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Friday, August 28, 2009

Dream Machine by Jayne Rylon

Dream Machine by Jayne Rylon
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (191 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Mild Spanking, Light BDSM, Voyeurism, Anal Sex
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Gillyflower

The best dreams are made of naughty and spice.

Rebecca Williams is about to achieve her goal of graduating from a prestigious university and winning a coveted spot in her mentor’s cutting-edge psychology practice. She just needs one more qualification: sexual experience. She never dreamed it would come at the hands of the man she’s admired and wanted for six years. Dr. Kurt Foster.

Kurt, a brilliant psychologist in the field of sexual therapy, is a scientist to the core. Attraction and lust are nothing more than chemical reactions, in his clinical opinion. Love? It’s just a figment of the imagination born of nature’s directives. He’s on the brink of proving it with a new machine that uncovers latent desires.

In short order, Becca’s forbidden lust for her boss is exposed. As Kurt continues to enlighten her on the darker facets of her sexuality, the student unexpectedly becomes the teacher.

And suddenly Kurt is confronted with the irrefutable proof that love is so much more than a societal construction.

Warning: This book is only suitable for readers who are turned on by hot doctors engaging in sexual experiments, bondage, ménage a trois, exhibitionism, suspension, anal sex and other deviant behavior using mechanical stimulation devices they’ve invented to make your wildest dreams come true.

Problem? A repressed sex therapist. Solution? Lots and lots of hands-on training.

Drs. Kurt Foster and Rebecca Williams are well drawn, likeable and sympathetic characters, each of whom has overcome past struggles to succeed professionally. Can the Dream Machine help them find the same success personally?

No quickie here, Ms. Rylon has written a long, delightfully complex story with the plot threads seamlessly woven to move the story along and keep the reader eager to read the next page. The betrayal of a close colleague sets the stage for the initiation of a scientific experiment that challenges the heart and titillates the senses.

The interaction between Kurt and Becca was delightful, as their relationship evolved from that of student-teacher to one of equals. Becca was a strong, intelligent, hard-working woman used to sacrifice and self-discipline. Her sexual awakening was like the unfolding petals of a well-tended flower; well-tended, that is, by the charismatic, sexy, no-nonsense scientist, Kurt. Recognizing her submissive tendencies did nothing to compromise Becca’s integrity, and led to fun, feisty sparring between Becca and Kurt.

Kurt, who does not believe love, is more than a chemical reaction, likewise benefits from careful nurturing he did not know he needed. These two embark on a journey accompanied by a lot of scorching heat that was integral to the story, to the relationship between the characters, and to their respective journeys of self-discovery. Kurt’s dominating personality had me panting right along with Becca, and his lab – a dominant’s perfect playroom -- was a terrific setting for lots of *hawt*, sweet, tear-your-hair-out passion.

I loved everything about this story and highly recommend it, with the exception of the setting, which felt somewhat contrived. Willing though I was, I could not suspend sufficient disbelief to accept that a research university would permit such a heavy-handed and lascivious board of directors to behave as Ms. Rylon would have us believe. The regular intrusion of this “no way” reaction was the only detraction from an otherwise steamy and charming plot, and is the only thing keeping this reviewer from finding this a 5-book read. The notion of the “experiment” might have worked better in a different context – perhaps aliens studying humans – than with a modern professor and female graduate student.

Dr. Luke Malone, the only other character with a meaningful role in this story, was attractive and likeable, and I hope we get to see his story someday. Dream Machine kept me reading late into the night and Ms. Rylon is now an autobuy for me. If you like hot sex, handsome men and feisty heroines, Dream Machine is the book for you!

Between Love and Lust by Nikko Lee

Between Love and Lust by Nikko Lee
Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (229 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, F/F, Multiple Partners, Spanking, Voyeurism, Forced Seduction
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Phlox

All vampires hunger for blood, but for Mika the pleasures of the flesh are as nourishing as blood. Since the start of her unlife, she has indulged her need for carnal satiation. After the death of her mater-sire, she began to comprehend the complexities of the political struggles embroiling the clans of Haven, and now that knowledge fascinates her. Her pater-sire introduces her to a world of intrigue, where information is as valuable as blood. Mika’s particular ability to seduce and enchant allows her to assist her pater-sire in uncovering the perpetrators of the assassination of a clan leader. While deep with the slums controlled by Clan Corbius, Mika meets a handsome and dangerous exile who is as renowned for his fighting skills as his ability to seduce. Hail McMahon is as sexy as he is unpredictable, and with his aid, Mika is able to escape from the territory of Clan Corbius after a mysterious attack by a mob of crazed vampires.

A good vampire tale has always struck me as more of a fantasy novel than a paranormal since half the enjoyment lies in the world and mythology building behind the story. This story does not disappoint in that regard, offering a well-crafted vision of vampire genesis and social structure, of demonic bloodlines and a thirteen clan structure with biblical resonance.

Unfortunately, all the explanations get the story off to a rather slow start. While the reader wants to know about these things, it might have been better to pepper some of the exposition into the story here and there, into dialogue and interaction. Too many passages of information and explanation made the novel a little difficult to stick with at times, bogging down the flow of the narrative. It also took away from the attachment one needs to feel for the characters, keeping the reader at arms’ length. I had trouble mustering emotional involvement until perhaps halfway through the book. Issues with the editing of dialogue only added to the distance. I’m fully prepared for more formal diction in my vampires but formality often slid into stiffness and even grammatical pitfalls. (e.g. this little passage here: Erik muttered through bared teeth. “However repugnant your methods are, my leader has saw fit to grant your pater-sire, and by extension you, Clan Lucienna's protection.”)

Once it gets rolling, there is a good, core story here and the characters, through their actions, get a chance to show who they are. I will confess a rather stronger attachment to the duty and honor bound Erik than the roguish Hail, whom I suspect I was supposed to like more, but they acted as foils for each other and provided an extra edge of conflict for our heroine.

While it had its issues, the novel is worth the read for the carefully constructed world alone and the battle scenes are great fun. The ending felt a little rushed…but wait, there’s a sequel, which explains the loose ends. I’ll be watching, ready to pounce on the next installment.

Carl’s Story by Kissa Starling

Carl’s Story by Kissa Starling
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Fern

A poor body image and public play at the Dungeon don't mix so what's a submissive to do?

Sylvie and Carl used to be prominent play partners at the dungeon. Fast forward to three kids later and Sylvie is ashamed of her once perfect body. Carl understands that restoring her self confidence is his responsibility but he's not sure how to do it. When her body issues affect their marriage he knows that it's time for drastic action. An upcoming birthday provides him not only with the perfect time but the perfect solution to their problems as well...

Life after children changes every facet of life – including the sexual aspect. As a Mother, I was excited to read Carl’s Story, a tale of a husband and wife that enjoy a steamy BDSM lifestyle until body issues and low self esteem come front and center. It’s something I think any woman, Mother or not, can relate to. Time is a cruel force of nature, and all people–both men and women alike–must succumb to her sooner or later. It’s a matter of finding comfort in your own skin and worth in your own image.

The story moves quickly and has tons of hot pages along the way. You’ll get your BDSM fix, a nice strip tease, and a whole lot more along the way. My problem with the material is that I couldn’t seem to get in touch with the characters. We know what motivates and inhibits them, but that connection and spark I kept waiting for never happened. Even still, this is something that can and will be enjoyed by many.

Carl’s story is a very fast paced and enjoyable read.

Speed Dating by Sophia Titheniel

Speed Dating by Sophia Titheniel
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (45 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Cactus

Welcome to Damon's, the hottest club in town -- the must-go place for every single gay Elf (or Human) around.

Alyan's life has gone down the tubes. After a painful breakup with his long-time lover and boss, he's shut himself off, trying to mend his broken heart. His sister, however, has other plans. Meredith's not willing to let Alyan wallow in self-pity any longer. Deaf to his protests, she drags him to Damon's big Friday night event -- speed dating.

Alyan's trying to play along, but he's really not interested in a one-night fling. No matter how many years -- or lovers -- have passed, something always brings him back to Damon's. Not something. Someone. The man who's everything Alyan is not -- confident, charming and charismatic. What Alyan truly wants is the owner of the club, Damon himself. But he'd better get a move on, before he ends up with a Troll.

When a century’s old unrequited crush between elves finally sparks, these two stop at nothing to fulfill their fantasies. Alyan is finally back in the dating scene after a painful breakup, forced into trying out speed dating at a popular bar. Unfortunately his age old crush doesn’t seem to be biting so Alyan takes a chance on a good looking one night stand. When he realizes the next morning no one but Damon will do, Alyan finally approaches the man to explosive results.

This new series from the author has some of her trademark style while introducing a new cast of characters and a new setting. The short story (45 pages) hinges too much on the hot, dynamic sex between men and not enough on the connection and characterization. In fact, the story has very little depth and substance beyond the hot sex – which is wonderfully rough, masculine, and erotic. The story is loosely about Alyan and Damon finally getting together after a dance of long distance flirting for several decades. However, there is no background beyond that statement and neither man have any internal musings to help fill in the gaps of their shared history. The men ultimately are superficial and sexy, making this a fun guilty pleasure reading but still leaves you wanting more.

The sex scenes are extended and fill the majority of the pages, although some of the acrobatics are impossible and the story failed to tell how the men got from one position to the next sometimes. Similarly there is little to no world building beyond the statement that elves and human mingle in this new world. Unfortunately this solitary fact is not enough to create an entirely new world with fantasy beings. I wanted more depth from the world building to the characters to the main relationship and connection. Although the men end on an artificially happy note, I didn’t believe their professions of love – which seemed forced and automatic, given their lack of conversation.

Overall, this is a guilty indulgence for fans of the author who are looking for some hot, rough sex and not much story. I certainly enjoyed the erotica scenes as they made up the majority of the book and hope that future sequels will have more plot and depth to the characters and story and less gratuitous sex scenes, even if they are hot. There is a hanging ending and numerous loose ends such as characters and situations yet to be resolved so be sure to get this first book. Take a chance and pick up this story for fun and let’s hope the next has more meat to it (other than just the men).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Desire To Die For by Jessica Lee

Desire To Die For by Jessica Lee
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (275 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Multiple Partners
Rating: Best Book
Review by Fern

Kenric St. James wants revenge. Three hundred years ago, an ancient, female vampire turned him against his will and killed the woman he loved. He's spent more than a century building an Enclave of warrior vampires who have sworn their allegiance to defend humanity and to eliminate the ancient vampire determined to destroy them all. After two centuries of denying his body's needs to gain strength, he's poised to take his vengeance when he meets a new love, who he burns to claim as his own. But giving her his love will surely mean her death.

Emily Ross is a nurse struggling to start a new life. She's a survivor, coming off the tail end of an abusive relationship and the tragic death of her parents. All she wants is time alone to learn who she is without a man and to save the home that holds her heart. The last thing she wants is another controlling, dominant male calling all the shots, in bed and out. Never would she have thought stopping her car one night to save a dying man might change her mind, and her life, forever. But is what they have, their desire, worth dying for?

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM content (including/not limited to: bondage, domination, whipping), bloodletting, multiple partners/orgies, strong violence.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a vampire romance this good, and as someone that devours the paranormal like oxygen, that’s saying something. Jessica Lee has taken one of my absolute favorite genre’s – urban fantasy – and twined it with romance, creating just enough heat and intensity to keep you happy. But make no mistake; While the concept and story are fundamental, this is a pure erotic pleasure that you’ll absolutely enjoy.

Desire To Die For has every element a reader expects in a great romance–tight writing, great plot, steamy sex, relatable protagonists, exceptional character development–only Jessica Lee kicks it up a notch, and then some. You have the hardcore hero, Kenric St. James, who is as sexy as he is lethal, and the witty and kick-ass heroine, Emily Ross, that doesn’t wither or crumble under pressure. When the two come together, the page combusts and detonates, creating a slow sexual burn destined to fry your hard drive and crispy critter your motherboard.

But wait, it doesn’t end there.

Jessica has also given us an exceptional supporting cast, AKA the Warriors of the Enclave, to drool and fawn over. Each one is unique and oozes off the page, so much so you’ll want individual time alone with them. All of the Enclave deserve a story, and if Desire To Die For is any indication, that’s exactly what we can expect. It’s a good thing too, because I will be the first in line to snag a copy on release day.

I’m rating this one as a Best Book, all the way. Brilliantly written and flawlessly delivered, Desire To Die For is going on my keeper shelf. Keep an eye on Jessica Lee. She’s someone you can expect exceptional things from.

Vampire Kisses by Michele Bardsley

Vampire Kisses by Michele Bardsley
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday (Christmas, Valentine's Day, Halloween), Paranormal
Length: Short Story (90 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Spanking
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Cholla

A Vampire for Every Season!

Christmas for Eve: Much to the envy of her friends, Eve Moore is dating erotica author Adora LaFortune, bestselling author of Swelter, AKA Steven Jones, horror novelist. This holiday season, she's ready to give Steven her heart along with her presents. Then she finds out that Swelter isn't exactly fiction, and her true love isn't exactly mortal.

Candy for Valentine: When Valentine Carter attends her first romance conference, she soon learns that "The Blog Bitch" reaps what she sows. Renowned book publicist Michael Sanderson is a vampire. He mistakenly believes that the lovely morsel trussed up in his hotel room is a gift from his friends. After an evening with the delicious Valentine, he decides he wants to keep her. Forever.

Treats for Trixie: At Steven Jones's annual Halloween party, wanna-be romance writer Trixie Lulabelle Jameson is excited to be among the elite of the publishing industry. Literary agent Marcus Moravius is one of the oldest vampires in existence, and very used to getting what he wants. And the only treat he wants to nibble on tonight is Trixie.

This collection contains the three previously released novellas Christmas for Eve, Candy for Valentine, and Treats for Trixie.

What could possibly be better than a humorous and erotic vampire story? How about three? And that’s exactly what you get when you open the pages of Vampire Kisses by Michele Bardsley. Ms. Bardley has a way of weaving humor throughout all of her stories, no matter how steamy, and that’s something that keeps me going back every time.

Christmas for Eve is set around Christmas with Eve Moore and her new boyfriend, author Steven Jones. Despite the crazy accusation Steven is asking her to accept, Eve’s trust in him wins out, for better or for worse. Bound together by destiny, Eve and Steven are one hot couple, setting everything they touch on fire. Laced with laughter, some of the most erotic sex I’ve read in a long time, Christmas for Eve is hot enough to melt the snow on your doorstep.

Candy for Valentine is set just two months after Christmas for Eve and picks up with Valentine, Eve’s close friend, at a romance reader’s convention. When a mistake lands Michael Sanderson in her hotel room, Val’s not quite sure what to do. I guess it’s a good thing Michael has absolutely no doubts at all. Another perfectly matched couple, Valentine and Michael support each other and raise them above their pasts and past mistakes. Full of suspense, mystery and many a laugh, Candy for Valentine is a smokin’ hot read that you won’t soon forget.

Rounding out this collection is probably my favorite story of the three, Treats for Trixie. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s set around my favorite holiday – Halloween – or the fact that it centers on a single mother trying to work, write novels and raise her daughter as best she can. Either way, it’s a great combination of time and theme for me. Trixie Jameson, aka Lanie Haart, was introduced to Valentine Carter in Candy for Valentine, and picks up several months after the reader’s convention. Lost and alone, she suffers through a Halloween party thrown by Eve and her fiancé, Stephen. Just when she thinks Halloween is going to be a bust, Marcus Moravius appears. She’s a broken and defeated woman while he’s a man out of time and place. Together, they begin to mend their emotional wounds while sparking more than a few fireworks of their own. They’re my favorite couple because they’re probably the closest to what I can relate to. His family was destroyed by a madman; hers by her ex. They are proof that time and love can heal all wounds.

Vampire Kisses is an outrageously steamy and fun collection of short vampire stories. Probably the best part of these holiday-themed stories is that they are all interconnected with one another and follow a timeline that parallels the holidays being celebrated. It makes for a cohesive and enjoyable read. An added benefit is that it seems more like you’re reading three chapters of one story instead of three separate pieces. So, if you’re in the mood for a sexy and fun vampire short, this collection of shorts will certainly satisfy your cravings.

A Capitol Affair by Jamaica Layne

A Capitol Affair by Jamaica Layne
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (169 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/F, F/F, Multiple Partners, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Jasmine Rand is one of the most in-demand Congressional press secretaries on Capitol Hill. And in her many years of serving the PR needs of Washington's power brokers, she's helped her employers recover from more than their share of scandals. But the sex scandal that just broke this morning about her current boss, Senator Howard Grayle (the ultraconservative Republican senator from North Dakota) is more than even she can handle. So needless to say, Jasmine Rand is at the end of her rope. Jasmine turns to Rodney Doyle, the ultra-powerful (and also ultra-sexy) editor of the Beltway Times----for help, and maybe a little more. Can mousy, thirtysomething Jasmine Rand get Rodney Doyle interested in her? Or is Jasmine already in way over her head?

A CAPITOL AFFAIR is a tasty, red-hot look inside the sexual underworld of our nation's capitol. Sex and politics go together like champagne and strawberries, after all----and it's all here. Secret sex clubs, backroom dealings between sexy aides and hot young congressmen, bondage, submission, ménage a trois, and more.

Sometimes the person you want is the person you despise and other times, he’s the one you need, despite what you want to admit. Such is the case in A Capitol Affair.

Ms. Layne writes an interesting and compelling novella. Her characters are unique and easy for the reader to identify with. You want to see Jasmine keep her job and be happy in her skin. I liked that this story revolved around a woman who wasn’t model thin. She was like people I know and could relate to. That made the story relevant to me.

The writing was crisp and cohesive, but I felt almost as if Jasmine shortchanged herself on occasion. I wanted her to be strong, but when she factored her newfound sexuality into the equation, she lost a bit of herself. That being said, I felt that it helped the reader to see her frailty under the strong façade. You wanted to see her grow into who she really was.

The love scenes and intermixed sex scenes were hot! I enjoyed watching Jasmine morph into the dominatrix role she was born to play. It was very empowering to see such an independent woman in her element. I also liked seeing the hero squirm. Rodney put her up to the actions, yet when he’s not involved, he’s not sure he likes it. The possessiveness was what made me root for them to make it.

If you want a sexy romp through Washington politics, then you want to read A Capitol Affair. I give this novella 3 ½ cherries.

Nights in Pink Satin by Sharon Maria Bidwell

Nights in Pink Satin by Sharon Maria Bidwell
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (70 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Cactus

Vincent is a vampire of world renown, even if most people believe his story is a fable, but with age comes boredom. Seeking out new silk to line his coffin for his annual Halloween ball, he comes across a bolt of pink fabric. Curiosity leads him to a mistake that is about to change his existence.

Martin is a newly turned vampire and a lonely gay man. When he finds an extremely good looking and famous vampire in his humble abode, he's glad of the company even though he's afraid.

When a simple mistake leads to explosive passion, what's a vampire to do but look forward to a future of gay nights between sheets of pink satin?

There’s something about a gay vampire with pink glitter in his hair and lining his coffin in pink satin that just epitomizes fabulous. When Martin returns home with the latest Kylie CD, he’s surprised to find a legendary vampire in his home. Just as Martin is dealing with his shock and instant attraction to the handsome “older” man, Vincent is equally shocked to find the owner of the pink satin is a man. Although Vincent is thrown off his seduction plan at the change in gender, Martin is equally determined to show the other vampire the delights of sex between two men. When the vampires are stuck in the closet during the daytime, the explosive chemistry ignites both questions and delight.

This is an interesting story where all the action happens within the span of 24 hours. From the time Vincent discovers the pink satin bolt to when both men leave the apartment, only one day has passed. The men are wary of each other as the sexual chemistry between them sparks. Martin is openly gay and lonely even before his transformation to an undead vampire. He is also strong-willed and surprisingly dominant in bed, overwhelming Vincent and his protests. Vincent doesn’t protest much beyond refusing to admit he’s attracted, let alone having sex, with another man instead of a woman. Vincent lets the attraction and great sex between the two override his mental protests.

The story has a dark edge with the blood and emotional tone woven into the mental musings of the men. This keeps the characters sharp even as the men lack some depth. The focus on internal musings helps define the characterization but the problematic writing keeps this from succeeding. The narrative frequently shifts point of view, hopping from Martin’s head to Vincent’s head often paragraph to paragraph creating a disjointed and slightly jarring reading experience. Also unfortunate is that the epilogue sweeps all the dramatic tension and progression into a neat bow with a happy ever after ending. This is shifted from a happy for now ending at the end of the story and unfortunately weakens the entire narrative. Vincent’s struggle to accept his sexuality and a relationship with the flamboyant Martin all occurs off page as the reader is simply informed all is happy at the end. This struggle and acceptance would have been very interesting to read and I was disappointed the men and conflict was introduced then dropped off page.

As a shorter beginning to the characters and brief touching on the London setting, this is a fun, sexy story. I’d like to see more of the two in the future as their opposite personalities are sure to cause conflict then heated make-up sex. The complex character of Martin is sure to arouse reader empathy even if Vincent is a little too godly for the context. Overall, fans of vampire stories looking for something different and edgy with a splash of cliché gay tropes be sure to check this out. You might find yourself getting some pink satin sheets.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Secrets—Volume 27 an Anthology

Secrets—Volume 27 by Liane Gentry Skye, Nicole North, Leigh Court, Hannah Murray
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Fantasy
Length: Full Length Anthology (4 Stories, 328 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Xeranthemum

I can make a woman come using just my words…
That outrageous claim by a very drunk Damian Hunt, Viscount Atherton, somehow escalates into a high stakes wager between two best friends: Damian bets his prized racehorse that he can do it… George Beringer gambles his London townhouse that Damian can’t.

And the surprising woman George chooses for the bet is not only a virgin, she’s also George’s very respectable sister, Claire -- and to complicate matters even more, once Damian lays eyes on her, the stakes escalate in the most unpredictable way…

Isabella Carelli isn’t just looking for Mr. Right, she’s looking for Mr. Tie Me Up And Do Me Right. In all the wrong places. Fortunately, the right place is right next door. And the boy next door is just about ready to make his move...

A trip to the Highland Games turns into a trip to the past when modern day Shauna MacRae touches Gavin MacTavish’s four-hundred-year-old claymore. What she finds is a Devil In a Kilt she’s had erotic fantasies about for months. Can Shauna break the curse imprisoning this shape shifting laird and his clan before an evil witch sends Shauna back to her time and takes Gavin as her sex slave?

Sirenia's final breeding moon is upon her. She is the last fertile mermaid of her brood. Racing against a hurricane, she must search out and mate with the only merman who can save her kind--the prophesied Lost Son of Triton. When Sirenia rescues injured Navy SEAL, Byron Burke from drowning, she seals herself into his life debt. When the time comes to ask Byron for her freedom, her heart threatens to stand in the way of the last, best hope for her kind.
Heart's Storm by Liane Gentry Skye is a delightful romance mixing an alpha Navy SEAL with a real ocean lady, a mermaid. In this fast moving tale, we have a man of honor suffering from a tragedy which ends up far larger than he realized. Then there’s the lovely mermaid who’s forced to accept the mantle of responsibility but suddenly comes face to face with the horrible reality that she has to choose between the only love she’s ever known and duty. Top it off with a plotting evil villain who is psychotic enough to be an excellent depiction of a sadistic megalomaniac and Heart Storm delivers a fun read. Get ready for a hero and heroine to root for, a great bad guy to boo and hiss at, and a satisfying happily ever after.

The Boy Next Door by Hannah Murray opens with a chuckle inducing bathtub scene that had me grinning from ear to ear. The dialogue in the kitchen was incredible and after the wine, oh, my gosh, I felt like I was really there, listening in. And I knew things were going to get interesting especially when Jacob got her to tell him her definition of ‘vanilla’. There’s some great storytelling during that scene which inspires hot flashes. The part when she comes home from running is hot too, lots of excellent build-up and tension. I was totally hooked when the present on the table shows up because Jacob’s one word response to Isabella’s question about the object ended up being like the firing of the starting gun at a race but the end point in this story is seduction. This is well written, hot and full of fun. I liked this one.

Devil in a Kilt by Nicole North is a time traveling romance with a brawny Scottsman under a curse. There’s a lot of heart in this story as well as heat. There are a few plot conflicts that interweave, between personal angst, a vile witch and the breaking of the aforementioned curse. I enjoyed Gavin, the hero, and his kilt wearing ways. Shauna, the heroine, was the perfect balance of modern day independence and sexual freedom which put her as the perfect counterpoint to Gavin’s alpha Laird. She’s not loose or scatterbrained, she is a strong woman who stands up for herself and her dialogue was crackerjack sharp. Also, I liked that Shauna isn’t afraid to enjoy the benefits of Gavin’s…kilt. Their coming together was pure romance. The battle or skirmish reminded me of the daring do of the old Errol Flynn movies – dashing and manly. It was very exciting.

The Bet by Leigh Court is a cute story about two bored men who make a bet and one, Damien, ends up winning something more valuable than a horse. Claire is the virginal heroine whose fascination with learning about other cultures leads to both her downfall and her delight. This story is sweet in that it follows the adage that sometimes the best things in life are right under your very nose. The use of the Kama Sutra was quite clever and it made me laugh. Not that it’s laugh out loud funny, though there are a few moments where you smile, but Claire’s fascination with it and what it eventually leads to; it’s a wonderful tool for seduction and the author used it well. I liked this story too because of the way their love grew, like a taffy-pull. “Should she? Oh, proper ladies don’t do that sort of thing. But how do they…?” See what I mean? The Bet is a well told tale of seduction and romance.

With this great combination of authors and plots, this anthology is a "must-buy". I highly recommend it.

The Taming Of A Vixen by Wendy Stone

The Taming Of A Vixen by Wendy Stone
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (206 pgs)
Other: M/F, F/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Fern

Lord Jason Ashington seems content with living the bachelor's life, until a literal run-in with Lady Alyssa Cortland has him rethinking his position. Bored with his cloying mistress and intrigued by the young, fiery beauty, he is interested in getting to know Alyssa better.

Lady Alyssa isn't thrilled by societal restraints, and would prefer to marry for love than status. When the dashing and mysterious "Jamie" rescues her from an assault, she is smitten by his charm and overwhelmed by his lovemaking skills. Despite growing attraction to Lord Jason, she can't stop yearning for Jamie.

Will she desire the lord, however, when she learns Jason and Jamie are one and the same?

Do you want a whole lot of heat mixed with a splash of humor and memorable characters? Then, The Taming Of A Vixen, is just what the doctor ordered.

Lord Jason Ashington is the consummate bachelor, enjoying a life of leisure and a bit of sport, until he meets Lady Alyssa Courtland. She’s the most cunning, feisty, and beautiful creature he’s ever seen. But though he wants her, he isn’t ready to be shackled to a wife. Alyssa, on the other hand, longs for what Jason is unwilling to give – marriage and love. She yearns to experience the kind of relationship her parents share, one of both attraction and devotion. Of course, none of this matters when Jason rescues Alyssa from bandits while wearing a mask. At that point, he becomes Jamie. And the entire story comes to life.

The Taming Of A Vixen is a wonderful story that snares the reader from start to finish. Both protagonists are wonderfully written and thoroughly developed, as is the amazing supporting cast that provides even more depth and heat. The story progresses beautifully, with several unexpected twists and turns that will leave you clamoring for more.

This is the first story I’ve read by Wendy Stone, but it definitely won’t be the last. The Taming of a Vixen is a must read.

Point of Distraction: the Third Collection by Cindy Jacks

Point of Distraction: the Third Collection by Cindy Jacks
Publisher: Lyrical Press, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (77 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Lavender

Ana's back -- and as bad as she wants to be!

Third collection in the Point of Distraction Series.

In Ghosts of Ana Past, Ana reconnects with an old flame who stirs up memories of a more carefree time in her life. Now that Eli's set this fire, it's up to Ana to contain the blaze.

Misadventures in cougar-ing plague Ana in Boy Toy. Jake's hot, bold...and only twenty years old. But in the midst of a premature mid-life crisis, what's a girl to do?

Friends with Benefits finds Ana reeling from a family emergency. When Nikhil provides a strong shoulder to cry on, it's all too tempting to toss out that pesky platonic relationship and give in to romance.

Ana Welsh is a very modern, strong-minded woman who has some interesting sexual adventures in this trilogy of stories. She’s real, down-to-earth, and suffers from neurotic issues that guarantee trouble ahead in the world of “love”.

This third collection in the Point of Distraction series was an enjoyable read. Ana is lovely, middle-aged and successful. She meets up with a former boyfriend from her youth in “The Ghosts of Ana’s Past.” Eli brings up tender memories and brings out Ana’s vulnerable side. After a hot night with him, Ana faces questions about herself that stir her heart.

The second story, “Boy Toy,” is so authentic in that it deals truthfully with the situation, the relationship dynamic between an older woman and a younger man. Totally believable, and hot.

In the third story, “Friends With Benefits,” you see more of Ana’s vulnerability when she deals with a personal crisis. When a good friend comes to comfort her, Ana gives in to her attraction, and as a result, she faces more deep truths about what she really wants.

If I had to come up with something that I didn’t love about this work, well, it’s not very romantic; it’s more about the sex. But these stories concern a woman experiencing freedom and finding herself.

The author did a fantastic job at painting a very human character having to face things about herself avoided for so long. The sex is hot, and the stories unroll in an entertaining way. Readers will not soon forget Ana Welsh and are likely to go back and read the other books in this series if they haven’t already done so.

Maiden, Mother, Crone by Various Authors

Maiden, Mother, Crone (Anthology) by Various Authors
Publisher: Drollerie Press
Genre: Anthology, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length Anthology (6 Stories, 235 pgs)
Other: M/F, F/F, BDSM
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Holly

Maiden Mother Crone is a collection of erotic fiction from six talented authors with 6 startlingly different points of view.

Angela Caperton gives us an erotically charged tale that spans the history of three women as a microcosm of the entire world, then takes us into the future with “Standing Stone”.

Lucy A. Snyder brings us the science fiction adventure of a strong woman with a thirst for danger and the knowledge of what she wants and just how to get it, along with a sexuality as fierce as the rest of her in “Burning Bright”.buy the book

Janne Lewis ventures into more traditional fantasy fiction, complete with a fierce warrior priestess and a darkly brooding mage (along with a little magical BDSM), in “The Blessing of Desire”.

Ariel Graham explores identity and individuality, the freedom and responsibility of becoming an adult, all wrapped up in a retelling of Greek myth with some very sexy action and a decided twist in “Acts of Contrition”.

Tam McDonald draws us into dark fantasy, possibly horror for those of us more easily horrified, where we experience rebellion, self-sacrifice, and a peculiarly feminine and strangely loving fate seen through an eerie, multi-faceted lens in “My Lady of Silk and Tooth”.

Finally, in “Daughters of Time” Kaalii Cargill takes us into historical fantasy to share the beginning of the end for the city of Urim and the priestesses of Inanna, the goddess of love, lust, and fertility, and their efforts to protect their future against the force of a new God, one whose name cannot be spoken.

Maiden, Mother, Crone is an interesting mix of stories by a talented group of writers. This collection of stories ranges from a mythological tale of three women and their experiences at the standing stone, a tale of rebirth as seen from three women’s perspective through time, to fantasies of what we do for love, and to how love can reign supreme. There is a tale of Hades come to reclaim his lost love, and what affect this has on the world. There is ancient love, modern love and travel through time and space love. The only constants throughout are the passion, the heat and the intensity.

Standing Stone by Angela Caperton is a story of rebirth; actually three short stories on a theme. The tale of the lives of three women through time and into the future, and how love and lust can be a part of that rebirth.

Burning Bright by Lucy A. Snyder is a tale of science fiction that shows just how far a strong woman will venture for her true love.

The Blessing of Desire by Janne Lewis is a dark fantasy showing the strength of desire, and what it can do to even the strongest of men and mages. It answers the question, is a man any less if he feels desire?

Acts of Contrition by Ariel Graham brings Hades to claim his absent wife, a tale of identity lost and found, in a modern retelling of the ancient myth, including major mother-in-law problems. Interesting tidbit: Hades tastes like raspberries, read it and you’ll understand.

My Lady of Silk and Tooth by Tam McDonald is a tale of sacrifice, horror and ultimate transformation. It is a tale almost devoid of hope, but gives new meaning to the old phrase coined by the infamous spider to the fly.

Daughters of Time by Kaalii Cargill is a story of a vision foreseen, and a prophecy fulfilled. It tells of a long past time, when first love will provide the child to carry the legacy of the goddess to new generations, as men turn to a God who must not be named.

I enjoyed the variety in this book. The writing throughout the six stories was excellent, and it held my attention throughout. Each of these writers gives us a view of a place we see very seldom; in the heart, where passion resides and emotions are able to run unchecked. The six stories have two things in common; all have strong women who are willing and able to take control of a given situation, and all have scorchingly tempestuous sex: curl your toes and soak in ice water hot scenes. Whether conventional relationships or otherworldly love, the passion is there to find. I can honestly say I enjoyed every single story, but my warning to you is keep the A/C on high and ice water near to hand.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Master of the Mountain by Cherise Sinclair

Master of the Mountain by Cherise Sinclair
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (207 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Fern

When Rebecca's boyfriend talks her into vacationing at a mountain lodge with his swing club, she quickly learns she's not cut out for playing musical beds. Now she has nowhere to sleep. Logan, the lodge owner, finds her freezing on the porch. After hauling her inside, he warms her in his own bed, and there the experienced Dom discovers that Rebecca might not be a swinger…but she is definitely a submissive.

Rebecca knows that no one can love her plump, scarred body. To her shock, lodge owner Logan not only disagrees, but ties her up and shows her just how much he enjoys her curves. Under his skilled hands, Rebecca not only loses her inhibitions, but also her heart.

Damaged from the war, Logan considers himself too dangerous to be around the enticing little sub. He sends her away for her own safety, not realizing she believes she has once again been rejected because of her size. As Logan's mountains echo with her voice long after she's gone, he realizes she's taken his heart with her. But when he arrives in the city to reclaim her, Rebecca's phone has been disconnected and her apartment is empty…

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

Every once in a while, you’ll come across an author that just “gets it”. These writers know how to craft memorable characters and place them into situations that captivate the audience, creating compelling stories that elevate and bolster the genre as well as ensure a very loyal and devoted fan base as a result. I’m here to say that Cherise Sinclair has done just that. In her latest work, Master of the Mountain, there is no Club Shadowlands. But that’s a good thing, because the change of scenery demonstrates her ability to write the BDSM genre in a realistic setting, without the expected emergence of leather clad Doms, cuffed subs, and polished steel – don’t fret, you get a taste of that too.

There is plenty to rave about. As with her previous works, the story is wonderfully written, fast paced, and exudes pure unadulterated heat. The characters are well developed, relatable, and so very easy to love. It’s one of the many reasons I love Cherise’s work. She is as proficient at tugging at your heart as she is at speeding it along. There is more here than hot sex and a candy basket full of BDSM delights. You also have a man and woman that are unable to move into a future together because of events in the past that have molded and shaped them. Conflict is equally as important as sex, and the greatest erotica, in my humble opinion, always hinges on the writer’s ability to craft the most basic and fundamental foundation – an excellent story.

Master of the Mountain is a must read, and a definite keeper. If you’ve not experienced the fantastic work of Cherise Sinclair, now’s a good time to start.

Craft of the Wise 2: Divination by Dee Carney

Craft of the Wise 2: Divination by Dee Carney
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (48 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Holly

Book Two of The Craft of the Wise (Be sure to read Book One)

Demons, one. Witches, zero.

In the second book of this amazing series, Jenna Whiteman, the coven’s strongest diviner, has seen the path the witches and their werewolf protectors must follow to regain the upper hand. One thing she knows for certain - the battle to keep the demons out of their world will end badly if her predictions come true. To prevent that from happening, she must put her faith in the infuriating werewolf lieutenant, Vince Albright. Together, they’ll have to work on righting a balance gone wrong.

Only when Vince looks at her with a gleam of interest in his piercing blue eyes, her visions take her down a decidedly different path…one that involves her, him and nights filled with passion.

With Ava and Aaron safe and healing, the witches from Dee Carney’s Craft of the Wise series need to find the tools needed to keep the rogue witch Dina from gaining more power. In Craft of the Wise 2: Divination, it is Jenna and her gift of divination that will work to help find the athame that both sides seek. But Jenna is worried, because her visions all involve Vince, the gorgeous and hot red-headed werewolf, and she isn’t sure what the visions mean. When Dina starts popping into the visions urging Jenna and Vince together, Jenna is afraid for the future of the witches and the world. It takes the calm and levelheaded advice of Mayda, their leader and Ava’s grandmother, to show that things can be seen more than one way in the visions. Will Jenna continue to fight her attraction to Vince, for fear of causing harm, or will she fulfill her destiny and follow her heart?

I love Dee Carney’s witches. She writes such richly involved stories, and I look forward to each episode in the adventure. Her stories are very real, with the doubts and feelings there for all to see. She brings you into the action, and takes you on the journey with each of her characters. Her men are beyond hot, and the relationships are allowed to build realistically. The sparks Jenna and Vince throw off at the beginning change as the relationship grows, from apprehension, to passion, to love. And the spell that has to be performed to help them locate the athame is one of the hottest things I’ve read-a three ice water scene for sure. If you want a really great short story experience, you can’t go wrong with The Craft of the Wise 2: Divination.