes you take a good hard look at your life now. A good first person story can be hard to find, but this is one. I was very connected to the characters and felt the emotions Lily went through along the way. The realization that a boy you liked has turned into one hell of a man and that your “best friend” is willing to do anything to keep you away from him really hits a nerve, in a good way. Filled with WAY HOT loving, and female cattiness it was well rounded and very enjoyable.

The only thing that was a bit of a let down for me was the end. This story was not written as a "happily ever after" but a "happy for now". It makes me want to know what happened later and if Lily and Jack stayed together after the story was over. Still, a great read. My hats off to you, Ms Zuma, for a wonderful job done and here’s to many more in the future

Beauty’s Stone Beast 1 by Shiloh Darke

Beauty’s Stone Beast 1 by Shiloh Darke
Publisher: Mystic Moon Press,
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (30 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Xeranthemum

Rachel's all alone in the world. The most important people to her have died. But, she has inherited a castle in the south of France. A castle that is reputed to be a home to a different kind of creature. Gargoyles.

The story her aunt told her of them were just nonsense. There was no such creature that would come alive only at night to give wings to a woman's desires. That was just a flight of fancy. Wasn't it?

But on her first night there, she dreams of one of these great beasts. He comes to her in her dreams, leaving her breathless and doubtful come morning. And a part of her aches for more, even as she tries to convince herself that it is all, only a dream.

Beauty’s Stone Beast 1 is a delightfully compact romance filled with magic and hope.

The beginning of the story is a well done mix of telling to set up the story environment without being staid or plodding. It moves right along and puts a reader exactly where he/she needs to be to get the full effect of this book. That’s when the fun starts.

Rachel is thrust from a loving and secure family existence into the unknown upon the death of the two closest people in her world. She latches onto the good memories and returns to a place where she’d recovered once before. It was easy to believe in Rachel’s acceptance of the paranormal because of her past. The author manages to resist getting mired in unnecessary angst by virtue of her clever and well written set up early on. I was able to enjoy Rachel’s dreams and her ultimate act. What could have been straight kink ended up as exciting, brave and a bit of fun.

Arthmael is a cursed man, and like all good curses in all the best fairy tales, the love and strength of a woman’s true love is the key to release. He’s a character, though obviously tortured and in great need, that I think could have been developed just a tad more. But on the whole, the author concentrated on the aspects that were vital to the telling of the tale, so I can’t fault that. I guess I liked Arthmael and wanted to get into his head better.

The ultimate HEA requires a rather unusual method for breaking the curse and I blushed at the thought.

The author also threw in a secondary character curve that I thought was rather sweet. I know there is going to be another story coming up because of the others. Well, there simply has to be and I hope Ms. Darke explores the how’s and why’s of the grounds keeper. I think it’s a story in and of itself.

All in all, Beauty’s Stone Beast is enjoyable, light, romantic and endearing. A well told story for those days you want a glass of wine and a quick read sure to leave you upbeat and happy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Utopia X: Exploring Savage Places by K.Z. Snow

Utopia X: Exploring Savage Places by KZ Snow
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Futuristic, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (164 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Cactus

Sexual satisfaction is easy to find for angel-demon-human hybrids. But romantic fulfillment? Not so. Something’s gotta give for Tole and Zee, the two relationship-challenged members of the Coven of Three. Both must struggle with confounding matters of the heart while tackling another challenge on behalf of the Utopian Metroplex of Regenerie.

Ridley Barron, Tole’s vampire lover, has decided to leave Regenerie indefinitely. His lifestyle is stressful for Tole, and Ridley can no longer bear hurting the man he loves. If he’s away long enough, he reasons, Tole might just find another, more suitable partner.

Zee, too, has problems on the romance front. His sometimes lover has taken a shine to her new co-leader, Sebastian, and this rival's rapidly eclipsing Zee as the apple of her eye.

Meanwhile, disturbing reports have been circulating about the Pleasureplex of Xanandru, a hub of carnal indulgence far to the southwest of Regenerie. Bloodsport, sexual slavery, abuse of minors -- all are rumored to be taking place in this nouveau Sin City.

Zee volunteers to travel there as "just another anonymous perv" and snoop around. Sick of feeling like "the angelic dickless wonder," he figures he needs a break from his do-good routine. An unexpected and intriguing email also leads Ridley to the Pleasureplex...but for an entirely different reason.

What happens in Xanandru does not stay in Xanandru, and it will drastically change the lives of good and bad guys alike.

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

Returning to the futuristic world of Utopia X, this third installment delves more deeply into the relationships of two of the three leaders of Regenerie. Tole and his vampire lover are having some problems fulfilling their needs. Sexually they’re very compatible but emotionally and romantically they stumble. Neither wants to let the either go but with frustration mounting, Ridley makes some rash decisions. Zee is struggling with his own love life after being spurned by his lover, he accepts a foolhardy mission and finds new love in the process.

The book is divided into several parts. The first part deals with the relationship with Tole and Ridley, showing the mounting frustration and angst the two feel. Although neither man is much for emotional declarations they both struggle with Ridley’s need to feed and the affects it has on Tole’s mental and emotional well-being. The resolution to the problem is obvious and takes Ridley and Tole the entire length of the book to recognize and implement. This was frustrating because if the men had simply talked to one another, the tension, angst, and problems wouldn’t exist. Then of course there would be no real plot to the book so if you don’t mind reading about stubborn men who refuse to simply and intellectually discuss their problems, you may enjoy this storyline.

While Tole and Ridley are somewhat frustrating in their angst, their love is sweet, romantic and lovely to watch unfold. Ridley is not the brightest of vampires, but he tries hard and is always at the right place at the right time to help with those who unwittingly need such help. Two men who desperately need Ridley’s help are Zee and his new lover Sebastian. Zee’s idea that he can accomplish a spy mission to prove he’s a valued member of the ruling threesome backfires as he does exactly and predictably what everyone feared and embroils himself in a nasty scheme where he is solidly in the victim role. This was also frustrating as Zee proves why he is not that smart or cunning and is easily manipulated and led, all the reasons he set out to prove himself. Perhaps the reader is supposed to feel sorry for Zee and understand his poor choices, but I felt they were predictable and obvious. They simply proved he’s a rather weak character in my opinion.

So while there was definite frustration in the book, for well over half of the story the narration was interesting and engrossing. It was only once the group got to Xanandru that the characters fell apart and the manipulations of the author and story became obvious and frustrating. For fans of the series, you’ll definitely want to get this installment to see how each character ends up happy. The path is at times annoying and frustrating, but the ending was rather happy especially so for Tole and Ridley who fast became my favorite couple of the series. Their love story is worth reading the book for.

Born to Run by Jenna Byrnes

Born to Run by Jenna Byrnes
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (73 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Spanking
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Phlox

Book Two in the Phaze Rocks: Streets of Fire Series

Detective Sam Nielson has always been a casual, no strings type of guy. He loves New York City and the diversity of men it offers him. He also loves his job in South Bronx's forty-first precinct, affectionately nicknamed 'Fort Apache' for it's violent history.

Sam's caught off guard when handsome detective Bobby Rodriguez transfers to Fort Apache. The two are immediately thrown together on a high profile murder investigation. Their fast brewing passion makes concentrating on work difficult. It becomes even tougher when Sam discovers what type of relationship Bobby has in mind. He's a Dominant, looking for a submissive. It's a whole new world for Sam, who has to decide if that's the type of life he wants to live. But first he has to survive the murderer they're tracking, who's now after them.

Two hot police officers in lust is enough to attract any reader of M/M romance. That we have an interesting reversal here, with the younger man taking charge and the older one discovering his submissive side, only makes the proposition more interesting.

Sam sees himself as a jaded player, been there, done that, with an inability to sustain a relationship. He tells himself he likes it this way but the author gives us hints early on of a growing loneliness. He’s a smart-mouthed tough guy, never at a loss for a wisecrack, and yet when a man he finds truly attractive walks up to say hello, he can’t find a word to say. Since the story is told exclusively from Sam’s point of view (which I thought worked well for a short piece) we never get into Bobby’s mind but enough of a mixture of Alpha confidence and social uncertainty come through to make him a likeable character and a good match for Sam.

The interaction between these two is well done. I did blink a couple of times in surprise at how fast they fell into bed but it was with a male sort of directness which worked for Sam. The investigation side of the plot was a little thin – I’d hoped for a more interesting resolution with the build up of wealth and possible crime connections. The police work really acts as a backdrop to the real plot, though, that of Sam overcoming his fears and the inhibitions he didn’t even know he had for this steamy-hot, demanding yet patient Dom. I would have liked to have seen a little more from Sam’s past to explain his willing and swift acquiescence to being dominated. (A stronger lover who wrestled him to the bed and held him down, perhaps? Some moment when he found himself overwhelmed and liked it?)

The love scenes are melt-your-screen hot and the rather sweet way Bobby leads Sam from one thing to another is well worth the read. This is a smooth, enjoyable read, without a lot of bumps or hitches along the way and I’d be interested in seeing Jenna’s work in some longer pieces in the future.

Aries Rising by Syrell Starr

Aries Rising by Syrell Starr
Publisher: Carnal Passions, Champagne Books
Genre: Futuristic, Sci-fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (103 pgs)
Other: M/F, Voyeurism, Foot Fetish, Mild Bondage, Spanking
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Heather

Kidnapped by an alien, Sierra is whisked away on an adventure that brings her more pleasure than she ever dreamed possible.

Can true love flourish in a world where mail-order brides and arranged marriages are the norm, where people put their futures in the hands of professional matchmakers? The matchmaker is a man, which was an interesting twist right off the top. I had to wonder what kind of guy would want to marry someone he’s never met? What’s wrong with their society that he can’t meet women in a normal place/time?

Gondar is a hero in an exile not of his own making, guarding a piece of technology that can’t fall into the wrong hands. It’s a lonely existence. He’d give anything for a soul-mate to ease his loneliness. Sierra is a modern contemporary woman who’s traded her pride for her family – she’s posed for erotic photos for money to take care of her seriously ill brother’s medical expenses. She’s not proud of it, but she’d do it again. Family is everything. Imagine her shock at being carted off to marry a perfect stranger. What will happen to her brother with her gone?

The chemistry between Gondar and Sierra is explosive and believable. They’re both real people - both have pasts, broken dreams, and have learned to live with the choices they’ve made. They juggle their own desires against the needs of others. There’s Gondar’s society, warring over what to do with the technology he’s guarding. There’s a more personal villain Hartman who wants Sierra for himself and won’t take no for an answer.

This is a fun, sexy, quick read, with sympathetic likeable characters and snappy dialogue. I enjoyed it immensely, and would recommend it and other books by this author.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lord of Thunder by Linda Mooney

Lord of Thunder by Linda Mooney
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press Torrid
Genre: Paranormal, Historical
Length: Full Length (253 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Cherry Blossom

Annie Mayall was a young bride, brought to Montana in 1940 by her new husband to start their new life soon as he struck it rich in the promised silver mines. Abandoned for three long, desperate and lonely years, Annie was forced to survive by herself in the wilds of the mountains. Until one stormy night brought a severely wounded stranger to her tiny one-room cabin. A stranger both mystical and fascinating. A stranger who not only brought her happiness, but a kind of love she never knew existed.

A stranger who was not of this earth.

Linda Mooney brings into existence the rough Montana life of the mid-20th century. With undeniable skill and veracity, she weaves the historical background of WWII into the fabric of her story. The details of today's pioneering life on undeveloped land with no modern conveniences in a time when radio was commonplace elsewhere and telephones were not an oddity make for an unusual setting for this science-fiction tale that begins like a historical novel.

I will not reveal who is the stranger Annie Mayall rescues for fear of spoiling the readers' pleasure, but I must say their mutual discovery is well presented, and both the hero and heroine of the story are appealing characters. As are Annie's old neighbors.

Linda Mooney's descriptions of the Montana landscape, of its changes of seasons and its harsh weather, as well as its quiet, strong inhabitants, give the place a character of its own. The cabin where Annie lives become as warm and inviting for the reader as it is for the heroine herself, and we share Annie's pride in the work she does on the homestead. We admire her, and can easily take her for a role model.

What prevented me from giving the story a 4-book rating, however, was the sometimes awkward introduction of Annie's past. The lengthy flashbacks and descriptions of her life before she came to Montana could have been accomplished with more effect if they had been woven into the plot itself, rather than told to the reader as a chronicle of past times.

Similarly, certain repeated descriptions are a little heavy-handed, and distract from the flow of the story.

However, none of it prevented me from enjoying a fine read and a good story, intense suspense and joyful reunions. Lord of Thunder took me away into a world of imagination for my great reading pleasure.

Storm Howl by Vonna Harper

Storm Howl by Vonna Harper
Publisher: Loose ID LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (75 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Mistletoe

Isolated from the outside world by a powerful wilderness snowstorm, Jake Schneider and Sarah Hazelton have no choice but to rent rooms in a mountain lodge. Even before they make their fateful decision, carnal energy draws them together. This is no chance meeting between strangers who will go their separate ways once the road is cleared. Instead, each will emerge changed in ways neither expected, nor wanted.

They aren't alone. Watching their every move, touch, and embrace is a wolf pack unlike none other. Wolves haven't been seen in this part of the country for decades, yet neither Jake nor Sarah can deny that the predators exist. But what do the beasts want?

Sexual need can't be denied, and in a small, dark room the couple gives into their bodies' demands. They'll have sex, they tell themselves, mind-shattering sex. But neither is willing to reveal their fears and insecurities, their empty places. But the wolves have their own agenda.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Domination/submission, voyeurism.

Take the Oregon forest, a snowstorm and throw in an alpha male and an upset female and you have one hot story. Which is just what Storm Howl is.

As the alpha male, Jake does not disappoint, and as the female lead, Sarah can hold her own. Good to see a female trying to solve her own problems and not relying on the male to carry her through it all. When Jake and Sarah are thrown together by circumstances out of their control the tension begins. Stranded in a huge snowstorm both characters are drawn to each other and each cannot seem to stop the fantasies of having the other in such ways, as they never would have imagined otherwise.

Both Jake and Sarah are each dealing with their own problems and once they are put together they must learn how to deal with all that is thrown at them including their own sexual feelings toward each other. Will they finally act on those fantasies? Can they learn to trust one another enough to speak of the wolves that they each continue to see and hear and just what are those wolves to them?

As the story unfolds the reader gets to see the depth of each of the characters. You get to see why they make the decisions that they do. This book is a quick read with a good flow. It has a lot of sexual tension and is defiantly a hot read. Some of it may be a bit harsh or offensive for some readers.

If you do not enjoy a bit of dominance or control you may not want to read this book. There is not a lot but there may be some readers that take offense.
All in all this book had a good plot and was an entertaining read.

Vampire Nights by G.A. Hauser

Vampire Nights by G.A. Hauser
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (221 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/M, Multiple Partners
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Magnolia

Successful Boston based magazine editor Vivienne Starr never expected to find her old high-school flame, Roger "RJ" Bloodstock, at her 20 year high-school reunion. The handsome young man who had stolen her heart at seventeen vanished after graduation without a word of explanation, leaving her heartbroken and hesitant to ever become involved with another man again. But when RJ materializes at the affair, looking exactly as she remembered him twenty years ago, her life begins to spin out of control.

Meanwhile, charming, forty-three year old widower and father of two, Daniel Dillon, arrives at her office for an interview for the magazines advertising department. Instantly the two hit it off and are wildly attracted to each other and begin a passionate affair.

Knowing every time she meets up with RJ it makes her ill, Vivienne tries to resist his powerful charm, but her pity for him soon brings him closer to her as he continues to drain her of her blood and good health.

Daniel is at his wits end trying to keep all those around him safe from harm, doling out necklaces with crosses on them in some vain hope it will keep the demon away. But he soon finds out he is powerless to help Vivian and keep her safe, until one fateful night when a confrontation is inevitable.

Will Daniel manage to conquer RJ and save all his loved ones from the dangerous fiend, or will RJ claim his lost love, Vivienne, and bring back the connection he lost in his youth?

In a deadly game, it’s the Vampire who has all the advantages in the night.

What would you do if you went to your high school reunion and came face to face with the man who broke your heart by leaving town without a word? Vivienne Starr is about to find out that the years since high school and all the success in the world can’t mend a broken heart, and all it takes is one kiss to bring back all the old feelings.

RJ is just as handsome as he was in high school and now he’s determined to rekindle the romance between him and Viv, but her boyfriend, Dan, has other ideas.

In this somewhat complicated story of love and betrayal, the author uses a story we all know very well: young love lost and the one who got away, but she also gives it an ironic and fascinating twist by turning this love story into a new kind of vampire tale.

G.A. Hauser is one of the best M/M authors I’ve ever read and I have always enjoyed her past works. I enjoyed Vampire Nights and it’s twist on the vampire tale though I didn’t find it as riveting as some of her other books. For those who enjoy vamp stories and M/M liaisons as well as M/F romance, this is the book you’ve been waiting for.