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Friday, September 18, 2009

Man of Her Dreams by Paige Warren

Man of Her Dreams by Paige Warren
Publisher: Wild Horse Press
Genre: Contemporary/Erotic Romance
Length: Short Story (76 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Cherokee Rose

Sienna Blake has issues with her body, mostly that there's just too much of it, and she hasn't had a date in forever. To make matters worse, she has a crush on the most perfect, most gorgeous man alive, Logan Drake. As if someone like him would ever take a second look at Sienna! Logan Drake may show up to PR events with a model on his arm, but he's grown tired of the stick thin women who constantly complain about their weight. He wants a real woman! Someone he can take out to eat and she'll actually order a meal instead of a small salad and a glass of water. When fate throws Sienna Blake into his path, he thinks he's finally found someone worth dating. When Sienna and Logan get together, the sparks begin to fly. Just looking at Logan makes Sienna want to do naughty things to him. Never had she had such lascivious thoughts about a man before, but one look at Logan and she beings to drool.

Every woman needs a hot and irresistible guy in her life. That is exactly what Sienna Blake finds in Logan Drake. In this story, Sienna has fantasized and yearned for Logan longer than she cares to admit. The need to be with him is consuming, but is too fearful to act upon her longing. After a midnight stroll and some encouragement from a good friend, that all changes.

I enjoyed this story. It is a fast read, one I found myself unable to put down until the end. I was looking forward to this story when I found out the heroine was full-figured. Ms. Warren didn’t disappoint. I like the way the author made Sienna a real woman with real insecurities. Logan, with his self-confidence was the perfect match for her.

The realism of the characters was attention grabbing. Sienna and Logan could easily be people you could run into on any given day. I think any person can empathize with Sienna’s qualms when it comes to believing a man as good looking as Logan can be anywhere near interested in her. The only issue I had with the story was a secondary character, Robert. I wasn’t always sure why he was brought into a scene. On occasion it felt like he might have only been used as a filler.

However, Ms. Warren did a good job with this story. I would be willing to read Sienna and Logan’s sensual tale again, and definitely recommend it to my friends.

One Tasty Night by Amber Skyze

One Tasty Night by Amber Skyze
Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Length: Short Story (84 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Wild Plum

Taylor Jax has a secret. She fantasizes about seducing longtime friend Shane Griffin. Only problem, he’s eight years her junior – too young in her mind.

During a game of truth or dare her secret is exposed. Challenged by her best friends, Taylor must go into an adult toy store and buy all the accessories needed to live out her fantasy.With another night of truth or dare looming, Taylor makes a bold move. Before her friends can dare her, she plans a full-fledged seduction.

Shane has loved Taylor for as long as he can remember. She enters his store in disguise, prompting him to tease her. To his surprise she agrees to have dinner with him. And when she propositions him he wonders - will one night be enough?

Taylor Jax has been warding off Shane Griffin’s advances for a long time. Sure, she’s attracted to him. Who wouldn’t be? He is one fine example of the male form and in the time she’s gotten to know him as a customer in her store, he seems a great guy too. He’s just too young for Taylor and she fears that if she gives in to him, he’ll get bored with her eventually. She can’t risk her heart getting broken but her concerns don’t stop her fantasies; fantasies her friends are trying very hard to help make a reality.

After a game of Truth or Dare, Taylor finds herself in an adult store with a list of goodies to purchase in order to make her fantasies come true. Does Taylor have it in her to let go of her worries and seduce the secret man of her dreams? Shane has faith that it will only be a matter of time before Taylor sees how perfect they are for each other and when she finally caves in, he’s going to be more than ready to step up to the plate.

When I read the blurb to this book I knew I had to have it. If I couldn't review it than I was going to buy it for my personal use. It’s simply great. It seems Amber Skyze has a writing ability we would all love to have when it comes to erotic romance. I am so impressed with her writing. She is a very clear, tight (no pun intended) writer. I really enjoy her books and her characters and the worlds they live in. One Tasty Night is the sequel to Mistletoe Studs, which I have yet to read. Even though I haven’t read the first story I wasn’t lost in this one. I was able to keep up with the characters from Mistletoe Studs and the story revolving around Taylor and Shane in One Tasty Night. So, no worries if you can’t read the first story. Again this is another theme I love: older woman, younger man. I am just so amazed with these stories. It’s a read you will love and enjoy One Tasty Night.

Splashing Good Time by Amber Skyze

Splashing Good Time by Amber Skyze
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary Erotic
Length: Short Story (54 pgs)
Other: M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Wild Plum

Reece Collins is growing tired of her Wednesday ritual of masturbating to the sight of the so-called “pool boy” and her battery-operated friend is leaving her unsatisfied. She craves a no-strings-attached torrid sexual encounter. Problem? The only one offering is ten years her junior.

Nathan Donovan has lusted over his client forever. When he happens upon her in a very compromising position, his desires swell as he plunges headfirst into the deep end to save her. One brief encounter leaves him yearning for more, but when she splashes cold water on his plans, he has to choose between walking away or spanking some sense into her.

Reese has been divorced for three years and is still unable to find her rebound man. She refuses to consider her sexy younger pool man, despite the fact he has fueled her fantasies for many years.

Reese thinks the 10 years between her and Nathan is insurmountable. Nathan is just as determined that Reese will see him as the responsible man he is rather than the stereotypical role she has given him.

One of my new favorite themes in a romance is: an older woman and a younger man. I just love these stories. And it really takes a mature writer to write a story with this theme and pull it off. I think Ms. Skyze did an exceptional job with this story. She took a plot that has been used a hundred times and spun it to fit her writing style and added her own flavor to it. The characters were very vivid and Nathan was strapping in my mind. Reese is a very sexy older woman who knows what she wants. What man doesn’t love that about a woman? It’s all-around a great read and I really think those of you who enjoy these types of themes are really going to enjoy this book. I am also adding Amber Skyze to my “author’s to watch” list.

Coming Full Circle by Liz Andrews

Coming Full Circle by Liz Andrews
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (133 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Fern

They’ve waited ten years. Will they finally gain everything they ever desired…and more?

There’s only one bright spot Jasmine Hayes can see when she’s suckered into helping plan her high school reunion. At least she’ll be able to reconnect with old friends Chase Randolph and Alex Landry. There’s nothing she regrets more than losing touch with those two handsome guys.

Chase and Alex hadn’t planned to attend the reunion, but the chance to see Jasmine again has Chase intrigued. Alex is his best friend and love of his life, but Jasmine will always be the girl who got away.

One instant message is all it takes to center Alex’s thoughts on a lusty reunion with Jasmine. He’s extremely happy with Chase, but she’s always been the girl of his dreams. He can’t help but wonder if the chemistry the three of them had in high school is still there.

Renewing old ties, however, puts triple the strain on some old ones. The choice they face is which ones to risk severing—and which ones are worth keeping.

Warning: This title contains men loving men, and men loving a woman—anywhere and everywhere they can.

If you like a ménage that is well written and brilliantly executed, you’ll love Coming Full Circle. Liz Andrew’s has given readers three wonderful characters to fall in love with, giving equal time to each so the development is seamless and the emotion within the story is palpable.

Jasmine is someone you want to know, a woman that wants something more from life but can’t pinpoint what it is. When the high school reunion looms and she contacts the two men she’s struggled to forget, you experience both her hope for some kind of relationship, as well as her fear of rejection. The same can be said for Chase and Alex, two men that discovered a passion and love for one another during college. Though happy in their life, they’ve each secretly thought of Jasmine over the years. That’s what’s so captivating about the story.

There are so many things to work through and think about. It’s not only about a hot sexual encounter. It’s about creating a lasting relationship between three people that love each other. There is the conflict between Chase and Alex as they worry about their own commitment, the nervousness and insecurity Jasmine experiences when considering a future with them, and the impact the taboo relationship will have on their lives. When the last word on the page arrived, I realized I didn’t want it to end. You become so involved with the characters that you want to continue taking the journey into the unknown with them.

I’m definitely recommending this one. Coming Full Circle is a must read.

Men on Fire by Susan Lyons, Rochelle Chase & Jodi Lynn Copeland

Men on Fire by Susan Lyons, Rochelle Chase, Jodi Lynn Copeland
Publisher: Kensington Aphrodisia
Genre: Contemporary, Anthology
Length: Full Length (228 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Brave, bold, and dangerously sexy, firefighters are every woman's fantasy. Meet three hot heroes who take scorching desire to a whole new level...

"Too Hot to Handle," Susan Lyons

Executive Jade Rousseau needs to find a fake fiancé to parade around her company's social events. When her friends bid on red-hot firefighter Quinn O'Malley at a benefit auction, Jade bids higher. The man has to be hers—and she can't wait to feel the passion...

"The Firefighter Wears Prada," Rachelle Chase

When fashion designer Delta Ballantyne asks firefighter Evan Marshall to model her sexy line of men's underwear, she can't stop the sizzling fantasies running through her mind, beginning with sophisticated foreplay...and ending with the ultimate climax...

"Playing With Fire," Jodi Lynn Copeland

Ever since Erica Donelson's ex-husband left her, his former best buddy, firefighter Lincoln Gabriel, has been there for her. But before long, their warm friendship heats up to a burning lust that won't be denied...
Women love men in uniform. They also love men out of uniform. What happens when she wants a fiancée without the commitment? Or wants to see him in her designer threads? Or better yet, she wants him to see what’s right in plain sight? You’d better read Men on Fire to find out more.

This triple threat of firefighting men is a great collection of stories to get your pulse racing and the heart pounding. I liked each author’s take on firefighting, the women in their lives, and that ever present possibility of injury on the job. Although a handful of minor editing issues cropped up, they weren’t enough to deter the reader. Each story is realistic and easy for the reader to find some sort of personal connection.

In Too Hot to Handle by Sue Lyons, Jade Rousseau needs a fiancée in order to score a promotion. Enter the hunky firefighter her friends bid on for her. I liked this story because the plot was believable. I also liked seeing two characters so determined to be together, yet very determined to butt heads. Although I wished Jade would’ve seen the need for a fake fiancée as discrimination, I also understood that sometimes you have to do whatever you can to get that promotion. The reasons behind Quinn’s determination to save lives touched my heart.

In The Firefighter Wears Prada by Rachelle Chase, Delta needs the right model for her designer briefs. Who should she choose to parade around in fire fighter inspired duds? Only the delicious Lt. Evan Marshall, the so-not-a-clothes-horse firefighter. This story got to me because of their roots. Delta didn’t want people looking down on her, so she dresses to impress. Many people do that, but often with less than honest reasons. She didn’t want to be made fun of anymore. Evan’s need to distance himself from his past and the financial blunders of his ex-wife, made him more of a hero to me. I liked the realism.

The final story in this group is Playing with Fire by Jodi Lynn Copeland. This story is a bit of a change from the others in that the characters knew each other beforehand and they engage in frank talk that only close friends can get away with. This story dealt mainly with trust and a lack thereof. He doesn’t trust his skills as a firefighter since the accident. It’s also a story of want. She wants to pursue her art, but it isn’t financially feasible. He wants to be on the front lines doing his job, but fears he’ll get hurt. All of these are human emotions we all struggle with. I liked how they worked out their trust and needs issues through the blossoming relationship.

If you want a hot set of stories for a lazy fall evening, or just to get you in the mood, then you need to read Men on Fire. I give this anthology 4 cherries.

West of the Moon by L. E. Bryce

West of the Moon by L.E. Bryce
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (260 pgs)
Other: M/M, Spanking, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Phlox

The sequel to A Crown of Stars, and the third and final book in the Sun, Moon and Stars trilogy!

In his fifth year as king, a political coup drives Zhanil Sephides from the throne of Rhodeen. With his father Sephil held hostage by the usurpers, and only his lover Kalmeki at his side, Zhanil must regain power or lose all.

We are often advised to separate our work from our personal lives—the tragedy for any ruling family is there can be no separation. In a return to the northern half of Ms. Bryce’s carefully constructed world, we have several sharply pointed threads illustrating this point. Those in public life, those whose actions and decisions drive the fates of thousands, may harbor illusions of private family life and affairs behind closed doors, but every private decision, every intimacy, impacts the people they both rule and serve.

I will admit to some trepidation embarking on this story, my first foray into The Sun, the Moon and The Stars series. The initial list of players loomed on the first four pages. Four pages of people and places I had never encountered before. I soon found I should have saved myself the anxiety and skipped directly to the tale. The author’s fluid storytelling takes the reader from one point of view to the next, with seamless introductions and character referents that render each important player immediately accessible. The reader worries for Sephil, retiring and vulnerable, thrust into a dangerous and volatile situation beyond his control, frets with Zhanil, the deposed young king, as he runs for his life from his own capital, and sympathizes with Kalmeki, Zhanil’s lover, his other half, over his frustration at what he sees as his beloved’s ineffectual decisions and disastrous choices.

As in all her works, the various cultures we encounter serve as an extra character, the Turyar especially in this story. Much of their culture is lifted straight out of the Mongolian steppes, the yurts, the horses, the fierce self-reliance, the leaders selected on merit rather than birth (called turkan in the novel rather than khan, but it’s nearly a cognate) but this helps their attitudes and reactions ring true since there is a real world parallel.

With six points of view in play, there is some distancing from the characters. The depth of feeling the author has achieved in single or dual point of view pieces fell a little shy here but the sacrifice speeds the dramatic pacing and heightens the tension at many points and there are plenty of heated love scenes in the mix. Even scheming, ruthless Dashir becomes a sympathetic character as we watch him struggle for any wedge to drive the usurping conspiracy apart. The dramatic climax, I will admit, just barely escapes a deus ex machine feel to it but I found myself willing to suspend enough disbelief because of the strength of the characters involved.

On a side note: I’ve desperately wanted a map for Ms Bryce’s novels. The countries of her imagination are so exquisitely detailed and the geography so well described – but I’ve found myself craving a visual reference. Aha! There is a map, hand-drawn by the author herself, on her website ( Why her publisher has not seen fit to add the graphic as a frontispiece to her novels is beyond me.

Though more complex and challenging in its multiple threads and points of view, Ms. Bryce handles the ebb and flow of this story with the same fluid, graceful style which characterizes her more tightly focused work. Beautifully rendered scenes and crisp, believable dialogue transport the reader and allow us to share in her world as a traveler rather than merely as a voyeur.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sting of Desire by Lilli Feisty

Sting of Desire by Lilli Feisty
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short (130 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by: Fern

Love comes at the turn of a card…or the crack of a whip.

Sandine would love to walk out of her ex-boyfriend’s life forever. Except the sadistic bastard stole the ancient tarot cards her late mother gave her, knowing she’ll do anything to get them back. Including endure his abuse on the stage of his sex club.

For the crime of trying to get her prized cards back, she’s steeling herself for the public beating of her life. Knowing that no matter how much she screams, no one will come to her aid.

Harry Marshall should be immune to undercover work at sex clubs by now. From the moment he spots Sandine chained at the mercy of the suspected drug dealer he’s after, his gut tells him something isn’t right. He can’t believe he’d risk blowing his cover by stepping in, much less his body’s erotic reaction to inflicting pain on her luscious body.

Question is, how deeply involved is she in her ex’s drug dealing—if at all? If she’d stay out of his way long enough to find out, he wouldn’t have to put his own mission in danger to keep protecting her from her ex…and herself.

Warning: Contains lots of bondage, sex clubs, whippings, orgies, tree sex, m/m and a variety of other creative sexual scenarios that might surprise you. Oh, and the hero has a striking resemblance to Han Solo. Just sayin’.

If you’re in the market for a futuristic BDSM tale with a hero that wields a whip like Indiana Jones and heroine that can see the future, Sting of Desire will do you right. Lillian Feisty has crafted a brilliant story with memorable characters that are both lovable and comical, ensuring a reader chuckles as often as they blush.

Harry is a detective investigating a known drug dealer. Problem is he has a thing for the dealer’s girlfriend, Sandine. When he visits the sex club owned by the suspect and a scene between Cain and the woman of his dreams takes a violent turn, he intercedes by offering the services of his own whip as punishment. The outcome is something neither he nor Sandine expect, an attraction that is combustive and dangerous. As Harry and Sandine become closer and explore the depth of their feelings-including Harry’s newly emerging dominant tendencies-the case involving Cain becomes serious, and they find themselves in the line of fire.

The story is tightly written and exceptionally plotted, combining urban fantasy with scorching hot erotica. The unique futuristic world is well thought out, as are the secondary characters. I enjoyed the magical elements involved-witches, tarot cards, and divination-as well as the envisioned future that allows smokers to breathe friendly with cancer free cigarettes. The epilogue alludes to a sequel, which is something to look forward to. All BDSM enthusiasts will enjoy this, especially those that enjoy a bit of fantasy with their “fantasy”.

Thoroughly enjoyable, Sting of Desire is a must read.

Kansas City Shuffle by Talya Bosco

Kansas City Shuffle by Talya Bosco
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (173 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, BDSM, anal play
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by: Mistletoe

Larissa comes to Kansas City after winning a trip to see where her favorite series of books takes place. She expects to have a great time with her three scheduled fantasy dates and an all-expenses-paid shopping spree. When she meets two men at different points in her vacation, she is suddenly torn between them. Finding out they know each other, and are perfectly willing to share her, in and out of bed, is more than a dream come true. It’s a fantasy.

Devon and Jared know that Larissa is their mate; they just have to convince her. And hope she doesn’t freak when she finds out they are the werewolves she has been reading about for the past six years. But they can’t tell her until their pack has finished “testing her suitability” as an alpha female. All they can do is hope she will forgive them when she finds out the truth.

Yet, the real truth is something none of them suspects. And may be enough to drive them apart permanently.

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

As a reader of paranormal romance this book caught my attention right off the bat. With a heroine who wins a contest to spend a week in Kansas city and have three dates with the cover models of her favorite werewolf romance series I couldn’t resist being drawn into this world. Add in the heroin being full figured and not the usual svelte woman and you have a great story.

As soon as our heroine lands in Kansas it seems mishap after mishap happens. Larissa takes it all in stride though, not letting anything rile her. After all she is on vacation and she plans to enjoy herself. As she enters the restaurant to meet her first date she runs into a gorgeous hunk of a man. He makes her weak in the knees just from a glance but she must concentrate on her meeting for the contest. So she dismisses their meeting for the moment. Later in the day as she is shopping with a friend she comes across yet another hunk that sets her libido on fire as well. He gets her to agree to dinner with him the next day. That evening when she meets one of her dates from the contest she is appalled by his behavior and leaves to eat at another table, where the hunk from the restaurant comes and shares dinner with her.

Larissa and Jarred hit it off right from the start. Larissa reluctantly tells him why she is there and that she also has another date the next night with Devon the hunk from the store. Once Larissa and Devon have their date she finds that she is just as attracted to him as she is to Jarred and cannot imagine losing either one of them. Jarred and Devon recognize Larissa as their mate right from the beginning. They just need to convince her off it and that they are actually the very werewolves she has read about.

Can they Larissa accept what these two men have to offer her? Will she be their mate and even accept that they are werewolves or will she run away? Can they be happy as a triad relationship or will Larissa only choose one of them if either?

This story was well written and had a great flow. I truly enjoyed the depth these characters had. Larissa was a great heroine. Even though she has vowed to live life and not let others views bring her down because she does not fit the stereotype of today’s woman, she still shows an insecurity every now and then. I loved the scene in the restaurant where her date tries to demean Larissa for being full figured and she not only stands up for herself she puts him in his place. To see her grow and enjoy the love and affection given to her from both Devon and Jarred was a beautiful thing. The love and protection that the two men show Larissa was just as nice to see.

Talya Bosco brings you into her world and keeps you hooked from the beginning of this story and does not let you go until the end. I truly enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read more from this author and especially on those hunky werewolves from Kansas.

Taste of Temptation by Moira McTark

Taste of Temptation by Moira McTark
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (72 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewer: Holly

Love is best savored one slow, sweet lick at a time.

The sting of betrayal and added humiliation of being the last to know have left hotel owner Jason Henley leery of romance. Until an abandoned wedding cake—and feisty wedding planner and hopeless romantic Lanie Malone—tumble into his arms, turning dessert for two-hundred-fifty into the backdrop for a sexy romp.

Lanie always keeps business and pleasure in their proper places. But between Jason’s advances, and a groomzilla-from-hell’s indiscretions, she finds she’s lost control of the wedding and her body. With Jason and Lanie facing off, the buttercream’s about to hit the fan… When the frosting clears, more than Laine’s career will be hanging in the balance.

This book has been previously published.

Warning: This book contains frank language and graphic descriptions of hot sugar-slicked sex that give new meaning to the phrase, “have your cake and eat it too”.

Can a ruined wedding cake lead to true love? Wedding planner Lanie Malone has caught the eye, and more, of hotel owner Jason Henley, and has no idea what to do about it. And Jason is busy trying to convince himself he is only interested in a one-night stand with Lanie. Lanie has her hands full with the weddings, and thinks she has no time for romance. And she has to be on her toes, because her boss has a strict rule of three strikes and you’re out. A failed wedding several weeks before, and a possible disaster with this cake would make two strikes. Can Lanie survive the next catastrophe with her job intact? Will these two be able to find common ground, and a chance at something more than a fling, or will both of their pasts return to haunt them and keep them apart?

Moira McTark has written a witty romantic comedy with enough twists and turns to make a person just a little dizzy. The heat between Lanie and Jason is almost instantaneous, and the relationship has all of the tension found when the couple tries to outguess each other. She makes Jason and Lanie human and fallible, and both have combustible tempers that get out of hand. She gives us the sexiest food fight I have ever read, and I love the interaction in the elevator, too. Lanie’s hard driving boss Connie is a character as well, and accounts for much of the discord between Lanie and Jason. There were two brief views into why Lanie and Jason are both a bit “gun shy” when it comes to love and relationships, and they take steps to correct the problems in their respective pasts. I enjoyed this story a lot, and would like to visit Lanie and Jason a few years down the road to see what they have been up to.

This is fun to read, but beware: laughter could erupt spontaneously along with the heat.

Flying Fish by Sedonia Guillone

Flying Fish by Sedonia Guillone
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Historical
Length: Short (84 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by: Cactus

In seventeenth century Japan, during the golden age of samurai and of the Kabuki theater, young actors known as "flying fish" traveled the countryside, performing for audiences by day and giving their bodies to their samurai patrons at night.

Genji Sakura is one such flying fish, yet he dreams of the day he'll find the man he can give his heart to and leave the loneliness of his itinerant life behind. Though he loves theater, he doesn't love every part of his profession, especially some of the patrons. So when a handsome ronin, or masterless samurai, comes upon him stealing some solitude for a bath in a hot spring and their encounter turns passionate and profoundly erotic, Genji's surprised and delighted.

Daisuke Minamoto's past fills his life with a bitterness that grips his soul and makes him dangerous. Yet his passion takes him when he spies on a graceful young man bathing naked in a hot spring. He has always loved women but he can't deny the call of his heart or his baser interests.

After an afternoon of sexual bliss, his heart and soul are tormented and torn. Keeping this miraculous lover will require giving up the one thing that has kept him alive for years: his hatred for the lord who murdered his wife. If he loves another, how will he go on and who will he become?

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.

Set in historical Japan, an embittered samurai and a lovely thespian meet by chance and find something neither expected. A young man, Genji, has been raised in the theatre after sold as a slave. The bargain he has made with the manager of the traveling theatre group is that in exchange for performing on stage, Genji will act as a prostitute for lusty samurai after the show. One day Genji stumbles upon a bitter, angry samurai out for revenge. Both Genji and Daisuke will have their lives changed by the emotions they experience.

This is a sweet and gentle love story set in a unique historical culture and setting. There are a few minor qualms with the story, but the wonderful characters and real flavor given to the setting elevate this tale into something different and quite enjoyable. The characters are well drawn and developed from the beginning and although there is a lot of sex between the two, the gentle nature and emotion involved always deepens the relationship. Genji is a sweet and loving young man even as he struggles with the emotional toll his life has taken. He is jaded and lost, still very young in many ways as he looks to Daisuke for guidance and support. Genji is not a typical weak character even though he is described in almost feminine terms. His beauty, demeanor, and dress are often described as that of a woman. Whether this is to help explain Daisuke’s feelings or to reinforce the traditional dynamic is unclear, but for all the feminine descriptions Genji is a man with courage and strength of will.

The atmosphere of the culture and time is wonderfully done. The use of terminology and descriptions create a beautiful setting and gives descriptions for the words used through context so you aren’t lost in unfamiliar terms. This helps maintain the feeling of the historical time even as the issues raised are timeless. There are a few writing problems in that the point of view switches between Genji and Daisuke almost arbitrarily and not always at the best points. Genji’s negative reactions to Daisuke’s protection towards the end of the story are only shown through Daisuke’s point of view, which isolates Genji and cuts the reader off from understanding his choices and actions. It would have been nice to see from Genji’s perspective his thoughts and feelings over the sudden changes. There are a few other examples where the point of view changes are awkward and clumsy instead of seamless, but these are minor qualms.

Overall, this is a lovely story with a very historical and culture atmosphere, lending beautifully to the theme and characters. Although the author claims to have taken some leeway with the time period and other aspects, since I’m not familiar with that culture, it didn’t detract any enjoyment. This novella is an easy and luxurious read with good pacing and very romantic overtones. Fans of the genre will want to experience this unique offering.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tied up with Green by Becca Dale

Tied up with Green by Becca Dale
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (40 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Mistletoe

Trea Daniels rules her professional and personal lives with iron shackles. When it comes to sex, she never mixes business and pleasure, and she always calls the shots. Trea believes power offers security in a male dominated world.

However, when her new boss, Jason Green, steps into the picture, he refuses to follow her rules. He plays the game long enough to weaken her defenses, then steals control and demands equality. Jason’s unwavering strength makes Trea confront her own weaknesses and helps her destroy the walls she has so carefully built around her heart.
What can throw an office into chaos faster than romance? Especially a romance between the new boss and an executive vying for the vice presidency of the company. What could be worse? Everybody knows you do not mix business with pleasure. Add in lots of misunderstandings and that is just what happens in this book.

Trea Daniels works in an office as the only female executive. Not only does she have to deal with chauvinistic men but now she also has the new company CEO to contend with. It does not help at all that he is such a gorgeous man that gets her all hot and bothered just by looking at him.

Then at the office Christmas party Trea and the new Ceo, Jay have their first encounter. Trea lays the ground rules and makes him agree that no one must know about them. That it must stay behind closed doors. Yet neither Trea nor Jay can stop the mutual attraction that happens between the two of them. From an encounter in the bar to the one in Jays office Trea thinks about Jay constantly but he wants her to give up the control and come to him with no terms. Jay tries hard to get Trea to understand this even trying his hand at seducing her. He tries to show Trea how they can compromise yet still enjoy and love eachother.

Can Trea relinquish her control or will she forever be afraid to let her guard down and just love someone? Will Jay be able to break through her walls and show Trea what trust means? I know I was cheering Jay on that he'd break down the walls around Trea's heart.

I was caught up in this story from the very first page. Becca Dale has written beautiful characters with lots of depth to them. Trea is a great strong character that many woman can identify with. Jay is definitely an alpha male with a sensual side. Their growing relationship was a great thing to read. With lots of spicy love making added to the mix, the author has the reader enjoying themselves and turning the pages to see just what will happen next between Jay and Trea. This wonderful story is not to be missed. If you enjoy a good flowing story with strong women and the men who will do anything to show their love to them, then this is definitely the book for you.

Hot Summer Nights by Various Authors

Hot Summer Nights by Lexie Davis, Crymsyn Hart, Dana Torrence
Publisher: Amira Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy
Length: Short Story (135 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Stephanotis

Tempted by Lexie Davis

All Ali wanted was a vacation, and her best friend’s beach house seemed like the perfect getaway. Packing up for a week of nothing but fun in the sun, the last thing she expected to find was temptation, in the form of a sexy surfer dude. He was a younger man, twelve years her junior, and definitely awakened a desire inside. And he offered the perfect opportunity for this busy doctor to indulge in a no-strings affair and walk away unscathed. But simple lust gets complicated, and Ali soon finds her heart on the line. Can her long-awaited vacation be the beginning of something more?

Hazy, Hot, & Hunted by Crymsyn Hart (Interracial)

In the humid nights of a Georgia summer, a wounded man stumbles onto Louisa’s front lawn. She stashes him in her root cellar and shoos the bounty hunter away. Tending to his wounds, something about him isn’t quite… human.

For months, Bowen’s been tracking the werewolf that killed his wife. After making Louisa breakfast, he swears to leave, but he can’t get her off his mind. Instead of departing, he secretly remains. Then, one day, the bounty hunter returns and threatens Louisa.

Will Louisa turn him over? Will Bowen ever find love again? Or will the bounty hunter destroy Bowen for good?

A Midsummer's Eve Kiss by Dana Torrence

Fairies don’t exist. That’s what Gwen thought until a lithe fae stepped into her world, captured her heart with his searing kiss, and shattered her soul by leaving her on Midsummer’s Eve. Now something—or someone—is calling her back to that fateful place. Can she risk not answering it?

After seventy years of searching, Tey has found his ruhýana, and in the unlikeliest of places, the mortal world. But his reputation has caught up to him, and before claiming her, he is enslaved for his crimes. Five years later, Midsummer’s Eve, will he be given the chance to find her?

Hot summer nights might be coming to an end, but here’s a way to make them last a bit longer. The book contains three stories. One thing I like about anthologies is you get to sample shorter works by authors unknown to you. All of these were new to me.

The first story is Lexie Davis’ Tempted. It’s contemporary and sure to heat up even a brisk fall night. Dr. Alessandria Aames, otherwise known as Alex is an emergency MD at Cedar Sinai Medical Center and needs some R&R. So friend, Nina offers Alex her beach house. What she hasn’t told Alex is the very sexy Sean Graham lives next door. Alex just happens to be 12 years older than Sean but you know from their very first meeting they’re perfect for another.

Story two is Crymysn Hart’s Hazy, Hot and Hunted. It’s a great paranormal tale about Louisa Hayworth who just happens to have a ghost as a roommate. If that isn’t enough; Bowen Merrin shows up at her door one night after he’s been wounded by bounty hunters. She hides him in her cellar thinking a trip to the ER is needed, but is surprised to see his body has healed itself. I won’t give away the twist of the story, but will just say it’s fun finding out the truth along with Louisa.

The last story is Dana Torrance’s A Mid Summer’s Eve Kiss that has Gwen Sweeney searching for her friend, Roger, only to stumble across Teyron ‘Tey’, who just happens to be a fairy and her soul mate. This is a part paranormal, part fantasy that proves that really hot heroes come in all shapes and forms.

If you’re a fan of longish short stories or want to squeeze in some reading time between chores or errands this is the ideal book. Amira Press did a great job of pairing contemporary and paranormal stories together. And if you only read contemporary and want to test drive a paranormal or vice versa Hot Summer Nights lets you do just that.

Jesse’s Girl by Karen Erickson

Jesse’s Girl by Karen Erickson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (51 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal play
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

He blew his chance once. Now he intends to blow her mind…

Rick blew it, and he’s never forgotten it. It’s bad enough his best friend Jesse showed his true colors and stole Blair, the girl Rick wanted. Rick never understood what Blair saw in the loser, and still kicks himself for letting her slip through his fingers. But what’s done is done.

Blair is horrified when she realizes that Jesse’s lies cost her the happiness she might have found with Rick. It’s been over with Jesse, but he won’t leave her alone. Help comes from a totally unexpected source—Rick.

When Rick sees them together, he’s confused but tells himself to get over it. Until Jesse lays a hand on her in anger. Now all bets are off. A second chance is all he’s ever wanted and he intends to use it…up against a wall, in his bed, over and over again.

Until she surrenders to the idea that she was meant to be his girl. Forever.

Warning: This book contains lots of delicious, mouth-watering romance and love makin’, including sex against the wall (a personal favorite) and the good ol’ standby, sex in bed.
Jesse is a friend, he’s always been a good friend of mine... well so Rick says, but is it real? And why did she pick Jesse over Rick? You’ll find the answers to these questions and more in Jesse’s Girl.

Ms. Erickson writes a great interpretation of the famous Rick Springfield song. It’s a fun trip down memory lane and manages to get the tune stuck in the reader’s brain. I enjoyed finding out what happened after Rick proclaimed that he wanted her back, kind of a throwback to old Hollywood movies. That being said, I would’ve liked to have seen a bit more conflict in the story. The issues the characters deal with are real, and easily identifiable by the reader, but I wanted the antagonist to have a bigger role than he did.

For the hero, I enjoyed Rick. I liked his nice, help everyone streak, but I almost felt that his desire to be the good guy made him the easily stepped on. I admired his need to hold back until Blair was ready – that took guts and fortitude.

As for Blair, she’s the product of rich parents and the victim of smooth talking jerks. She came across as a bit too helpless in spots. As the survivor of an abusive relationship, I could empathize with her fear of men, yet I wanted to see her sport a bit more backbone and say just what she wanted from the get-go.

The love scenes sizzled with passion. You knew these two people were in love, even when they weren’t ready to admit it. Blair’s willingness to trust Rick, I felt, was her redemption. Each time they were together, you felt the tenderness and desire as if you were a part of the story.

If you want a fun story to take a trip down memory lane, then Jesse’s Girl is the novella for you. I give this work 4 cherries.