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Friday, October 30, 2009

Sensuous by Aubrey Ross

Sensuous by Aubrey Ross
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Futuristic, Sci-fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (107 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Eglantine

Victor, an organic vampire, is intrigued by his father's determination to modernize Zoltan clan. He has experienced relationships driven by obligation in the past and now he wants a union fueled entirely by passion. Modern society seems less regimented, so he's excited to explore his new boundaries.

Tess Bronstein is in the process of opening X2, a sister club to Station X. After stumbling through one horrible relationship after another, she has given up on romance altogether. Victor attracts and fascinates her, but her unwanted fiancè has burst back into her life, so a fling with a vampire is not going to happen.

Captivated, yet challenged by Tess's resistance, Victor enlists the help of Seth, an arrogant elfin prince. Seth and Tess were betrothed at birth, and her refusal to acknowledge the contract only fuels Seth's determination to possess her. Victor knows they can unleash her sensuality if they find a way beyond her emotional reserve. Seth woos her by day. Victor seduces her by night. And when her barriers begin to crumble, they combine their efforts, shattering her preconceived ideas of what love is all about.

*Fans self* It’s such a delight to read an erotic novella after a spate of offerings claiming to be erotica but in fact being no more than hot romance. If the latter is what you’re looking for – hot romance – this is not it. What it is, is *fans self some more* a very well written, believable, super-hot *gets glass of ice water from fridge* erotic romance story.

Aubrey Ross is a veteran writer of erotic romance, and it shows. The narrative flows beautifully, so you forget you’re reading and you just enjoy the unfolding story. My only niggle was that I sometimes felt the scene shifted from one point to the other without warning or indication, and I had to backtrack a few sentences to see what I’d missed. The paranormal aspect holds little that’s new – vampires, elves, demons – but she handles these characters in a way that doesn’t leave the reader feeling it’s just another version of the 400,000 other paranormal books out there. Sensuous has a fresh quality to it.

I also picked up that this is one of a series, with references to former events. A quick look at Changeling Press’ website confirmed that this seems to be the third instalment in the Station X series. Though I didn’t feel lost, having not read the previous instalments, I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to read Ravenous and Dangerous before reading this one. Again, it’s not a must, but I think it would enhance the reader’s experience to read the whole series in order.

Kudos must go to the publisher for faultless editing. This is again something readers might know if they’ve read some of my previous reviews – I have many times lamented the ruination of a potentially good book by atrocious editing. Changeling Press shows, with Sensuous, how it SHOULD be done.

I wholeheartedly recommend Sensuous to those who like their reading hot enough to scorch the screen, but well written and perfectly edited.

Spaceport: Captured Rapture by Lexxie Couper

Spaceport: Captured Rapture by Lexxie Couper
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Action, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Shapeshifters
Length: Short Story (73 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Multiple Partners
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus

Hello. I am AP Enforcer, Raina Mynn. I don't believe in ghost stories, I don't believe in space dragons and I sure as shyte don't believe in destiny.

So why the hell am I getting all worked up over the lunatic on the moon's surface who sent me to sexual heaven with just one brutal, arrogant kiss? A lunatic in a gorgeous body with blazing eyes who tells me he's a dragon shifter and I am his to claim? A lunatic who makes me hotter than all the hells and wetter than the widest seas? A lunatic who believes I am his destiny and will stop at nothing to make me his?

Why do I feel like everything he's saying is true? And why won't my body stop craving his touch?

Dragon shifter? You're kidding, right? Right?

Shyte, I'm in so much trouble.

Counting the book Spaceport: Captured Rapture, there are now twenty-two Spaceport stories that have been written and I can honestly say, keep them coming. I found Captured Rapture to be a fascinating look at a unique situation. What would you do if you found out that you were one of the only two left of a race and never knew the other existed?

Raina Mynn (Rai’nia) is an Allied Planet Enforcer who with her partner, Franz M’x, is hunting a dealer on the planet Adana. Raina comes off as a tough cookie who doesn’t let anyone push her around but my heart bled for the poor orphan who was shuffled from orphanage to orphanage as she was growing up. Raina meets Torr on Adana’s second moon when he seems to attack her.

Torr is a Wyverian. The last male dragon shifter who survived the annihilation of his race when he was just a boy along with Rai’nia, who was just a baby at that time. Torr has been calling for Rai’nia, who he says is his mate. I loved how Torr told Rai’nia that their souls speak to each other. The depth of feeling contained in those words made me realize that his love for her is forever. A true hero in my eyes.

There were a few subplots wrapped within this tightly written, action filled book. I enjoyed how Raina and her partner Fraz M’x set up a sting operation for the dealer who they were hunting. My heart was in my throat when things went bad. I found Fraz, the snakelike Bo'aa, to be such an interesting character that I would love for him to have his own story.

I wanted more of Rai’nia and Torr and hope that there will be many more Spaceports to come. This was one series that I can highly recommend reading and hope to do so for many more stories in the future.

Playing With Fyre by Mina Carter

Playing With Fyre by Mina Carter
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (62 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Gillyflower

When you play with Fyre, you just might get burned.

Raelyn Borne has a fiery passion to save her home. Unfortunately, lawyer Logan Fyre, is as ruthless an opponent as they come. With him, she can’t bribe or threaten her way out of this one.

When backed into a corner, Raelyn has a tendency to get sassy. And now she's desperate enough to enter into a dangerous game with Logan.

Does she have the strength to play with Fyre -- without getting burned?

Warning: Hot, ruthless lawyer, scorching sex and a woman with a secret. Chocolate cake optional.

Playing With Fyre is a contemporary fairy tale in which all the pieces fall into place, especially if you are willing to suspend belief.

Raelyn Born is a small town woman who owns a massage and aromatherapy business in the gatehouse of an estate that Logan Fyre, a high-power lawyer dabbling in property development wants to turn into an upscale resort. Rae’s business is new and struggling and she’s having trouble keeping up with her mortgage. She overextended herself to buy the gatehouse, which she has loved since she was a little girl.

Fyre’s firm has been sending threatening letters to Rae and even went so far as to buy the bank that holds the note on her home in an attempt to get her to sell the gatehouse. Finally Logan comes to take on “Mr. Born” in person. When these two meet, sparks fly. Their animosity is almost as immediate and intense as their attraction. Leaving abruptly in the wake of more threats and an unexpected--and unexpectedly passionate--kiss, Logan is in an auto accident that leaves him without his memory and the hospital believing Rae is his wife. Rae plays along in an attempt to save her home. Thus begins a mutual campaign of deceit that requires the two to live as husband and wife in and out of the bedroom.

The story framework is somewhat contrived as well as derivative, but if you don’t examine it too closely, it’s fun to watch Raelyn and Logan spar. Each one has to roll with the numerous curve balls the other throws and neither backs down as they ratchet up the stakes. There is enough lovin’ to keep you warm on a cool autumn night.

While Rae and Logan are likable enough, neither one is particularly compelling. A number of editing issues, such as missing words, pulled me out of the story more than once. And the symmetry of the story is slightly too pat. Despite that, it is easy to get swept up in the story and root for Raelyn and Logan to end up together. Though the writing could use some work, I give Playing With Fire 3.5 cherries for being a fun romp.

Midnight Treat by Becca Simone

Midnight Treat by Becca Simone
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short (77 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by: Cherokee Rose

It's mistaken identity gone erotically awry during a Halloween costume party.

Josh Panetti breaks into an apartment Halloween night, thinking he’s fulfilling the sexual fantasy of a woman he just met at a costume party. Instead, he’s broken into Cassie Snow’s place. Cassie immediately realizes his mistake—she’d seen him at the party with her sexy upstairs neighbor. She should tell him he has the wrong apartment and the wrong girl. But she’s always the wrong girl. Would it be so terrible to be the right girl for just one night?

Mistaken identity has never been so erotically sweet.

Josh Panetti breaks into an apartment Halloween night, thinking he’s fulfilling the sexual fantasy of a woman he just met at a costume party. Instead, he’s broken into Cassie Snow’s place. Cassie immediately realizes his mistake—but she knows him. He is the man who groped her at the party. He was also hanging off the arm of her sexy neighbor who lives upstairs. It doesn’t take Cassie long to figure out what is going on. She knows she should tell him he has the wrong apartment and the wrong girl. But for as long as she can remember, she’s always the wrong girl. Would it be a bad thing to be the right girl for just one night?

Hot! Hot! Hot! Ms. Simone takes us on a journey I never expected just from reading the blurb on the back of this book. We are swept up into a tale of two people who are attraction to each other even though they doubt that the other character feels the same way. This story was steamy from the begging to the end.

This is first book of Ms. Simone’s that I have read but it won’t be my last. I love Ms. Simone’s writing style. If you aren’t already familiar with her work, I highly recommend this as a introduction. You won’t be disappointed!

Longfellow Seduced by Violet Summers

Longfellow Seduced by Violet Summers
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short (142 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by: Fern

Magnus Crowe learned the hard way never to trust a beautiful woman, so when his partner Silas discovers that someone is stealing from their club, The Dungeon, Magnus is totally opposed to calling in a woman to fix it. Particularly a Longfellow woman.

Prudence Longfellow comes from an ancient line of woman warriors. Longfellows are healers, historians and guardians...and in her case, forensic accountants. She agrees to track the missing money at The Dungeon with one condition: Magnus Crowe must stay far away from her.

That's a promise easier made than kept. Pru might look like a little mouse, but she's a warrior at heart, and her valor (not to mention the intoxicating scent of amber and vanilla that follows her around) are impossible for Magnus to resist. Magnus and Pru fight their attraction to each other for as long as they can, but even an ancient Vampire and a Longfellow can't beat fate.

But fate isn't the only thing conspiring against them. Magnus' and Silas' sire, the evil Contessa Allessandra DiCasca, has set a foul plan in motion to reclaim her boys. It is only with the power he finds in Pru's love that Magnus can gain the strength to defeat his creator and protect all he holds dear.

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

Are you in the mood for some vampire erotica with bite? If so, that’s easily remedied by picking up a copy of Longfellow Seduced. This is the kind of story that sates all of those naughty cravings, and you’ll devour those pages like a pint of your favorite ice cream.

Crude as he is, I loved Magnus Crowe, especially as you learn the truth about his violent past. He’s more of a brute than a suave Casanova, but even still, has retained a deep wealth of humanity. It’s not been an easy task, considering the cruelty of his maker. I think that’s what makes him all the more endearing and sexy. Magnus doesn’t mean any harm when he speaks out of turn. He simply is as rough and tumble as he projects. A true warrior if ever there was. Not to mention, who doesn’t love a Scot?

Prudence Longfellow, however, is the polar opposite of Magnus. She’s witty and clever, and addresses each task presented to her with the utmost professionalism. It was wonderful to watch as she emerges from her carefully constructed cocoon and meets Magnus head-on, rising to the challenge and, in the process, bringing the sexy vampire to his knees. There is no lack of deliciously hot sex. In fact, each encounter only kicks it up a notch. It’s a game of cat and mouse, only you won’t want either one to win.

The story ended with an obvious open for a sequel, and I really hope Ms. Summers continues writing about this unique and fascinating world. There is so much material, and in this short story alone, you are introduced to so many possibilities. The material is wonderfully written and fast paced, and when you come to the final page you’ll yearn for more. I would love to read more about Magnus’s blood brother Silas, and hope that perhaps I can find a book that shares his story in the future.

Vampire fans will love this one. There is just enough mystery to keep you guessing, and more than enough sexual heat to ensure you’ll wriggle in your seat. Be sure to put Longfellow Seduced on your must read list.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Maybe by J.M. Snyder

Maybe by J.M. Snyder
Publisher: eXcessica Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (48 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by: Jasmine

Josh and DeMar fell in love while working together on the set of Gimme Moor, a stage production with which they toured for six long months. But something happened between them during the tour, turning their idyllic romance into a strained relationship until Josh could no longer take it and he left.

Weeks after the show has closed, DeMar calls Josh from the airport to pick him up-he’s in town and wants to visit, despite the arguments that tore them apart. He wants a second chance, but Josh isn’t so sure DeMar’s the one to blame for their break-up.

Can they somehow find what it was they had together in the beginning before they lose it all?

Warnings: This title contains graphic language and a homosexual relationship but no sex.

Who’s really to blame when a relationship falls apart? When the love you professed for one another turns into constant bickering and reaches the point that neither of you can communicate with each other? When the silence is so unbearable that the only option is to leave because you’re better off without one another?

J.M. Snyder’s Maybe is a romantic story about love, commitment, and communication, or the lack thereof. Josh is so overwhelmed by the fact that he can’t emotionally reach his lover, can’t help him sort through the stressors that are troubling him that he decides the best thing to do is to leave. He doesn’t want to, but the alternative is unbearable, which is to stay and continue receiving the cold shoulder from DeMar because at this point they are no longer fighting. Although it may not have been constructive communication, at least when they were fighting, they were communicating. But toward the end of the tour for Gimme Moor, all of that ceased and there was nothing left but silence and doubt. Doubt in Josh’s mind that he was enough for DeMar; doubt that he could take care of his lover. So struggling to get past the anger and the pain, Josh decided that it was in the best interest of all parties involved to leave DeMar once the Gimme Moor tour closed. He could no longer watch DeMar laugh and be happy around everyone except him.

Does doing the right thing mean you have to sacrifice your happiness and settle for what comes along? Does it mean that you have to give up the one you love in order for that person to have a chance at happiness without you? These are some of the questions that Josh constantly struggle with after leaving DeMar. Questions… everyone who has ever been in love have asked themselves at one time or another. What could I have done differently to make it work? Is it just me that he’s unhappy with? Do I have what it takes to make this relationship last? Am I willing to do the work and take the risk?

Will he stay and fight for the love of his life, or will he soak his wounds and walk away for good. These are a few of the decisions that Josh will have to address when DeMar unexpectedly shows up on his door step weeks after the show has closed. Will they fall into the old routine of fighting and then making up and pretending as though nothing ever happened, will Josh stand his ground and get to the bottom of the conflict that threatens to destroy everything, or will they walk away as friends at best?

J.M. Snyder’s Maybe is an excellent portrayal of what occurs in real life. His characters come to life on the page and you can definitely identify with both of them. The conflict that exists is something that everyone who has ever been in love has experienced at one time or another. I loved how in the end, both characters had grown through self-reflection and acknowledged their roles leading to the breakup of their relationship. I also loved how the author allowed you into Josh’s mind and thought processes, while leaving you wondering at times what DeMar was thinking.

Ms. Snyder keeps you on edge wondering if each character will be able to communicate and get passed their differences, or if they’ll have to part and go their separate ways. Given the conflict, the ending of the story was realistic and I would love to see a follow-up story for these two characters. The title, Maybe, fits this story perfectly and one could take lessons from Ms. Snyder on how to write a short story that packs a punch and gets down to the heart of the matter. I would definitely buy it and recommend it to my friends.

Uncovered Thoughts by Christopher D. Golliday and Melissa A. Golliday

Uncovered Thoughts by Christopher D. Golliday and Melissa A. Golliday
Publisher: Hearts on Fire Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (286 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by: Xeranthemum

Six years after her explosive introduction into passion, Sasha Verochka is still haunted by what could have been and will never be. But right now, she can’t linger on that, because her little sister, Nadia has fallen prey to sex slave traffickers masquerading as a modeling agency. Now Sasha must move Heaven and Earth to save her.

Garrick Caldwell is a tall, sexy, shape shifting CIA agent, what’s wrong? He’s getting bored with it all. Suddenly, the mysterious beauty he once intimately explored is back in his life. A rash decision to help the telepathic Russian recover her sister throws them together in the most delicious of ways.

Together again by coincidence, neither understands the fierce attraction they have for one another. But will they decide whether to risk it all to ever find true, lasting happiness?

How do two spies fall in love, remain true to their respective countries and not do each other in? Seems an impossible sort of love doomed to fail. Yet the authors found a perfect balance in romance and suspense to keep this reader riveted.

We meet Sasha when she’s young and on her first mission. The crux of her current dilemma is her past is coming to bite her in the butt. It’s a wonderful idea; what happens when the person you double-cross in the line of duty, meets you on neutral ground? All kinds of questions about truth, trust, and where do you go from here? plague Sasha’s steps as soon as she meets the hunky but very ticked off victim of her past. Add in her little talent and a reader gets to enjoy some interesting internal verbal exchanges. I liked her strength, her vulnerability and her adventurous side.

Garrick is a well developed character with some internal paranormal angst that gives him an edge once he accepts all he is. And all his inner beast wants is Sasha. He’s professional, strong and realistic. He knows he can’t truly condemn her for doing the same as he. But he can surely help her in her current dilemma. I liked his beast, I liked his dialogue and I liked how he ends up loving Sasha.

The secondary characters provide conflict. There is betrayal, intrigue and Nadia, Sasha’s sister, is in hot water. There’s a couple of Russian mob villains; one who travels the shades of gray between really horrid and the lesser of two evils. It was a page turner to figure out which way the wind would blow.

Uncovered Thoughts is a gripping tale of suspense, a race against time, second chances and the challenge of rebuilding a relationship. The passion and intense attraction between Sasha and Garrick is poignant, extremely hot and emotional. Even the culmination of their romance is fraught with nail-biting intensity. If you are looking for romantic suspense with a paranormal bent, then this book should satisfy you on many levels. Well worth the time and full of enjoyment.

Rude Awakening by Veronica Chadwick

Rude Awakening by Veronica Chadwick
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (234 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by: Fern

His training didn’t cover how to win back a woman’s trust…

Jaimee Turner spent most of her life trying to be an unassuming pillar of virtue and submissive wife to a man who demanded nothing of her—especially physically. A year after his unexpected death, she’s finally finding her own footing, only to find herself thrown completely off balance by Lucas, a man who awakens desires she never knew she had.

FBI agent Lucas Grayson is relentless in his quest to bring down those who prey on the innocent. The Turner case is unlike anything he’s dealt with before, and so is the widow Turner. One thing’s for sure: Brent Turner was blind to think he could outsmart the Collective. And blind to the fact Jaimee was a gift he threw away.

The Collective has dirty fingers in all sorts of bad pies, and the FBI suspects Brent’s “accident” was anything but. Jaimee knows more than she thinks she does. Lucas would sell his soul to extract that information and keep her safe. But he can’t save her from the devastating betrayal she’ll have to face.

Warning: Some mild violence, a very sarcastic best friend, sneaky massages, inappropriate use of caramel and some occasional back door lovin’.

Rude Awakening is a story that has all of the essential elements: a relatable heroine, a kick-ass hero, a well developed plot with a slathering of suspense, and tons of heart. There is a wealth of emotion contained within, and you’ll fall hard for the Jaimee and Lucas–just as they fall for each other.
Jaimee is a woman you can’t help but like.

Following her husband’s death, she is attempting to put the pieces back together. She’s beautiful, but not in a plastic way. Full-figured and lush, she works out to be healthy, not stick thin. We first meet her at the gym, and it’s during this time we get to delve inside her mind. Her inner dialogue is dead-on hilarious, and at times, heartbreaking. She makes no apologies about who she is, but deep down, you can sense that desire to please that eats at her. It will tug at your heart time after time, and is a vital component of the story when she learns the truth about Lucas.

Lucas is equally memorable as an undercover agent that finds himself in a spot of trouble for the first time in his career. He’s always been able to seduce the women on his watch without falling for them, but there is something about Jaimee that brings out a protective part of him he wasn’t aware existed. He knows the luscious woman with the face of an angel is in extreme danger and that getting close is the best way to care for her, but damn if it doesn’t hurt like hell to know she’ll cut him loose when she learns of his betrayal. You’ll ache for Lucas as he makes love to this woman he’s falling in love with, even as you want to scream at him to be honest about the situation before he ruins everything.

While the entire murder/mystery involving Jaimee’s husband, Brent, is important, and is wonderfully plotted, it’s the romance between the protagonists that takes center stage. It’s like watching two trains that are set to collide. You know it’s going to hurt and will undoubtedly leave destruction, but maybe, just maybe, there will be enough of the wreckage left behind to begin anew and start again. Without spoiling, I would like to mention my absolute delight that Ms. Chadwick approached the resolution between Jaimee and Lucas in such a true and honest manner. There is no need to build more walls between two people that love one another, and she delivers beautifully.

If you’re looking for a super-steamy romance that has characters that will remain on your mind long after that last page is turned, be sure to put Rude Awakening on your TBR list. You won’t be disappointed.

Screen Shots 4: Submissive by Willa Okati

Screen Shots 4: Submissive by Willa Okati
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (60 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by: Cactus

Skyler, a new recruit to, has one mission in mind: to get Thom, the cool, collected lead cameraman, naked and sweaty between the sheets. Skyler's used to getting what he wants. So is Thom.

Skyler does know that Thom used to work on the other side of the camera. What he doesn't know is that Thom specialized in training submissives. If you ask Thom, what Skyler needs is a damn good spanking. If Skyler doesn't watch out, he's in for a lesson on how to mind his manners.

Lucky Skyler -- that's exactly what he gets.

Behind the scenes director Thom is nicknamed “The Priest” until newcomer Skyler pushes all the right buttons. Thom gives Skyler a chance to back away before pouncing on the sexy, pouty boy. Once Sklyer submits to Thom’s intense training, both men have the potential to win. This fourth installment of the popular Screen Shots series once again brings the men back to as their relationships on and off screen heat up and intermingle. Although Thom has always held himself apart from the men, now he can’t stop taking what he wants from Skyler.

Although I really enjoy this series of books, I wonder how many there will be as each successive book is fun, flirty, and enjoyable but seems to lack an emotional connection between the men. The various match-ups between actors are interesting and hot, but often light without a lot of emotion and meaning behind the pairing.

Here the pouty Skyler decides he wants Thom but Thom makes him wait with cryptic comments, dropped conversations, and hushed murmurs. There is an inherent secrecy around Thom that makes no sense considering his one big secret, he likes to dominate, is already exposed at the very beginning. Skyler not only wants to be dominated but is eager for it. I couldn't understand why all the warnings, concern and drama is set up but then goes nowhere.

Although the sex between the men is hot--scorching hot, as always in this series--it feels empty and routine. This book highlights the difference between men messing around and the romance of a committed relationship. Once Skyler and Thom have gotten together, Thom decides he now wants to have sex with all the other members of the company. Why he wants to do this makes no real sense and seems to exist to further this ideal that casual sex amongst male friends is an ideal to strive for. All throughout the series, this has been a weak point for me, as the concept and reasoning has never been fully and completely explained. Thus throwing this in yet again with men who haven’t been at all interested in such before a relationship and only now--once they've supposedly found love--want to have casual sex with their friends, just doesn’t make sense.

On the positive side though, the characters from before all make appearances and even Katherine, the token female, adds her comments to the bunch. The sex is hot, frequent and well-written and has a touch of BDSM but nothing too intense or overt, even as Thom is described as a very intense dominator. The light tone to the series is continued here and the concentration on the sex in its various combinations keeps the story moving quick and easy.

The author is a talented writer, but I’m hoping for a bit more romance and committment and a little less bed-hopping in the next installment. The lack of solid romantic connections amidst all the sex has this feeling less and less like real romance among young, hot porn stars and more like a group of friends messing around with each other. Even so, fans of the series will want to continue with this offering for the scorching hot sex and fun characters. Pick up a copy and see what you think.

Interlude 2 by Cassidy Ryan

Interlude 2 by Cassidy Ryan
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (13 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Loving couple Matthew and Olivia Stirling, from Interlude, are back. This time car trouble leads them to relive the night they became lovers. Steaming up the windows, they indulge in another hot, semi-public encounter.

Are you up to taking a look into what can happen in a public place?

Just as the name implies, Interlude 2 is a short-short story. Olivia and Matt’s car won’t start. However, maybe things aren’t so bad because their dilemma takes them down memory lane. Back to a time when they first met, got stranded in Matt’s car which led to a night of passion.

Can they relieve old times now that they’re a married couple?

Ryan does a first rate job of quickly introducing these two characters, making them real to us and very three-dimensional--not an easy task in such a short story. She's written a sexy quickie (please pardon the pun) that makes a perfect read when you have 10-15 minutes to spare. And I especially liked the twist in the ending of this fantastic tale.

I’m going to look for more of the Interlude stories by Cassidy Ryan.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Songbird by Maya Banks

Songbird by Maya Banks
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (103 pages)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Gillyflower

The voice of an angel, a husband who loved her -- she had it all…until a tragedy took it away.

A Linger story.

They called her their Songbird, but she was never theirs. Not in the way she wanted.

The Donovan brothers meant everything to Emily, but rejected by Greer and Taggert, she turned to Sean, the youngest. He married her for love, and she loved him, but she also loved his older brothers.

Her singing launched her to stardom. She had it all. The voice of an angel, a husband who loved her, and the adoration of millions. Until a tragedy took it all away.

Taggert and Greer grieve for their younger brother, but they’re also grieving the loss of Emmy, their songbird. They take her back to Montana, determined to help her heal and show her once and for all they want her. They’re also on a mission to help her find her voice again. Under the protective shield of their love, she begins to blossom… until an old threat resurfaces.

Now the Donovans face a fight for what they once threw away. Only by winning it—and her love—will their songbird fly again.

Warning: Explicit sex, ménage a trois, multiple partners, a committed polyamorous relationship, adult language, and sweet loving.

“Fear. Joy. Sadness. Hope. Love. …” Add steamy intimacy to this line from Songbird and you’ve got the perfect description of Maya Banks’ story. It’s one hell of an amazing and wonderful emotional rollercoaster.

Ms. Banks is a gifted storyteller and you are drawn in from the opening scene—shown, rather than told what is going on, through Emily’s eyes. Indeed, that first five-page chapter sets the stage for the entire story in a totally organic fashion—there is love, loss, a complicated history, complex feelings, running away as a coping mechanism and coming together to heal. It’s all there.

When we meet Emily she is painfully empty and the reason is clear, her beloved husband Sean, a childhood friend, was murdered before her eyes and she blames herself. Glimpses of many different moments from the past are beautifully interwoven with the story of the present as the story unfolds.

Sean’s two surviving brothers find Emily where she is hiding from the world, struggling just to exist, and they bring her home. Ms. Banks gifts us with a heartrending look at what it means to come home. Greer and Taggert love Emily, but they also grieve their lost brother and wrestle with guilt at being with his widow and uncertainty about whether Emily wants them. And Emily does want them, has always wanted them, but she first has to overcome her own sorrow and guilt. Their journey to one another unfolds in a fascinating and heart-wrenching story.

There is a bit of mystery and suspense that keeps the story moving forward nicely. A couple of villains make appearances and Emily’s father is an easy bad guy to hate. Her interaction with him on a trip to town prods her to clear up why she left.

But Songbird is really a love story, and Ms. Banks provides the richest portrayals of roiling feelings. The feelings themselves defy description, so there is no way I could try to describe Ms. Banks’ glorious prose. Better to let her words speak for themselves: “He kissed her like a man starving. He wasn’t gentle, and yet he was. She couldn’t explain it if she wanted. There was such an urgency. He devoured her lips, but there was such love and caring that tears burned her eyelids.” Really, does it get any better than that?

There were a couple of point of view shifts in the middle of one or two key scenes, but the shifts actually worked. In one, the characters are in that groggy state between sleep and wake, and in the other they are in the middle of an intense conversation about exactly what it would be like for the three of them to make a life – a family – together. Emily, Greer and Taggert go on an incredible journey in this story, so the POV shifts did not detract and could even have been intentional.
Songbird has it all. It is a classic story of grief, sorrow and coping—together and alone—with a deep healing theme, as only Maya Banks can tell it. This means there is also plenty of steamy heat and a nice bit of suspense, all wrapped up in a beautiful package. I would go and buy Ms. Banks’ backlist after reading this story, but Ms. Banks is already an auto-buy for me and I own everything she has ever written. If you don’t, why don’t you? Start with Songbird, but be prepared, you’ll stay up all night reading it and you’ll need plenty of tissues!

Bondage Betrayal by Lila Dubois

Bondage Betrayal by Lila Dubois
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (84 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Bondage, Domination, Restraints, Spanking, Oral, Anal, Clamps
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by: Jasmine

Five years ago a terrible betrayal tore Roman and Savannah apart. Roman’s burgeoning interest in the world of BDSM and his desire to master Savannah lead them deep into the heart of sexual fetish. A weekend away at the house of a high powered Dom was supposed to be the next step in their exploration of their Dominant/submissive relationship, but when their host convinces Roman to turn Savannah over to him for training, their love is stretched beyond the breaking point. Savannah, believing that Roman has given her away forever, flees, but not before suffering at the hands of the sadistic Dom. Roman knows nothing of what she’s suffered, and believes Savannah left him because of his desires.

When they meet again five years later will the lies that separate them keep them apart, or will remembered love be enough to bring them back together?

Contains: Bondage, Domination, Restrains, Spanking, Oral, Anal, Clamps

Can you forgive someone who was suppose to love you, but instead betrayed you, your love, and your trust by putting you in the hands of a masochistic Dom who wanted nothing more than to break your will, your spirit, and turn you into a slave?

In an effort to appease his mushrooming interest in the world of BDSM and his desire to master her, Savannah agrees to go away with Roman for the weekend to the house of a high powered Dom. But what happens when what she perceives as a game threatens to destroy not only her very existence, but also her relationship with Roman? What happens when the love of your life’s ego supersedes his better judgment and puts you in harms way?

Roman loves Savannah with everything in his being. She’s his world, the very air he breathes and he would die for her. But what happens when his interest and desire leads them into the heart of sexual fetish and costs him the love of his life? Can he come to terms and make amends for the bad choices he made five years ago? Or, was it all a big misunderstanding…a bad dream? Only time will truly tell.

Although Savannah is initially portrayed as a young heroine desperately in love with the man of her dreams, she’s anything but weak. She can be feisty, especially when the reader is allowed inside her head. Savannah’s instincts are dead when judging people, especially their host, Mr. Wilcox. Unfortunately, this is something our hero, Roman, is lacking. In fact, Savannah’s so much in love that she’s willing to concede to things that make her initially uncomfortable. But as she strives to please her Master during their weekend of sexual fetish, she embraces her sexuality and the world of BDSM while learning more about herself, Roman and the nature of their relationship. At least, she believes this is what’s happening.

The longer the weekend progresses, the more Roman doubts he can give her what she needs as a submissive. Blinded by his love for her and deceived by their host, Roman believes that the only way Savannah could ever be happy is to be trained by Mr. Wilcox, who portrays himself as a real Dom, but in actuality is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. When Savannah confirms his suspicions and doubts regarding his ability to please her as Dom; broken-hearted, he leaves her with the sadistic Dom, truly believing it’s what she wants.

After realizing his mistake and searching for Savannah for five years, their paths cross through a mutual business venture. When all of the feelings from the past re-emerge and bombard both Savannah and Roman, you can feel the anger, the pain and the love that radiates from them. There are times it’s almost suffocating not only for them, but also for the reader. Their memories of the weekend at the vicious Dom’s home are so vivid that they made me weep for Savannah, want to do serious harm to the Dom and yell at Roman for being such an idiot.

This book had me on pins and needles from the beginning and was so intense that I read it in one sitting. Ms. Dubois has definitely done her research and put you into the world of BDSM. Her portrayal of how things can go wrong when you’re dealing with a brutal, evil, lying, manipulative Dom, a heroine who thinks the weekend is about having some fun, great sex, and pleasing the man she loves, and a hero who’s easily manipulated and naive to the world of BDSM made me want to jump into the book and save Savannah myself.

My heart went out to Savannah and Roman, believe it or not. They were simply victims of a malicious man’s plot to control someone that would have never been his. Mr. Wilcox (as I refer to him because he was definitely not a real Dom, one who cares, loves, and cherishes his submissive and does what’s best for her) is a villain you’ll definitely love to hate. Two thumbs up to Ms. Dubois for her well-developed plot, as well as the development of her characters.

This story is heart wrenching, intense, exhilarating, and had me begging for more. It is definitely not a book for the faint at heart. You can’t help but feel the love, pain and anguish that Savannah and Roman experience. I loved the ending because it was realistic given the trials and tribulations this couple had experienced throughout the book. This story is a true testament that true love can survive with the help of good friends. If and only if, you can get past all of the lies, a vicious Dom and truly listen to what’s in your heart.

I enjoyed the story immensely, will definitely read it again and recommend it to my friends.

The Family Jewel by Raina James

The Family Jewel by Raina James
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short (100 Pages)
Other: Multiple Partners, Voyeurism, Public Exhibition, F/M/M/M/M, M/F/M, M/M
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by: Jasmine

On Kalaria, native-born women are a rarity, and Kalaria's Council of Elders is ever-vigilant that only the best and the strongest clans qualify for a precious Jewel.

Jerran, Loran, Mikah and Kai -- leader, healer, trader and warrior -- have worked long and hard to win a Jewel, despite Jerran's "taint" of off-world heritage. Beautiful and seductive, trained from girlhood to be all things to her mates, Shantay is everything half-brothers Jerran and Kai and lovers Mikah and Loran desired.

But jealousy and greed are universal. Because of the machinations of a vindictive courtesan, Shantay is ripped away from her mates by a slaver eager to cash in on the value of a rare and priceless Kalari Jewel, rumored to be the ultimate sex slave.

Her men will follow her into space itself to reclaim The Family Jewel.

What’s that old Shakespearean saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”? Shakespeare might have had Zahra in mind when he contemplated the meaning behind the above statement.

In Raina James’ The Family Jewel, Zahra is the vindictive courtesan who conspires against the Black Moon Clan to rip them of Shantay, their Family Jewel. Thrown into a life of slavery against her will and angered by her inability to free herself from the chains that bind her to the evil slave trader, Killian Osphren and Madam Ourtay’s brothel, Zahra’s jealousy, greed, and misperceptions about the life of Kalarian women lead her down a path of destruction. The only question that remains is will it be the destruction of the Blackmoon Clan or the destruction of Zarha? Only time will tell.

The Family Jewel is a book that every man should read when learning how to treat a woman. The men are loving, caring, respectful, and most importantly true to their word. Although the sex is scorching hot, the men cherish Shantay, their Family Jewel, in all the ways a woman should be cherished instead of treating her like a servant or a slave. The emotional bond that develops between all of the characters brings the story full circle. I love how the words dominant, stubborn, and possessive are used to describe Jerran, Loran, Mikah, and Kai, even though their actions prove time and time again that Shantay is the most precious woman in the world to them. In addition, I love how the men welcome her presence and seek her advice on matters that not only affect them individually, but also affect their polyamorous relationship.

Our heroine Shantay is anything but weak. She’s wise beyond her years, has the patience to learn what each of her men need and is able to provide it without losing herself. When she is captured, the reader is able to witness her feistiness and unwillingness to fold at the hands of a malevolent slave trader. But most importantly, never does she lose her faith and trust in her men that they will come for her and when they do, her actions reflect the Queen that she truly is to not only to her men, but also to the Black Moon Clan.

This book warms my heart and puts a smile on my face. The words flow over the pages, smooth, like butter over bread. The scene with Killian Osphren, the malicious slave trader, is so intense that it had me biting my fingernails wondering if her men would get there in time to save her. The ending is awesome and the reason I can’t elaborate more is because I’m afraid that I’ll give too much away. But I will say that Ms. James throws the reader a couple of curve balls toward the end that make you respect and fall in love with the heroine even more just by her actions. So for those of you who have not read Ms. James’ The Family Jewel, you need to finish this review and go purchase it immediately. I’m still smiling as I type this review because of how wonderful The Family Jewel made me feel. The spirit and warmth of the heroine and heroes have the ability to ease whatever troubles you’re struggling with and bring a sense calm, peace, warmth, and love to your heart.

This is definitely a book that you will read more than once and I’ll definitely recommend it to my friends. Two thumbs up to Raina James.

The Secret She Keeps by Jennifer Leeland

The Secret She Keeps by Jennifer Leeland
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (54 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by: Fern

Tessa Aden has it all...a great job, good friends, and a fantastic boyfriend. She just has one problem, she's never had an orgasm during sex. When Zac misinterprets an Instant Message from a friend as a complaint about his technique in the bedroom, she'd rather let him walk away than admit her dark desires.

Fearing she wouldn't understand his dominant nature, Zac Shandler gave up the BDSM lifestyle to be a part of Tessa's vanilla life. Yet he seems to be losing her anyway. Will Zac put his heart on the line to claim Tessa's love and finally force her to reveal the secret she keeps?

The Secret She Keeps is a fascinating story of two people with secret desires that are too afraid to reveal themselves for fear of rejection. Though D/s tendencies of the BDSM lifestyle is the catalyst in this story, the general theme can be applied to all areas of a burgeoning relationship. When you have a taste for something–vanilla or otherwise–that could possibly set you apart from the one person you love, when do you decide it’s worth the risk of losing everything?

Tessa is someone that hides the truth about her sexual preferences to the point that she’s never achieved climax with a man. One time she stepped outside of her safety net, and the consequent fall was more than enough to put her back in line. She loves Zac, but isn’t willing to shoulder the shame of rejection by revealing that she has to have pain with her pleasure.

Zac is a man that has hidden his dom nature from Tessa. He doesn’t want to lose her by frightening her, but as someone that knows when a woman orgasms, he’s aware she’s not satisfied. Desperate, he decides it’s time to take off the gloves by revealing his true sexual nature. As a dom, he can bring her pleasure, but only if she’s willing to be open and honest.

The title indicates this is Tessa’s story, but equal time is devoted to Zac. They both have scars from the past, but together will find a way to move past them. That is the heart of the story, and I have to say, is wonderfully written and presented. You’ll zip right through this story and wish there were more at the end of the rainbow. I can’t wait to read more from Jennifer Leeland.

This is a wonderful BDSM short. If you’re a fan of the genre, don’t miss The Secret She Keeps.

The Warder’s Elf by Viola Grace

The Warder’s Elf by Viola Grace
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short (62 Pages)
Other: M/F, light BDSM
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewer: Holly

Alora was bound by her ancestor's promise to become a bride for a Dark Elf lord. Caldur was that lord. Having waited in his underground caverns for centuries, he finally made his move. Grabbing the wrong Warder the first time--The Warder's Unicorn--had the interesting effect of bringing Alora to him, but that one error would cost him.

Bringing Alora into the full bloom of what her bloodline carried would be a challenge, but he has ways of keeping her from fighting him all the way. With his help, the Magic of the Warders would come again to Realm.

Alora Negri is shocked when her cousin Sephany is kidnapped from the bachelorette party for one of the Warder girls. It should have been her, taken to fulfill the promise made long ago to a lord of the Dark Elves by her great great grandmother to be his bride. Sephany was taken because of her resemblance to Alora, and Alora knows she must honor the obligation her family made so long ago.

Once she goes to the Dark Lord and sets things right, Sephany leaves and Alora is set to begin her new life with Caldur, the dark elf. Alora thinks he is the most gorgeous being she has ever seen, the epitome of tall, dark and definitely handsome. Alora has been protected ever since her parents were killed in an auto accident, and she goes to Caldur as an innocent young woman. Can Alora adapt to life in the underground realm of the dark elves, or will she miss family and friends too much?

Once again, Viola Grace has written a tale of humor and romance in her own special way. Alora is a shy and quiet young lady, but one determined to right the wrongs committed by her family so long ago. When she is introduced to the joys of sex with her dark elf, she not only enjoys it, she finds that it unlocks magic in her. She is the first Warder in several generations that seems to be breaking the curse of the Warders.

Caldur is a surprise, in that I had thought he would be more bitter after waiting so long, but it seems he saw Alora in his dreams, and found that she was the Warder destined to be his bride, not her ancestor. Both are strong, well defined characters, but that is usually the case with Viola Grace’s people.

I love Viola’s Warders, because you never know what they will do next. If you are looking for a wondrously humorous and sexy reading experience, you can’t go wrong with The Warder’s Elf.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Seeking Kiss by Eden Bradley

The Seeking Kiss by Eden Bradley
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (61 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, M/M, Ménage, Voyeurism, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Fern

Two vampires, one woman, an eternity of love and desire…if only she’s strong enough…

Midnight Playground, Book 1

London 2069
For as long as Nissa has known about Midnight Playground, the most exclusive of a world-wide network of vampire sex clubs, she has yearned to gain entrance—and to become one of them. Orphaned and alone from a young age, she has nothing to lose and nothing to stop her from indulging in her darkest fantasies.

Hex and his maker, Aleron, have enjoyed many play partners at the club and have often shared in the euphoria of the Seeking Kiss, that sensual blood exchange between vampires and their lovers. But Nissa’s beauty, intelligence and strength is a siren call he can’t resist.. His desire for her and her willingness to let herself be drawn by their mental pull compels Hex to consider offering to her something he’s never given another mortal– the treasured Turning Kiss.

The beautiful vampire pair entice Nissa into an intimate sexual realm beyond her wildest dreams—and she revels in it. But when she finds herself falling for one of the powerful duo, it could mean the end of her deepest fantasies. Or a new beginning she never dared to imagine…

Warning: Three-way vampire sex, voyeurism, exhibitionism, anal sex, oral sex, simultaneous anal and oral sex (oh, yes, it’s possible!), drinking blood, drinking blood while having sex, political unrest , and a hot French accent. Keep a fan and some holy water nearby!
The Seeking Kiss offers a very different concept and approach to the vampire genre. Immortals exist in a future where riots, war, and violence have changed society as a whole. In this reality, there are places referred to as the Midnight Playground; clubs that cater to the vampire population. They are exclusive establishments, with only those chosen or invited allowed inside. And once a human turns thirty, admittance is not permitted. Within the walls, anything goes–sexual games and blood drinking being the norm. The humans that venture here hope to experience the Seeking Kiss, a vampire bite that brings consummate pleasure. But even more desired is the Turning Kiss, which will change a human to a vampire.

Let me start by saying, I could envision this somewhat apocalyptic reality. It’s dark, it’s dirty, and it’s dangerous. You won’t just walk through the city streets via the page. You’ll step right inside and take the ride first hand. I love stories with the power to transport you into another world, and this one does exactly that.

Though Nissa is the primary character in the story, I fell in love with Hex and Aleron. Their relationship is based off of mutual adoration and respect, but due to a twist revealed about half-way in, you’ll discover it’s doomed to be bittersweet. I also enjoyed the interaction between Hex and Nissa, who are destined for one another. The chemistry between all three is intense, and the sex is so hot you’ll melt in your seat and steam like a sauna. The only thing I wished for was a bit more back history with Aleron and the tragedy that has stained his life. As there are two future installments, I imagine that the reveal will come in the future.

Vampire lovers the world over will adore this one. Be sure to put The Seeking Kiss on your TBR pile.