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Friday, July 31, 2009

Finn by Angel Martinez

Finn by Angel Martinez
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (266 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Cactus

Sanity is relative and the world has room for more than one truth.

When Diego rescues a naked man from the rail of the Brooklyn Bridge, he just wants to get the poor man out of traffic and over to social services. He gets more than he bargained for when Finn turns out to be an ailing pooka, poisoned by the pollution of the city. To help him recover, Diego takes him north to New Brunswick where Finn inadvertently wakes an ancient, evil spirit, the wendigo.

While Diego and Finn struggle to find a way to destroy the wendigo before it can possess Diego or kill nearby innocents, Diego wrestles with his growing passion for Finn. Can they succeed in destroying the monster and in navigating a relationship between a modern man and a centuries-old fairy?

When a feisty pooka meets a big-hearted do-gooder, sparks literally fly between the magical Fae and the human in this delightful and fabulous story. Diego can’t resist taking home another lost cause when he finds Finn shivering and lost on the Brooklyn Bridge. From that moment, Diego is unwittingly attached to the man he saved and soon finds out Finn is actually a member of the Fae. An elusive pooka who is poisoned by the iron and steel surrounding the city, Diego eventually brings him to the woods to heal. Unfortunately they encounter another magical being who isn’t so happy to share the world with humans.

This paranormal story mixes folklore with modern reality to create a fresh, interesting, and completely absorbing tale. The premise actually sounds pretty wild but the deft handling and tight writing keep the story fast paced, entertaining, and engrossing. Instead of being corny and trite, the characters are intelligent and likeable. Although there were a few errors in the editing and writing that caught my eye, I was too engrossed in the story to care. The talented story telling wove a complex and intricate story with splashes of humor and whimsy to lighten the tension while developing a strong relationship and emotional connection.

Diego starts out a little too good to be true with his big heart, failed relationship and willingness to take in any and every lost cause he comes across. However, this is an essential aspect of his character that shows his strength rather than his weakness at first glance. He is firmly routed in reality and stubbornly refuses to believe in magic, while a part of his mind and soul yearn deeply for the existence of magic. Finn offers the most comic relief in the story as a fairy that has been asleep for over seven hundred years and can remember debates about the Ice Age. His fascination and confusion with the modern world comes across fresh and interesting with a delightful dose of outrageous humor and formal diction. His narration and dialogue are the funniest of the story and provide an ease of intensity in even the direst circumstances. Although the story was at times graphic, Finn’s comments and humor keep the scenes from being too dark and off putting, instead injecting a comic element.

Overall, I really loved reading this book. Beyond any problems or praise this was a purely entertaining story with great characters and an absorbing tale. The blending of paranormal and modern elements with folklore was deft and skillful leaving a story you almost wish could happen but perhaps much happier to just read about it. If you’re looking for a fabulous paranormal story about fairies that blends lore and modern reality, be sure to pick this up. You won’t want to miss it.

Mated to a Wolf by Marisa Chenery

Mated to a Wolf by Marisa Chenery
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy
Length: Short Story (50 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Finn York had a bad experience with werewolves. Marked emotionally and physically from the experience, his aversion causes him to fight the attraction he feels for the female werewolf he meets at Wulf’s Den. Yet her scent draws him with the irresistible power of a werewolf’s mating instinct.

Jocelyn works as a waitress at Wulf’s Den. She’d noticed Finn months before but the sudden changes in him confuse her. When she serves him drinks one night he growls and sniffs the air as if he can smell her arousal and Jocelyn’s confusion escalates. But her interest in Finn heightens and she plots a way to force him to overlook his disgust to claim her as his mate.

When a woman’s in love, she’ll stop at nothing to get her man. When he’s not sure he’s in love, he’d better watch out. An independent, determined woman will get her mate.

Want to know more? Read Mated to a Wolf and find out.

Ms. Chenery writes a unique take on the werewolf novella. Her characters are determined and willing to do what it takes to get what they want. Finn has a deep hatred of werewolves after an experiment went wrong. What he doesn’t know is that his hatred will be his undoing. Then there’s Jocelyn. She’ll be the end of him, if she has her way, but it’ll be a great way to go. She’s out to prove that a wolf isn’t all bad, especially when they are mates.

I liked the way Ms. Chenery interpreted that first bloom of love between two people. There’s a certain reluctance to be alone. With wolves, that need is the first flush of mating heat. Finn and Jocelyn can’t be apart, no matter how much he’s in denial of his feelings. I loved Jocelyn’s zeal. When she put her mind to capturing Finn, she stopped at nothing to convince him they belonged together. More women should show such determination.

The love scenes are rife with passion and written in such a fashion that the reader feels a part of the passion, not just a mere observer. Who knew you could have so much fun with a fresh baked batch of brownies? Very hot!

If you want a sexy paranormal read that’s nothing like any stories out there, then you want to read Mated to a Wolf. I give this novella 4 ½ cherries.

The Next Step by Mychael Black

The Next Step by Mychael Black
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (15 pgs)
Other: M/M, BDSM, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Cactus

Master Ian Vaughn and his sub Kale Daniels are back for more in this sequel to Onyx

Both men are happy together, playing and living like any other Dom and sub. For Kale, though, it goes much deeper than that. He's fallen in love with his Master, but he has no idea how Ian feels about him. When Ian books them a private playroom at a new club, Kale is thrilled to find out all his Master has in store. And Ian has a few surprises that Kale never expects to receive.

When his Master reveals a surprise, Kale is more than ready to take the next step with the man of his dreams. In this incredibly intense and provocative sequel to Onyx, Kale and Ian are ready to take their relationship another step further. The passion between the two is as deep as the emotional connection. Ian decides to have a little fun before surprising Kale with a symbol of their love and commitment.

Although this is a sequel, I haven’t read the first story introducing these men. This didn’t prevent me from understanding the story and being able to connect with the characters right away. The connection between Kale and Ian, both emotional and physical, is scorching hot and fairly leaps off the page. The transition between more formal scenes and casual time is flawless and shows the depth of the relationship between the two men. Their life is more than simply BDSM “games” but instead shows how two men with similar needs and a shared love connect and create a satisfying, deeply fulfilling life together.

This story is incredibly short and just a glimpse at these characters but leaves you wanting more. Kale’s blindness is handled deftly and is always included but never overwhelming. The erotic scenes revolve around medical fetish and are rather tame but have an inherent intensity that usually is seen in more hardcore activities. Even without reading how these men came to be together, their journey is interesting and engaging and I’m left wanting to read the prequel.

Overall for such a short story, this one is impressive for its intensity and instantly engaging characters. The fast pace will have you wanting to know more about the couple and hoping for future sequels. Readers who aren’t put off by BDSM relationships but also enjoy a mix of formal rules and the connection beyond, should enjoy this series. This is easily read as a stand-alone story but no doubt means more when read in order. I know I’ll be going back to read the first one and I recommend you do as well.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Knight Moves by Jamaica Layne

Knight Moves by Jamaica Layne
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (183 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, F/F/F, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Spanking
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Xeranthemum

Louise Jackson - ---a sexually frustrated, thirty-year-old toll collection supervisor for the New Jersey Turnpike - is bored out of her gourd at Medieval Worlds: Dinner and Tournament when she heads for the ladies' room. She soon encounters a gorgeous mystery knight in a bathroom stall that is actually a portal to another time and place - a castle in twelfth-century Europe, which is the knight's home. Louise is ecstatic - she believes she has found the incredible knight-in-shining-armor of her wildest fantasies. But the mystery knight is actually Lord Verdigris, who has kidnapped her from the 21st century so she can become a sex slave in his Hall of Harlots, where she will grant sexual favors to Lord Verdigris and the knights of his garrison for all eternity!

Determined to make the best of a bad situation, Louise settles into her new role as Lady Louisa of the Crossroads - by far the most popular and desirable of all the courtesans in Lord Verdigris's Hall of Harlots. Will she find a path back to her own century before the ruthless Lord Verdigris finds out and imprisons her forever? And will she find true love along the way?

Knight Moves is a mixture of extreme humor, rascally knights, a heroine who makes no apologies for liking what she does and a time traveling hoodlum to spice things up.

If ever there was a book written that showcases an author’s zany and cheeky sense of hilarity while at the same time making the tips of your ears burn from the heat, this book is in the running. Louise is the hapless but not entirely helpless damsel in distress, or undress as the case may be. She ends up in a place in past history whose resident benevolent dictator scours through time to find the perfect harlots for his hall. The crux of Louise’s dilemma is how to escape when there is no way to escape? The devious plans that she makes, the inventive solutions she introduces, and the giggle-worthy dialogue she engages in simply makes this a fast moving story to read.

Ms. Layne crams this book with an amazing array of ingenuity, sexual escapes that have you hot and laughing at the same time, and even a moral platitude thrown in for good measure. I can practically see the author grinning as she wrote scene after scene of adventures for Louise.

There are two heroes, one primary and one secondary. The secondary characters truly bring this story to life and the F/F/F scene takes no prisoners. I’m not sure what I expected but not the wild, determined and well written event it was. This was the first time I’ve ever read anything like this and it had me sitting back and thinking. It was fun!

Knight Moves is a must for readers who like light drama, a healthy dose of chuckles, an ice cube or two for the heat and a romance sure to survive beyond time.

Coming Together At Last, Volume 1 by Allessia Brio, ed.

Coming Together At Last by Alessia Brio, editor
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Anthology
Length: Full Length (310 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, F/F, M/M
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Cholla

Phaze, in partnership with editor Alessia Brio, is proud to announce Coming Together: At Last, a collection of interracial erotic fiction which celebrates the diversity of desire. With an introduction by NYT Bestselling Author L.A. Banks!

Volumes 1 and 2 feature stories by Bridget Midway, Saskia Walker, Seressia Glass, Aliyah Burke, Alessia Brio and Will Belegon, and many more!

All proceeds from the sale of this special anthology will benefit Amnesty International. Coming Together is erotic altruism at its finest!

Desire, passion, and love know no boundaries. Not color, race, sex or alien species. In Coming Together At Last Volume 1 all the boundaries are dropped and the world is free to love as it pleases. In the following pages, you are not just free, but encouraged to find your pleasure where you may.

The Colors of Us by Aurora Black starts this amazing anthology off with a seductive and sexy poem. With very few words and vivid imagery, she brings more heat in three stanzas than some authors can in an entire novel.

At First by Alessia Brio & Wil Belegon is a delightful story set in 1963. Vivian is a brazen and outspoken woman, much to Eduardo’s surprise. His more reserved upbringing leaves him at a total loss when dealing with her. However, their first meeting is a magical encounter that later explodes with heat. I loved how much of a ‘modern’ woman she was for the time period and Eddie’s innocence and old world charm were sweet.

Matilda’s Touch by Saskia Walker is a sweet and vivid memory of a first love. Sally is insecure and unwanted, sent to a boarding school to ease her mother’s guilt. Matilda is an otherworldly being and a temptation too strong to resist. This being my first female/female love story, I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of it.

In Changes by Cerise Noire we are whisked along through the beginning stages of Mike and Wes’ whirlwind relationship. From their first meeting online, to their first physical meeting and through their first real argument, they battle their doubts, revel in their happiness and set the sheets on fire. A very real and relatable story, I could honestly see myself in Sally.

Undercover Lovers by RaeLynn Blue and Shara Azod is the story of two police detectives working undercover and posing as lovers. Each attracted to the other, the cover soon becomes reality. But will it work? Both Lori and Juan are determined to make it so. A very enjoyable story with two endearing characters and one despicable bad guy.

Proud is the Dancer, Pride is the Dance by Lee Benoit is the story of Danny and Calyx. While Danny is a happy and free-spirited young man, donating his time to the GLBT community center, Calyx has a dark past he’s both trying to hide and overcome. Danny fears his lover’s past and yet believes that a whole lot of love and just a little push can bring him back to the present. A very well-written short in which you get so much story in a very few pages.

Francine’s Kid by Jeremy Edwards is a short and steamy story centering around the meeting of Teddy, a regular around the store and Patty, the newest employee. Amazingly hot and sensual for being so short.

In The Pleasure Healing by Andrea Jackson, Claire’s childhood friend, Kenda, is having surgery to repair a long-ago wrong done to her. While Kenda is in the hospital recouperating, Claire realizes she was just as damaged by that event as her friend was. With the help of Russell, she is able to heal her old wounds and find a new life. An amazing story of renewal and rebirth.

Tattoos by Sergio Ortiz is a powerful short poem. With vivid imagery and flowing words, you are swept up and settled just behind the narrator’s shoulder, observing all that she sees and feels.

If Only You Knew by Zoe Nichols is a story of breaking free. Free of society’s idea of right, of your own self doubts, and of an abusive relationship. Kit is a young college student stuck under the thumb of her abusive ex-girlfriend. With the help of a teacher, Andrea, she discovers there is more to herself than she knew. A very touching and emotional story that is all too common in this day and age.

Independence Day by Seressia Glass is a futuristic story of love beyond all boundaries. Despite being from different planets and living in a post-Civil War world, nothing is going to keep Kee and Ananda apart. Two very interesting characters in a very exciting world.

Refuge by Lisabet Sarai, set in a refugee camp in Thailand, introduces us to Nu, a peasant pressed into military service in order to support his widowed mother and younger brother. Through an encounter with a refugee of the camp, Prean, he soon discovers that there is more to life than money and honor. A timeless story, the kindness of one soldier touches a woman and changes her world.

Shot at Love by Yvette Hines is the story of Moni, a wild and reckless woman who never stays with a man for more than one night. Being a domestic goddess was never in her plans. Enter Dee Shelton. Could this one man change her mind about all she’s held true for so long? This is a touching story of a woman who has near-death experience that changes her entire outlook on the world, whether she’s aware of it or not. It’s an honest story, and a hopeful one.

Love Slave by Jax Cassidy is a steamy, sexy poem about love, lust, and submission. Skillfully twisting words into pictures, Jax Cassidy presents a brief scene in the life of a slave to love. Very well done.

Coming Together At Last Volume 1 is an amazing collection of stories covering ground so often left abandoned. Love truly knows no bounds and who’s to say that a couple should be determined by sex, race, age or planet of origin? A very forward-looking anthology that is very much needed in today’s world. Full of well-written and steamy stories, Coming Together At Last is a worthwhile read for anyone who is in love with falling in love against the odds.

Quench by E. Cameron Stacy

Quench by E. Cameron Stacy
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (95 Pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/F, Ménage
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Xeranthemum

At Quench Dating Services, you will hook up with a match who looks just like the celebrity of your dreams—guaranteed, no fee, no gimmicks.

They only ask that you give blood.

Assured that the blood donations benefit a good cause, Tammy Swift has the most sensual night of her life with her date, the glamorous Antonio--although he never reaches climax. Along with the other members, he also wears a ridiculous amount of cologne. Taunted by these curiosities, Tammy probes into the club to find that she’s quenching her lover’s desires in a different way.

Quench is a different take on the relationship between a human and a vampire. It’s not all roses and it’s not all angst and horror; it’s about taking too long to make a decision and sometimes it’s too late for a second chance.

Her name is Tammy and she’s a forgiving, adventurous and all around nice person. She has lines she won’t cross and yearnings go unfulfilled because of them. She’s pragmatic and sensual, clever and filled with a healthy sex drive. How many divorced women have an almost amicable yet irritating relationship with their ex?

I found the author’s use of Tammy’s ex as a vehicle for plot movement quite novel. As for the hero, well, he’s a mystery. He’s everything Tammy’s fantasized about and nothing she really wanted. These men in her life will provide Tammy with more than she bargained for.

I’m not much on self-gratification scenes but for readers who are, they’re well done and stimulating. I also think the ending made great use of Tammy’s inquisitive nature, the hero’s plight and the wonderful opportunity for second chances – even if they are a bit unconventional.

Quench condenses some very hot writing after a slow build-up in plot. I felt sympathy towards Tammy’s ex as well as the hero. I won’t name him because believe it or not, not knowing made the book that much more interesting. Sometimes not knowing is such a turn-on, and Quench delivers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Domme By Default by Tymber Dalton

Domme By Default by Tymber Dalton
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (65 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/M, Spanking, Voyeurism, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Anthurium

Kinky never looked so normal.

When a wife is faced with the question of what she is wiling to do for love, her answer is…anything. She sets aside her own inhibitions to fulfill her husband’s wildest fantasies.

But at what cost to her peace of mind?

Warning: erotic m/f BDSM sex and activities including anal play/sex/toys, a home-improvement challenged husband, a sarcastic wife, and a portrayal of the kinder, gentler side of BDSM..

This book shows a really sweet side of BDSM. It exposes the experience of a wife who loves her husband and wants to make him happy, and then finds out that he wants to be her submissive. She had never even considered the possibility of being a domme until her husband starts telling her what he wants. She reluctantly agrees to be his domme if that is what he really wants.

The emotion experienced by each of the partners as they explore their roles in this new relationship and learn together how to please each other is very heart warming as well as educational. It is very interesting to see how this couple explores their relationship and how it develops. Sometimes loving your partner means giving them what they need and want. This giving is not one sided; it goes both ways and this story shows the developing relationship between this husband and wife as they both explore their needs and wants and come to an understanding.

The sex is smoking hot, and the emotion is intense. As the story is presented in alternating his and hers points of view, the reader can feel like you really do understand their wants and motivations. If you have ever wanted to explore this lifestyle or want to understand a little bit of why it appeals to people then this is the book for you. It really helps you understand why some people like doing the things that they do.

Forbidden Island by Samantha Gentry

Forbidden Island by Samantha Gentry
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Scarlet Rose
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (49 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Where Murphy Abbott is concerned, Chantal Stevens can't stop asking herself...what if?

Chantal met the incredibly sexy industrialist when he gave the commencement speech at her college graduation. He was polite and charming, yet the promise of ecstasy in his eyes mesmerized her. The moment he shook her hand, she knew she wanted to know every way possible.

Now, ten years later, Chantal misrepresents herself to finagle an invitation to his isolated and very private Caribbean island in order to seduce him and finally discover the answer. One thing she failed to consider...Murphy might have a hidden agenda of his own.

Sometimes a chance encounter is all it takes to leave a lasting impression. Want to know more? Visit Forbidden Island and learn more.

Ms. Gentry writes an interesting short story, sizzling with steamy sex scenes and a budding passion Chantal and Murphy can’t deny. I loved the descriptions of the island; you felt like you were really there with them.

I liked that Chantal and Murphy can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. The adoration bubbled from each page. Chantal, though not totally honest, is devoted to finding out whether a relationship with Murphy will be as smoldering as she suspects. I liked that she was so blunt and that he wasn’t afraid to go exploring with her.

The reader can identify with her need to find out whether the attraction is fleeting or something that could last a lifetime. The reader can also feel for Chantal. She wants to know what could’ve been and does her best to set that into motion.

Although I felt the physical relationship started a bit fast, once Chantal and Murphy got together, they really did burn up the sheets, the pages, and the story! You could feel the trust between these two people, even so early in the tryst.

If you want a sexy read for a cool summer night, then I’d suggest Forbidden Island. I give this steamy short story 4 ½ cherries.

Dark Desires of the Druids 1: Murder and Magick by Isabel Roman

Dark Desires of the Druids 1: Murder and Magick by Isabel Roman
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (235 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Holly

Losing her virginity can mean ruin for a Victorian lady. For Raven Drake, it means freedom to explore her sexuality. As a magicker in hiding, Raven subscribes to her culture’s less prudish philosophy. She wants to experience every erotic sensation imaginable.

Malcolm, Lord Preston, desires her from the moment he sees her, and doesn’t allow society’s rules to stand in his way. More than happy to introduce Raven to the pleasures of sex, he doesn’t expect to fall in love with her.

Their tryst is a welcome distraction from witch hunters and political maneuverings. But can it overcome the weight of another man’s ring on her finger?

Full of mystery, murder, and magick, The Dark Desires of the Druids series will leave you breathless!

Raven Drake understands her destiny. She just doesn’t particularly care for it. Pledged to marry Gareth Moore in order to unite two of the most powerful remaining lines of Druidic blood and thus strengthen the legacy of magick, she has nonetheless embarked on a passionate and very unwise affair with Malcolm Lord Preston. The time is Victorian England, and “magickers” are being hunted and killed. Sir John Corbin is determined to wipe out those who he believes are evil practitioners of magick and will stop at nothing in order to achieve his goals. He stages a “revelation” on the grounds of Harrington manor, murdering a poor vagrant in the name of his cause, in front of Raven and the other guests, trying to stop the progress of Lord Harrington, Earl of Granville, who is supporting a relaxation of the persecution of magickers. Corbin leads the Hunters, and is determined to destroy anything that gets in his way. His biggest weapon is Beckett, a hunter, who also practices magick.

Raven has given her virginity to Malcolm, and they manage to create some of the hottest sex in some very interesting places. But both agree this is just a brief affair, as Raven is engaged to Gareth, and it is her duty to marry him. Neither of them counts on falling in love, and of course, having to hide her magickal side from all except family and friends is hard. Once Gareth arrives, things become even more complicated. When Corbin, through his henchman Beckett, orchestrates the death of Lord and Lady Granville, and then attempts to kill Raven and the rest of them in a train wreck, everything comes to a head. Does Raven marry Gareth, does Beckett get his just reward, and will there be a happily ever after for anyone? Check out Dark Desires of the Druids 1: Murder and Magick to find out.

Isabel Roman has written a very strong murder mystery. Although this book starts off slowly, the passion builds and this became a very interesting read. The chemistry, and the sex, between Raven and Malcolm is beyond hot, and when Gareth makes his presence known, Raven’s decision to end the affair seems likely. But there are two terrific twists thrown at you, the reader, that make this a much more compelling story than just a good murder story with sex and magick thrown in. The characters are richly drawn, with depth and feeling, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series to see what happens to the characters who were the “supporting players” in this book. My only complaint with it is that I have to keep on reading to find out if Corbin gets his due, and how.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wanton Wager by Morgan Ashbury

Wanton Wager by Morgan Ashbury
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand, Inc
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (199 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Spanking
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by: Xeranthemum

James and Jonathan Keller are identical twins who've always shared everything--clothing, a strawberry allergy, and the family businesses. They're considered to be the area's most eligible bachelors and plan on staying bachelors, too. If there's one thing they don't want it's a pair of women coming between them. "It's just a damn shame," James once mused, "that we couldn't just share a wife, too."

Enter Tabitha Lambert, a no-nonsense agent for the Bureau of Land Management. Transplanted from DC after her divorce, she's sent by her new boss to talk to the owners of the Farenough Ranch about wild horses. James and Jonathan are instantly attracted to the blonde haired blue-eyed beauty. They know the lovely Ms. Lambert could be the woman for them. All they have to do is figure out a way to get her to drop her defenses--and her panties--and throw her lot in with them.

When they discover she has a weakness for gambling, they lure her into making the bet of a lifetime. And they do their best to ensure that everyone comes out a winner--despite one ex-husband, one ambitious casino manager, and an enemy disguised as a friend.

Wanton Wager lives up to its name by sharing with us a very hot tale of cowboy hijinks in an unconventional relationship. The chips are piling up and the stakes are high.

Tabitha is the heroine. She’s smart, she’s got a mind of her own and this story shows her coming to the realization that she didn’t know herself at all. Even her fantasies were tame and unimaginative, that is until she got to the ranch. Not only did Tabitha blush, but I did as well.

It starts off rather fast, as these stories go. If you enjoy a lot of adventurous sex-capades then Wanton Wager is going to be by your bedside table for quite some time. It covers a lot of ground, literally. I have a few reservations on the viability of self-induced pleasure scenes to forward plot and conflict, but I’ll admit this author knows her way around descriptions and showing.

James and Jonathan are twin brothers and are true heroes in this story. The author does an admirable job of writing a scenario that for some, would find hard to accept. Ms. Ashbury spent considerable and well spent time coaching the reader into believing this would work, that the brothers are really that close and the bond that embraces each could extend to another, if that person was right. It was actually really sweet, when it wasn’t being absolutely scorching.

The most humorous elements I found are the antagonists – the bad guys. They are completely different people who choose the exact same goal for mayhem and chaos yet come at it from three totally different angles and expectations of gain. Truth and justice will eventually prevail but I found the process hilarious and totally made this story worthwhile.

Wanton Wager has a lot of erotic moments to satisfy your needs, an interesting trio of badness and humor to help round out a romance that is as decadently sweet as it is unusual. And when I say ‘sweet’, I mean the love that is shown between them, the connection. For the rest, you are going to need oven mitts.


Sanctuary Lost by Moira Rogers

Sanctuary Lost by Moira Rogers
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Short (126 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by: Cherry Blossom

She’s ready to fight at his side. He’s fighting for the strength to let her go.

Red Rock Pass, Book 2

If there’s one thing that Brynn Adler hates, it’s feeling helpless and vulnerable in unfamiliar territory. Three weeks ago, life tossed her into just such a world. A world of werewolves she never knew existed—until she found out her sister was one of them.

The pack seems determined to hurry her back to the normal world of humans. But after everything she’s witnessed, she’s not sure she wants to go—especially if it means leaving not only her sister behind, but the one man who makes her forget her life is falling apart.

Now all she has to do is convince him to agree to a plan to force the pack to let her stay.

Joe Mitchell has been battling his protective instincts since he rescued Brynn from her kidnapper. Getting involved with her is a bad idea for a lot of reasons. She’s on shaky emotional ground, and a supernatural war is no place for a human woman. He’s not about to let her make a hasty decision, one that will only bring her pain and regret.

Now all he has to do is let her go.

Warning: This book contains violence, a war between werewolf packs, hot, primal sex and sexual power games with a badass ex-Special Forces alpha who will do anything to keep his lover safe.

Moira Rogers has written the definition of the alpha male with the werewolves of Red Rock Pass. The author paints with consummate skill a complex world where humans and shape-shifters interact and coexist, where each knows the rules of the other and how to follow them in order to live in peace.

However, existence is precarious for the fragile humans who find themselves involved in the politics of werewolf packs. However powerful and protective, however determined to adhere to their own rules, the wolves are not immune to basic weaknesses: pride, greed, insanity. And when a werewolf breaks the bounds of reason, there is very little that can stop him. Especially if he's a rogue alpha.

In Sanctuary Lost, the reader will find a classic romance, a love story between two striking characters whose very nature should keep them apart. It is also their nature that pulls them together, and it is their nature, in the end, that could spell their doom. And death, in the world of Sanctuary Lost, isn't always the worse fate.

Sanctuary Lost deserves the highest praise for the reading pleasure its storyteller has given this reader. The plot moves fast, the suspense only eases up enough to let the characters—and the reader—breathe, the twists and turns are unexpected and yet could be foreseen, and the characters themselves are so vivid you might find yourself looking for them around the corner. In addition, the writing is superb, it takes you running with the wolves at breakneck speed through the dense forest, or you may lose your breath along with human Brynn. You will find yourself looking for other Moira Rogers books.

Banished Hero by Anita Philmar

Banished Hero by Anita Philmar
Publisher:The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy
Length: Short (120 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: Four Cherries
Review by Xeranthemum

With no memory of her past, Faye Lynn Berton clings to a father who curses her ability to shape-shift, then uses her special skill to scam local villagers. The only freedom she knows comes as she soars through the sky in falcon form. A chance meeting with another changling turns her world upside down. Beyond satisfying the powerful sexual cravings that follow transformation, he reveals a surprising dimension of sex between their kind…one to unlock the secrets of her soul.

Havyn Westmore has questions…Faye Lynn holds the answers. Determined to unravel her secrets, he strives to gain her freedom and trust. Teaching her the finer techniques of transformation keeps her close while sex strengthens their bond. But on the trail of discovery, Havyn must confront his own past. Accused of a heinous crime, he was banned from his homeland. Now, he must choose between returning to face certain execution—or robbing Faye Lynn of her birthright and a life in Paradise.

Banished Hero is a fantasy filled medieval world that is a cross between Cinderella and one of my favorite movies, Ladyhawke.

Faye Lynn is the starved and overworked heroine whose self esteem, confidence and hope for a happy future has been ground into the muck like the dirt roads she’s forced to travel. Inside her however, burns a flame, a yearning to rebel against the hand life had dealt her. How does a woman in olden times change her fate? Find a champion. Even when she doesn’t want one or can’t trust he’s for real.

Havyn is a tarnished, exiled and rough kind of man who accepts who and what he is. Not to say he doesn’t have regrets; he surely does. Despite the crushing blow Havyn has weathered, he still has the stuff that heroes are made of, that inner core that despite himself comes to the surface when he doesn’t want it to. What would make a man settled in his ways shake up the pattern of his life? A mysterious damsel who shows both vulnerability and strength, and has the talent to make his libido do the cha-cha and his tail wag, that’s who.

The secondary characters were well placed to set the scene and tone of environment. The dialogue was well developed and stoked the heat levels between Havyn and Faye Lynn. The conclusion of the mystery seemed a tad too easy but the tease for more is an effective hook. At this point I wonder -- if life was this hard for Faye Lynn, what happened to the others? Who will be their champions? I connected enough with the heroine in this story to want to know.

Banished Hero has a lot going for it, enough to recommend it as a wonderful way to spend a summer day. Although I should warn you, sit next to the A/C for the fun parts.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Last Call Europe: Irish Crème by Leila Brown

Last Call Europe: Irish Crème by Leila Brown
Publisher: Changeling Press
Length: Short (34 pages)
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, holiday
Other: M/F/M, Ménage, Bondage
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Holly

Ciarran, an Irish traditional witch, has had her luck stolen by a vindictive leprechaun. Without her luck, everyday life has become a trial. And her spells are more like mis-spells. There's only one thing to do. Go to the Last Call Bar and order up the right drink.
Irish Crème: Only the extremely lucky need apply. A double!

Decllan and Niall came to Last Call to relax on the one night a year they get together. Neither of them expected they'd end up spending the night with an out-of-luck witch who needs their help. Luckily they're up for the job.

Ciarran is an Irish traditional witch...well traditional except that her magic has been stolen. She refused to marry Keefe O’Connor, a leprechaun from her hometown, so he stole her magic.

In order to try and get her magic back, she and her sister travel to London on St. Patrick’s Day, to a bar named Last Call. It is said that leprechauns gather there on that one day and she hopes that if she has sex with one of them, she can get her magic back without marrying Keefe. Unfortunately, Ciarran doesn’t understand the process, and doesn’t realize when she walks up to the bar and places her order, just what she is ordering. When she tells the bartender to give her an Irish Crème, and make it a double, her sister informs her that she just requested sex for the night with two leprechauns. And to make matters worse the bar is packed with leprechauns of all sizes, and they all heard the request.

Decllan and Niall and two extremely hot leprechauns, friends who get together once a year at Last Call to catch up on things. When Decllan realizes what has happened, he decides that he and Niall will be the ones to join Ciarran for the night. As Ciarran’s sister starts to screen the candidates, Decllan takes matters, and Ciarran, into his own hands and just walks off with her.

I loved this story. Leila Brown has made Ciarran a totally luckless witch, one whose magic is not only gone, but any magic she does have goes horribly wrong. The misadventures that occur on the way to solving her problem are hot and hilarious. Anything that can go wrong does, but Ms Brown does it with such humor that I laughed right along with each and every mishap. And the sex is way above hot, with the attention of two hunks focused on this witch. Possibly the only good luck for Ciarran was meeting these two.

This is a wonderful short read, and would be especially fun to read at St. Patrick’s Day. Does Ciarran get her magic back? Read this tale and find out.