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Friday, November 13, 2009

Geography of Murder by P. A. Brown

Geography of Murder by P. A. Brown
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (273 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Spanking, Questionable Consent
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Phlox

Jason Zachary finds himself with a map straight into a murder rap when he runs afoul of Santa Barbara detective Alexander Spider, charged with the murder of a man he's never met.

A well-constructed, gripping mystery intertwined with a believable, engaging roller-coaster romance is rare; this novel manages it all without losing a beat. Both stylish and gritty, with a noire flair and Philip Marlow overtones, the tension ramps up from the first page where the reader is dropped directly into the crime scene along with our hapless and, at that point, clueless hero.

Brown’s shared, first-person narrative works well for this piece, the chapters alternating between Jason and Alex, which allows the reader to ride along through each crisis, each shift and revelation, through the eyes of these two very different personalities. Both heroes are flawed, carrying scars and distrust like shields, keeping them safe from connecting in any meaningful way with another person. Alex keeps the world at bay, a Dom’s Dom, who picks up boys for a night or two of fun and then tosses them away without regret. Jason drifts aimlessly through life, hiding behind a smart-ass persona, often in a drug-induced haze, convinced he has no future and no right to think of one.

First-person narrative often grates on my nerves – it must be done well, with distinct, recognizable voices and must still pull the reader in completely without becoming self-absorbed. The author pulls off this difficult bit of literary magic so well, I forgot about the point of view issue within the first two chapters.

This story roils with sexual tension and physical peril while keeping the main characters’ emotional journeys front and center. Feel free to get all mushy and teary-eyed at the ending. After this wild ride, you’ll feel it well deserved.

Real Men Last All Night by Lora Leigh, Lori Foster, Cheyenne McCray & Heidi Betts

Real Men Last All Night by Lora Leigh, Lori Foster, Cheyenne McCray, Heidi Betts
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (360 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Today’s top erotic romance writers come together for a steamy read of four sexy stories about women who discover that real men last all night...

Luring Lucy by Lori Foster

All Lucy was looking for when she went to her vacation home was in innocent fling to quell the yearning she had felt since her husband died four years ago. She never expected her longtime friend Bram to lure her into a love affair so hot.

Cooper’s Fall by Lora Leigh

Former ranger turned bar owner Ethan Cooper never expected to get an eyeful of prim Miss Sarah Fox from his attic window one hot summer afternoon. But now his blood is on fire for the delicious little minx.

The Edge of Sin by Cheyenne McCray

Zane Steele lives a life of extraordinary danger as a government agent and has never let anyone get too close. Then he sees the one woman who changes his life forever.

Wanted: A Real Man by Heidi Betts

Claire left her high school sweetheart Linc, in search of a better life. Ten years later she needs his help as a U.S. Marshal to find her missing daughter…Linc's daughter. Reeling with the knowledge of a daughter he’s never known, Linc sets out to claim what’s his.

What do you have when you have that one man (or in this case, those four men) you can’t get out of your mind? You seek him (or them) out over and over again. To find out what? That Real Men Last All Night.

Talk about steamy! Whoa... yeah, this collection requires a cold shower. When you want a fun set of stories packed with passion, tension, and great characters, then you want to read Real Men Last All Night.

We start with Cooper’s Fall, by Lora Leigh. Now I must admit, I love Leigh’s work and know when I open one of her books, I will come away fanning myself and totally happy. This story doesn’t disappoint. Ethan finds Sarah delectable, but he’s not sure how to get to know her. I liked the dichotomy of Sarah, she’s a minx, but she’s also still prim. Who doesn’t have multiple sides to their personality? And the love scenes? Very nice! Unforgettable.

In Luring Lucy by Lori Foster, we meet Bram and Lucy. She married his best friend, but when the friend passes away and Lucy’s ready to try again, Bram isn’t going to let the chance slip away again. Although this story is a reissue, I thought it was a great addition to the collection. I liked reading about two more mature characters. Foster writes them with a freshness that shows that love comes no matter what the age. I loved this story.

Can a woman be sexy as she licks an ice cream cone? If it’s Willow and the man is Zane in Cheyenne McCray’s The Edge of Sin, then the answer is yes. I liked how Zane, a by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy is stopped in his tracks by Willow. What woman doesn’t want to have that one man who sees her and has to have her? I loved the non-stop action in and out of the bedroom in this story. You won’t want to miss this great author.

In Wanted: A Real Man, by Heidi Betts, we meet Claire and Linc. Claire and Linc had a thing once before. The result of that fling was a child. When Claire walks away to make Linc’s life easier, she only complicates everything. But it kicks the conflict up a bunch. But what happens when a man decides he’s not ready to lose the one(s) that got away? He decides to be Claire’s real man. How sexy! This is yet another story you won’t forget.

If you want a set of steamy stories or even an introduction to four authors you might not know, then you need to read Real Men Last All Night. I give this collection 4 ½ cherries.

Love Bites by Jade Falconer

Love Bites by Jade Falconer
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (33 pgs)
Other: M/M , Voyeurism
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Matthew goes to a Halloween party and meets Peter, who is dressed as a vampire. Matthew was lonely after losing his boyfriend, but what Peter wants to give him may be more than Matthew can handle. But Matthew can’t stay away; when he learns Peter’s secret will he run? Or want more?

Matthew is still grieving the loss of his ex. Peter is determined to find that one man who accepts him for who he is – a vampire. What happens when these men meet on a steamy dance floor? Love Bites.

Jade Falconer writes an interesting short story of two men who might not meet otherwise, but they are totally suited for each other. The plot is brisk, keeping the reader involved throughout. I like the dominant attitude of Peter playing off the strong yet submissive Matthew. The subplot adds an emotional dimension to this work that makes it more than a simple boy meets boy and falls in lust story.

Although I thought Peter was a bit harsh on Matthew, I realize that the relationship worked for them. The intimate acts, both in public and in private solidify their devotion to each other. They have their differences, but those differences make them unique and perfect for each other.

The love scenes are quite hot and pull the reader right in. Even when they weren’t sure if they were in love, you could feel the passion simmering between them.

If you want a fun love story with gothic undertones, then you want to read Love Bites. I give this work 4 cherries.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Red Alert by Lynne Connolly

Red Alert by Lynne Connolly
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (170 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Gillyflower

Megan meets Sandro at the lowest time of her life—when she thinks her crazy nightmares are symptoms of the tumor that is killing her. But the sexy dragon shape-shifter tells her the dreams are telepathic messages from his missing brother. More than telepathy flares between them. Megan and Sandro burn up the night with sizzling passion, but Sandro won’t commit, and Megan wants more than a fling.

When Sandro rescues Megan from a dangerous situation, she gives him the key to locate his brother, but he wants far more from her. He wants her body, all ways, all day, all night.

But he knows he can’t promise Megan any kind of forever.

You will be at red alert while reading steamy, action-packed Red Alert. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and, if you’re like me, up all night to find out what happens next.

The STORM series is related to Ms. Connolly’s excellent Department 57 books, but in that series Talents are still concealing themselves from the public. In this first installment in Lynne Connolly’s wonderful new STORM series, “Talents” have just come out of hiding. Talents include sorcerers, shifters, vampires and, like our hero, Alessandro (Sandro) Gianetti, dragons. Although Talents have always existed, often working secretly with governments, only now has their existence been revealed to the general public. Once Sandro, in full, 452-year old glorious dragon form, flies over Central Park, the cat – or dragon - is well and truly out of the bag.

As the story opens, sassy – hell, kick-ass – Megan Armstrong is about to undergo tests and surgery. She’s been suffering from hellish nightmares in which she hears and sees a dragon shape-shifter being brutally tortured. The doctors tell her she has a brain tumor, but something about them does not seem right. Fortunately, Sandro gets to her just in time. Though Megan has no idea know who Sandro is, she has a split second to make a decision before she is sent under the knife. Trusting her heart and her gut, she chooses Sandro. Megan has been only vaguely following the news about Talents, and she is a little stunned to flee the hospital on the wings of his dragon.

It turns out Sandro’s brother, Ricardo, has been captured by the International Research and Development Clinic (IRDC), an organization that believes Talents are mere animals to be caged, except they want to poach their secrets for “humans” first. It is Ricardo, being tortured by his captors, that Megan has been seeing in her dreams. And even though most Talents can link telepathically, for some reason she – a mere “mortal” – is the only one who can hear or see Ricardo.

Sandro takes Megan home to protect her from the IRDC and to introduce her to his team: Johann Kozak, a vampire (and, from a peek at Ms. Connolly’s website, the hero of Book 3), Carilla Toledo Vargas, a jaguar shape-shifter, and Chase Maynord, a powerful and sexy sorcerer, the hero of Book 2, Red Heat. Most Talents have banded together under the auspices of the Society of Talented Officers Resisting Mistreatment (i.e., STORM), led by the diminutive but fierce (and fiercely self-controlled) Anne Reynolds. (As an aside, I wonder if Anne Reynolds will get her own story). In addition to these Talents and Ms. Reynolds, Megan’s best friend, roommate and one-time lover Jack rounds out the delightful cast of secondary characters.

Sandro, while a thoroughly modern man who likes his toys, especially fast cars, has a certain very attractive elegance and charm from a time gone by. He wants to protect Megan – from the IRDC, from seeing more gruesome images of torture, from himself and his secrets. Megan, a librarian and history buff, is thrilled to learn more about changes that have taken place over the years – historic and more recent. And while librarians may typically be mild-mannered and demure, Megan is anything but. Megan has an inner core of strength. She masks her fatigue; refuses assistance; and is generally too gutsy to appear needy. And she is pretty darn good at karate/self-defense. She impresses Sandro with her stamina – in his (somehow endearingly) sexist way, he notes that she has more stamina “even” than many men. Megan is less confident in her own appeal, and she responds to Sandro’s appreciation of her with increasing lusciousness.

Sandro’s and Megan’s ability to communicate telepathically is not only convenient when fending off attackers, it is also delicious in their more private moments. You can almost feel Sandro’s mental caresses of Megan, and when she channels Sandro and he’s like a “ghostly penumbra” around her, the painterly image appears before the reader’s eyes. I am jealous of all the levels on which they can communicate. And oh my (fanning self), does it enhance their intimacy and mutual enjoyment. These Talents are hot, with skills that most certainly extend to the bedroom, and the kitchen and the … well, you get the idea. I should note that there is some very minor shape-shifting in some of the steamy scenes. It is tastefully done and I doubt it would trigger anyone’s ick factor, even the very squeamish.

While Sandro and Megan must overcome numerous external obstacles, such as some health issues and the continued attempts on their life from the IRDC, many of the biggest hurdles to their relationship come from within. As Megan and Sandro peel away the layers, she is worried that as a mere mortal, she can never be enough for him. And Sandro cannot and does not care to isolate the man from the dragon. In an earlier time, he was married, and his wife – a human who lived a normal human lifespan – could not accept his dragon past. He’s worried that Megan will feel the same way. He’s also extremely proud and stubborn. He cannot promise Megan forever, so in a fit of misguided nobility he pushes Megan away. But since he doesn’t tell her why he is pushing her away, she experiences it as rejection, and both of them suffer.

The only angle of the story I did not care for is the idea that if Megan loses another love (like Sandro, she has love and lost) she will have a half-life, likely spent in and out of psychiatrists’ offices and hospitals. It not only seemed overly dramatic, it did not quite fit the tough, independent woman who can handle herself in a street brawl, refuses to admit she needs help, and won’t be left behind on any aspect of the mission.

Otherwise, Ms. Connolly sets a lovely scene and she has created a fabulous world of tomorrow, with very appealing main characters. She tackles some big themes in this story, including prejudice and ageism – and the desire to go out in a blaze of glory rather than deteriorate to infirmity. An additional theme addresses the issues Talents in positions of power such as elected officials in Congress must face as they debate legislation to determine whether their status will be changed to that of animal. None of these larger themes detract from the action and romance of the story. If anything, it makes it richer – as the characters deal with the full spectrum of powerful emotions -- love, lust, fear, pain and hate.

The introduction to Chase Maynord, the hero of Book 2, is deftly handled and we want to know more about him. (He is yummy in Red Heat, but that is another review). A romance among secondary characters also adds to the layers of the story. The dialogue is snappy and intelligent. The editing is not as tight as it could be, but it is not terribly distracting. A story about such mythical creatures in an alternate reality could have strained credibility, but instead Ms. Connolly draws the reader right into her world seamlessly. I highly recommend Red Alert and I am thrilled to know that there will be at least a third book in the STORM series, and hope there will be more after that.

Forbidden: The Revolution by Samantha Sommersby

Forbidden: The Revolution by Samantha Sommersby
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (153 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Fern

Experience the magic…

Forbidden, Book 3

Twenty-five years ago Dell Renfield’s father started a revolution, and Dell plans to finish it. Sorcerer, vampire, secret weapon, he’s spent a lifetime training for his fate. The one distraction he isn’t equipped for? Special Agent Alexandria Sanchez. A woman he desires above all others—and a woman he dare not get close to.

Alex’s love life is already cursed. She doesn’t need the added complication of a sexy new partner. Especially one who’s touch is literally magic. Posing as his lover for the sake of their investigation is pure hell—and pure heaven. Now if she can just get him to quit casting spells long enough to prove she’s capable. And keep her hands to herself in the process.

As they infiltrate a dangerous culture, temptation becomes too much to resist. And their torrid affair triggers an epic battle for power that could forever alter the future for them…and their kind.

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

Warning: This book contains spectacular magical ass-kickings, copious amounts of blistering sex, one super-sexy, gun-toting heroine, and a very delicious, very powerful sorcerer…who sometimes sports fangs.

Are you ready for a revolution? If so, you won’t want to miss Samantha Sommerby’s newest installment in the Forbidden series. The Revolution picks up some twenty-five years after the second story (The Ascension). This time Byron and Violet’s son, Dell, takes front and center. He’s a brash and cocky vampire that is continuing his father’s work, wanting to change the course of the future. What he doesn’t anticipate is falling hard and fast for the girl that just might be a Chosen–the offspring of a vampire and a human–and she just might be his mate. But nothing is ever set in stone, not when old enemies decide it’s time for a bit of retribution against his family. To keep Alex safe, Dell will have to flex a little muscle and call upon some heady magic. Ensure your seatbelts are fastened and your tray tables are in an upright position, because it’s a bumpy, yet sizzling, ride!

I absolutely loved The Ascension and was thrilled to have the opportunity to read The Revolution. When you discover an author that speaks your language, you can’t help but go back for seconds. I’m happy to say that The Revolution delivered. I got to catch up with Byron, Violet, and many other secondary characters from the Ascension. And as with the first story, the “voice” is the hero versus the heroine, something that I love and hope to see more of in the future.

I do try to review a story from the “If the reader hasn’t read the other stories in the series will they be able to follow the story?” standpoint. The answer here is yes and no. Elements from The Ascension run deeply in The Revolution. Although I followed the plot easily enough, someone that hasn’t read the previous installment may not as the back history is rather menial. If this is an issue, I would recommend you read the series from start to finish. To be fair, I’d probably recommend that anyway as you’re missing out if you don’t!

As with The Ascension, you’ll laugh out loud at Ms. Sommerby’s wit and humor. It’s a first person narrative, which means you get up close and personal with a sexy vampire with a sinful sense of humor. Byron had me chuckling time and again, and his playfulness with Alex will have you squealing in glee. But don’t fret, he’s not always silly. When he decides to take it to a sexual level, you’ll wilt like a flower in a drought.

This story is scorching, well written, and fast-paced. You’ll enjoy this one in one sitting, and when you’re done, you’ll ask for seconds. Definitely one for the revered TBR list, don’t miss The Revolution.

I’d Die for You by Jude Mason

I’d Die for You by Jude Mason
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (57 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Snake Thompson is out of Corcoran and looking for revenge. He meets and falls for Abel, a lusty blond guy who winds up quitting his job and tagging along. Can the two of them find the truth and clear Snake's name, or will drugs and money send them both to the grave?

You don’t know you’ll find that one you need. It’s magic and it’s fate. But what do you do when he’s everything you want and he’s willing to give his life for you? Snap that man up. Intrigued? Read I’d Die for You to know more.

Jude Mason writes steamy short stories. Whether she’s writing about men, women, both... you know you’ll have a hot story. What I liked about this one was that the characters, Snake and Abel couldn’t have been more different, but together they are perfect. I liked the redemption in this story as well. The reader can identify with Snake’s struggle to defeat the odds and come out on top after a stint in jail.

The realism in this story was captivating. When you live a life that’s considered out of the norm, you are scorned and ridiculed. Ms. Mason depicted the bias towards gay men in a way that was blunt, but also had you seeing that we are all the same despite our sexual desires. That made the story powerful for me.

When Snake and Abel got together, goodness it was hot. Abel declared his feelings early on while Snake held back, but even then, you could feel the passion sizzling between these two men.

Snake’s redemption added an emotional layer to the story that made it stick in my mind. I wanted to see what happened to him and Abel past the end of this novella.

If you want a steamy story filled with passion and desire, then you need to read I’d Die for You. You won’t’ want to miss it. I give this story 4 cherries.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not Without Love by Kate Hofman

Not Without Love by Kate Hofman
Publisher: DCL Publications
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (161 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Luisandro, a famed writer of serious fiction, meets Donna on the plane carrying them both from Seattle to Florida. Donna tells him she was in Seattle to bury her husband, victim of a freak accident. When he sympathizes, she says she was divorcing him for betraying her with a Seattle woman.

He suggests that she needs to work, not to keep the wolf from the door, but because she needs to distract her mind. She accepts the position of manager of his household, and his office files.

Luisandro, having divorced his flagrantly unfaithful wife, is intrigued by Donna, so diametrically opposed in character. Donna for her part begins to feel attracted to the to-die-for Luisandro.

Various women try to capture Luisandro's interest, doing their best to denigrate Donna. A theft of a priceless painting is another disaster thrown into their path. Can they overcome all these problems and find each other, after all?

What we do when we are hurt can hamper who we are later. Such is the case for Luisandro and Donna in Not Without Love. What will happen when they find they cannot keep their hands off each other... only the past will tell and the future will decide.

Ms. Hoffman’s story is interesting. The characters are complex. I enjoyed reading this novel. I felt drawn into their world. If you like tall, dark, alpha males, then this story is for you.

Being that I enjoyed the story, I would have liked to have seen the point of view tightened a bit. We know what is going on in the heads of many characters. Though it is nice to know, it can be a bit confusing to the reader as to whose thoughts we are reading. A bit of clarity and the story could really become powerful.

As for the hero, Luisandro made a great, strong character. His past, though murky in the dating world wasn’t awful. I liked his complexity, but I almost felt that he fought his emotional desire for Donna and overacted his physical desire. Donna, though a fun heroine, came across as a bit too complex as well. She wanted to be his everything, but I almost felt she wanted it too much and not for the right reasons.

Though the sex scenes were steamy, I hoped the author would’ve pumped them up. Emotional tension abounded in this story, yet the physical love came very easy.

I enjoyed Not Without Love and I would recommend it to a friend. If you want a Castle Lord and a gentle lady, then you need to read Not Without Love. I give this story 3 ½ cherries.

Sapphire Night by Kaia Logan

Sapphire Night by Kaia Logan
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (56 pgs)
Other: M/F, toys
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

While setting up for a charity art exhibit, sculptor Jacquie Taylor is nearly crushed by her giant urn, but she's saved, thanks to gorgeous photographer, Ethan Wolfe. The artist and red-blooded woman in Jacquie longs to explore his shape, but she’s engaged to another man. Then her fiancé cheats, and all bets are off. Jacquie allows herself to indulge in Ethan's charms to drown her sorrows—a night so steamy and intense it leaves her breathless. But when Ethan wants more than one night of passion, Jacquie panics. How can she even think about letting another man into her life...and her heart?

She’s just found out her fiancée isn’t in love with her. He’s not her fiancée but very much in love with her. So what’s a guy to do? Try to meet her anyway because this Cinderella wants to have a Sapphire Night.

Kaia Logan writes an interesting love story between two unforgettable characters. I liked the attention to detail in this work. You felt like you were really there at the opening. I liked that they were both artists and that both felt like the other was out of reach, but they never gave up.

Although I liked the story and the love scenes were long, it almost felt like the story was all sex and her regretting that she wasn’t with him longer. I thought she acted like her worth came from him and she was a strong woman on her own. I liked that Ethan wanted nothing but to please her, but thought they fell into bed a bit quick. I wanted to see more of the relationship develop.

With a bit more work on the editing, I think this story could be very powerful. Although the point of view was clear, the overuse of pronouns detracted from the overall storytelling. I wanted to get lost in the plot despite the minor flaws. With a bit more work, this story could really shine.

I liked the love scenes and felt the sex on the car was hot, hot, hot. You knew these characters felt more than just superficial lust for each other, even if they didn’t know it.

If you want a sexy read for a cool fall night, then you want to read Sapphire Night. I give this short story 3 ½ cherries.

Driven to the Limit by Alice Gaines

Driven to the Limit (Collection) by Alice Gaines
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (187 pgs)
Other: M/F, F/F, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Mannhof. The ultimate in precision German engineering. Individually hand-crafted motorcycles, each custom created for one woman, and one woman only. For the right woman. Even if she doesn't know it. Because the motorcycle of her dreams -- is also the man of her dreams.

Why would a normally sane woman pay a million dollars for a motorcycle? Hard-driving CEO Claire Wilcox has found the bike of her dreams -- a 1957 Mannhof four-cylinder touring motorcycle. It'll take all of Will's sensual skills to crack the hard shell she's built around herself to free the woman within.

Jake's mission is to save Lauren King from herself -- and a vicious rock star and his groupie compound called The Pit. But learning to love may cost them both their lives.

Motorcycle cop Charley Thomas keeps men at arm's length. Until her Mannhof, Nick, helps her regain her sensual side...

But can happiness be re-engineered into their futures?

Man and machine... what a great concept. But what if sleek motorcycle machine turned into man made for only one woman? Then you have Driven to the Limit by Alice Gaines.

Ms. Gaines writes a new version of the shifter – machine into man. Oh, I know, it’s in the movies... but how many machines, aka sexy motorcycles turned into hunks? Not too many that I recall. These characters aren’t only sexy, but they are also compassionate. That drew me immediately to this collection of three stories that stand alone but yet also work well together.

In One Owner, Lady Driven, we meet Claire and her Mannhof cycle, Will. She’s cranky and thinks she’s too strong to let anyone in. He’s determined to get through her shell. If all men were as determined as Will, they’d be unstoppable. I liked how he showed her the power in letting go. The love scenes, though they happened quick were hot!

In Driven to the Limit, we meet Lauren and Jake. No one seems to be able to turn the elusive Mannhof on until Lauren, who feels like life gave up on her, gives him a chance. I liked how he worked with her through her issues and showed her she was worthy of love despite the crap in her life. Again, those love scenes were passionate and sexy.

In the final story, Driven to Justice, we have not only the culmination of all the stories, but we also meet Charley and Niklas. She’s been assaulted and can’t remember most of it. When Niklas is delivered, he’s more than she’s ever wanted and everything she needs. Plus the combination of all the cycles and all the women can’t be more powerful.

I loved this collection and recommend it to anyone wanting a sexy set of stories with unconventional shifters. I give Driven to the Limit 4 ½ cherries.

Dawg Town: Playing for Keeps by Dawn Montgomery

Dawg Town: Playing for Keeps by Dawn Montgomery
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (27 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Spanking
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Prairie dogs may be low on the food chain, but Riley Cates is anything but. More man than dawg, he's finally carved his place in Barkus. Until Tara walks back into his life. Now there's no turning back, because once Riley has his taste, he'll never be able to let her go.

Tara's drawn to the one man who holds her soul, her happiness in his paws. And no matter what happens, this time, she's playing for keeps.

Sometimes the one that got away is the one that’s coming back into your life. It’s up to you to decide to walk away, or in the case of Riley and Tara, they are Playing for Keeps.

Ms. Montgomery writes an intriguing addition to the Dawg Town series. Her story, Playing for Keeps is the conclusion of a relationship that started five years prior. I liked the idea of using a lost love and the power of redemption. Seeing the play between Riley and Tara kept the reader engaged in the story. You wanted to see them get back together and be stronger the second time around.

Riley made a great hero because he didn’t just protect Tara, but he made her his equal partner. She controlled her destiny. It was up to her if they made it as a couple. Very sexy, indeed. Despite his somewhat brusque treatment of Tara, the passion between them sizzled. This wasn’t just sex, it was a reconnection of two souls meant to be.

Though the antagonist seemed more like a specter hovering over them, rather than a foe to fight, but I liked how Riley and Tara made it beyond their past.

If you want to read a fun yet steamy story about accepting someone for who they truly are despite what the others say, then you need to get a copy of Dawg Town: Playing for Keeps. I give this story 4 cherries.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Burn For Me by Dee Tenorio

Burn For Me by Dee Tenorio
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (151 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by: Fern

Once burned is all it takes…

A Rancho Del Cielo Romance.

Twelve years ago, Raul Montenga left home to live life on his own terms. Yet for just as long, his nights have sizzled with erotic dreams of Penelope, the girl he left behind. Enough is enough. It’s time to find out if the sparks are real, or all in his head.

Not that he expected a warm welcome, but her cold shoulder and icy rejection sting more than he cares to admit. So he’s more than a little surprised to find her tomboy daughter standing nervously on his porch…claiming to be his child.

Dr. Penelope Gibson’s worst nightmare isn’t that her daughter wants to know her daddy. It’s facing—and keeping at arm’s length—her biggest youthful mistake. Now he’s back and the feelings she’d thought frozen solid are melting fast. Along with her inhibitions, her clothes and her better judgment.

Problem is, Raul’s not content to stop at getting acquainted with her daughter. He wants it all—Penelope’s love, her body and her soul. After twelve years building a life without him, though, she’s not sure she trusts him—or herself—enough to try.

Warning: This book features a wildly hot Latino firefighter dead-set on a mission to seduce. Contains bad words, fiery tempers and scorching sex. Oven mitts required.

Whenever you finish up a story, flip to the last page, and experience a profound pang of loss because the ride is over, you know you’ve just read something extraordinary. Dee Tenorio has written a book that will strip your heart apart, piece by agonizing piece, and just when you believe that there is no possible way you can ache more than you already do for the lovable Raul and the heartbroken Penelope, she’ll stretch you out, lay you bare, and force you to bare a portion of your soul just as they do.

While the work is composed of various components, this is, in my humble opinion, Penelope’s story. Initially, you’re not sure what to make of her. She’s aloof, but loves her daughter, and wants to do the best she can by her. Then Raul returns, and Chloe takes it upon herself to go and meet the man she believes–from reading her mother’s journals–is her father. It is then that you’ll take a trip into the past, and your stomach won’t stop forming knots until you’ve completed the journey and have time to absorb and reflect on the experience.

The carefree adulation that finds a nineteen year-old Penelope inside a tiny closet with Raul during a wedding reception, losing her virginity in the most deplorable way imaginable because she wants to believe he might actually love her, is only the first in revelation of events that have molded the present. When she relives what should have been a happy memory, you’ll share her regret. Her consequent pregnancy following Raul’s departure is devastating, and she’s forced to shoulder the shame of being an unwed mother that puts herself through college with the only the assistance of her mother to depend on. The experience changes her from the cheery idealistic girl in love, to a woman with a daughter, suffocated by responsibility. This is the foundation of the story, and Pen takes center stage. The father/daughter aspect with Raul and the tom-boyish Chloe is equally important and endearing, but Penelope’s inability to forgive events of the past that have haunted her are the driving force. It’s rare to read something in which you want the heroine to “hold-out”, as it’s usually a tactic to string the audience along. But here, you want justice for Pen. She’s suffered so much, and as much as she deserves a HEA, Raul should have to work for it.

On the flip side, a heroine is only so good as her hero, and I absolutely adored Raul. He’s sexy, he’s charming, and in this case, he accepts that Penelope’s love is something he’s going to have to earn. Aware of his many mistakes, he wants to be a father to Chloe, and something more to the one woman he could never forget. He pushes where he needs to push and backs off when he knows he’s gone too far. And in the end, his decisions and actions are what allow Penelope to heal, trust, and learn to love again.

Burn For Me is an absolute must read you don’t want to miss. I can’t wait to read more from Ms. Tenorio.

Love Slave for Two: Beginnings by Tymber Dalton

Love Slave for Two: Beginnings by Tymber Dalton
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (192 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, M/M/M, M/M/M/F, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Snowdrop

Tyler Paulson came to America with a scholarship and a dream of becoming a writer. With an unsupportive mother and a father who abandoned him, he makes close friends and tries to build a new life for himself in his adopted country. Unfortunately, a series of heartbreaking betrayals makes him doubt not only truths he once held about himself, but shatters his trust in others.

Thomas Kinsey wants to carry on his father's legacy and become an architect. His family and upbringing couldn't be more different than Tyler's, but he hides a secret he's afraid to admit for fear of testing his strong family bonds.

Thomas knows Tyler is the man he wants to spend the rest of his life with...if he can convince Tyler to forget the ghosts in his past and have faith in their future together. Read the scorching prequel to "Love Slave for Two!"

"I've had so many readers ask about how Tyler and Thomas met, so while it wasn't a story I'd originally planned to write, I did know how it came about and decided, why not share it? It sheds some really startling light on how Tyler came to be the way he is." ~ Tymber ~

Ms Dalton had me from the start. I love her writing style. The way she gets into her characters' heads really drew me in. I also enjoyed the way she described the emotions. They were so real. I found it very easy to be empathetic for her characters. The emotional ups and downs keep you on the edge of your seat. I actually wanted to cry on several occasions. It takes a very talented author to make you emotionally invested in a book.

Tyler's love life was so unstable till Tommy. From the beginning of the book I liked Tyler, the way Ms Dalton writes him I found him interesting and intriguing. The same goes for Tommy he had a sweet loveable quality from the get go. Every time Tyler found some one, I kept wondering what was going to happen to Tyler. How were these two going to meet up? These questions as well as the intense sex scenes kept me reading, not wanting to stop. A scorching read that I highly recommend.

Chicken Ranch: Hunger by Amanda Young

Chicken Ranch: Hunger by Amanda Young
Publisher: Loose Id. LLC
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (110 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Ambrosia

Disowned and cast out of his home, eighteen year old Declan Mayo turns to the only thing he can think of to help him get back on his feet. Working at the Chicken Ranch, a rural brothel that caters to women and gay men, seems like the perfect solution. He isn’t about to let a lack of sexual experience stop him from taking what he sees as a way off the streets.

Falling in love with one of his clients wasn’t in the game plan, but Declan can’t seem to help himself. Killian Hamilton is sweet and kind, with a stutter Declan can’t help but find adorable. Surely, if anyone could overlook Declan’s choice of employment, it would be a kindhearted man like Killian.

But Declan didn't figure on Killian’s connection to one of the brothel’s regular clients, and now his love life's about to blow up in his face.

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.

WOW! Who knew being a male on a Chicken Ranch could be so technical! With such great info, there should be classes at local colleges to pass it around so people can sign up! Great tips, great money, a place to stay, and fulfilling your every desire and more. What a dream come true!

Romance, raw, yummy sex, heartache, heartbreak and true love; these are the most important things in life for a young man who begins exploring his sexual orientation and falls for his first client. Torn from his family for his preferences, Declan begins a journey of the soul until he finds love in the arms of a man.

Having always felt less than attractive, less than confident, and less than loved, Killian finds himself heading to a Chicken Ranch to save his hand the chore of relieving his needs, and meets the man of his dreams. Unable to get him out of his mind, when they finally meet again they begin exploring not only each others' bodies but their hearts.

In this story we learn that trust is something that bonds love eternal, that without it there is no guarantee of a true relationship. These two men make your heart sing, your soul cry, and your body crave fulfillment. Love is not a gender it’s an emotion, a blending of souls which is proven by this amazing author.

The only thing about this wonderful story that I could think to change would be preventing many paragraphs from beginning with the person’s name: ie: "Killian said...", or "Declan looked at…". A little rewording would make the story run smoother and be less distracting. The emotions of the characters come through clear as a bell as you flow along with their emotions and doubts before their love is spoken.

I give Chicken Ranch: Hunger by Amanda Young 5 cherries for excellent command of emotions and feelings of sensual, passionate sexuality. I’d highly recommend this story to those who don’t believe that love could be theirs for in reality, no matter what gender, love abounds.

Only in My Dreams by Dana Marie Bell

Only in My Dreams by Dana Marie Bell
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short (87 pgs)
Other: M/F, Spanking, BDSM
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by: Mistletoe

Delayed gratification has its place. This wouldn’t be it.

Halle Pumas, Book 5

Gabriel Anderson has accepted a unique position in the shifter world. He’s about to become a Hunter, one of the few trained and sanctioned to hunt down the rare rogue shifter dangerous to humans and shifters alike. There’s one catch: until his training is complete, he must hold off on marking his mate. No problem…after all, she probably couldn’t handle the sexual demands he dreams of making on her.

Her mate’s apparent desertion devastates Sarah. And his friendship with another woman threatens the bond they should be sharing and building. Maybe flirting with another man will make him sit up and take notice—and finally win Gabe’s heart. It works. Almost too well.

One touch of another man’s hand on Sarah’s tempting body brings every ounce of Gabe’s possessiveness roaring to the surface. He wastes no time making his erotic dreams of dominating her a reality—whether she’s ready for it or not.

If she’s not, the only place he’ll ever have her is in his dreams…

Warning: This title contains graphic language, explicit sex, deep blue eyes and spanking. The author is not responsible for any tall, dark and handsome men who slip into your dreams.

Gabe and Sarah find that they are each other’s mates but Gabe is called away for six months. He leaves without seeing or claiming Sarah and with that begins the distance between the two. As the months pass, more distance grows and along comes another woman whom Gabe has befriended while apart from Sarah.

Feeling hurt and betrayed, Sarah looses her trust and faith in Gabe and turns towards a good friend for help. Once Gabe returns home he finds his mate Sarah seeming to be enjoying herself with another man. And Sarah watches Gabe constantly turning to the other woman. Can Gabe fix their bond that has turned so fragile at this moment? He truly only wants Sarah but after all his mistakes how can he prove himself to her?

Sarah is great she stands up for herself and makes Gabe atone for his mistakes. Gabe loves her with all his heart and shows Sarah the only way he knows how. The scene where Gabe asks Sarah if she would like to go shopping was endearing and his quip about shopping was just hilarious.

I truly enjoyed this book. Dana Marie Bell brings the reader into a wonderful world that you never want to leave. Full of Alpha Males and the loves of their lives this story is a great read. With lots of emotion and conflict going on and some action thrown in the reader is never disappointed. I will be on the lookout for more stories from this author and series and will be reading any stories that I missed before from this series as well.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Catch Me If You Can by Brenna Lyons

Catch Me If You Can by Brenna Lyons
Publisher: Under The Moon, LLC.
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short (59 pages )
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by: Snowdrop

Meet Angelo Maretti, the conscience of the Maretti-Rizzulo crime families. He was your typical straight-laced college student, until a rival family killed his sister. Now, the name of the game is getting revenge without starting a war. The only way to do that? Make every death of the guilty Ortegas look like natural causes.... In the footsteps of the original Grimms tale, "The Hare and The Hedgehog," it all comes back to one fact, Angelena was a dead ringer (pardon the pun) for her twin brother.

Angelo and Marissa are playing a deadly game of cat and mouse. Angelo wants revenge for the death of his twin sister. He devises a plan to get his revenge and loses his heart in the process.

Ms Lyons creates emotionally charged scenes, with very believable characters. You can almost feel Angelo's numbing pain when he discovers his sister's body, and his love for Marissa is palatable. Even though the book is done from Angelo's point of view, you do get a feel for how much Marissa loves him. Otherwise why would she put her life on the line to help him get revenge? However, since it is from Angelo's point of view, you don't really get a feel for Marissa as a character, other than how much she cares for Angelo. As the tale unfolds in its back and forth way, I found myself enjoying the close knit family, although I did find it a bit stereotypically Italian: Mob affiliations, lots of Italian food, and Mama.

At first I found this book a little confusing, as Ms Lyons slips between the past and present, but once you get the flow it's not hard to get sucked in. She does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat. I really liked the ending, the way they ended their game was very interesting and slightly unexpected. All in all, a very enjoyable read!

Cody by Kimberly Raye

Cody by Kimberly Raye
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (209 pages)
Other: M/F, multiple partners
Rating: 4.5 books
Review by: Tiger Lily

Champion bull rider Cody Braddock has always loved the ladies. As a vampire, each time he brings a woman satisfaction, his strength grows!

But right now he's thinking only about vengeance. His mission: to hunt down and destroy the one who murdered his beloved family.

Revenge, however, takes a detour when he meets sweet, passionate Miranda Rivers. She's never experienced the big O, and she wants to—badly! How could any man—vamp or not—resist?

Yet the deeper Cody drinks of Miranda's delicious charms, the more he craves. Only, Miranda wants more than just an eternity of hot sex. She wants Cody's undead heart to beat again, just for her….

Add one vampire to one woman who is trying to outrun her sexy side. For spice, the story takes place in Skull Creek, Texas with a whole passel of other vampires. What do you get? Cody, by Kimberly Raye.

Now I have to admit, I love Kimberly Raye’s vampires. She writes quirky, sexy vamps that have issues, yet want love – even if they don’t know it yet. You can’t get these hunks out of your mind. Plus, she manages to bring back the other vampires from earlier books, weaving them together to create a story you won’t forget.

Miranda is every man’s desire – blonde hair, stacked, and legs that go on forever. Too bad her past is filled with poor decisions made by her mother and sisters. She’s not like them, but when she sees the hunky bull rider, she’s tempted to unleash her inner vixen. I liked that she’s afraid of him, but also intrigued. She wants to be with him, but she doesn’t want to lose herself in him. That’s a powerful thought. I also liked that Miranda was the one woman who manages to bring Cody from his boring existence. She makes him feel things. Again, powerful stuff.

And the sex scenes? Whew! Very hot. Although there were a few scenes that involved other partners in his past, you felt his passion for Miranda even when he’s not sure himself.

If you want a vampire story you won’t forget and a new series you’ll want to read from beginning to end, then you need to read Cody. I give this story 4 ½ cherries.