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Friday, November 27, 2009

Bend Me Over by Sierra Cartwright

Bend Me Over by Sierra Cartwright
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (154 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Fern

Tall, dark, handsome, and oh-so dangerous.

That's Trace Romero, Aimee's new bodyguard. Aimee has no desire to share her home with anyone, especially a Hawkeye operative who invades her space and thoroughly dominates her.

If it were up to him, Trace would be in a South American jungle, mixing it up with bad guys instead of playing bodyguard to the uptight college professor who makes him anything but welcome. But when he finds a stash of her BDSM novels, protecting the professor’s body suddenly gets more interesting.

Aimee would send him on his way, if her sister weren’t so concerned about the break in at her house, and if she hadn’t threatened protective custody. But protective custody might have been slightly less overwhelming than Trace demanding her complete capitulation, mind and body, and more -- her total trust. But that trust may be the only thing standing between her and a madman determined to kill her.

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

Bend Me Over is a fast-paced sexual romp that sizzles and burns. The very first words thought by the heroine set the tone, and I knew I was going to enjoy not only the sex scenes, but the ride along the way as well. It’s impossible not to love a woman that’s a book nerd with a taste for kink. She’s witty and sarcastic, which plays off super-duper special OP’s hunk Trace Romero perfectly. He’s brash and cocky, she’s proud and unyielding, but put them together and it’s like taking a match to a warehouse of TNT.

The story is well-written and has several laugh-out-loud moments that arise courtesy of Eureka, Aimee’s turd launching parrot. It’s just enough to take the sexual edge off when you need a cool down. The murder/mystery slant is written so that it’s just enough to keep you guessing, but it’s not enough to take away from Trace, Aimee, and their involvement with one another. All and all, this is their book and involves the trust they place in one another as Aimee explores her submissive side.

If you like BDSM that’s not full-blown and a hero that isn’t too manly to engage in petty squabbles with an annoying parrot, this story is for you! You’ll get laughs, you’ll get hot under the collar, and you’ll walk away satisfied. I finished this book in one sitting, from start to finish.
Be sure to but Bend Me Over on your TBR list.

Love, Like Ghosts by Ally Blue

Love, Like Ghosts by Ally Blue
Publisher: Samhain
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (180 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Truth. Lies. A century-old mystery. What a tangled web…

A Bay City Paranormal Investigations story.

At age eleven, Adrian Broussard accidentally used his mind to open a portal to another dimension. Now, ten years later, he’s successfully harnessed his strong psychokinetic abilities. In the process, he’s learned the lessons which have become the guiding principles of his life. Absolute truth. Absolute control. Always.

Sticking to his personal code of ethics has never been a problem, until two chance meetings—one with a hundred-year-old ghost, one with a handsome, very-much-alive man—turn his orderly existence upside down.

Having grown up in a family of paranormal investigators, Adrian is intrigued by the spirit of Lyndon Groome and determined to solve the mystery of his death. Greg Woodhall, however, affects Adrian in unpredictable ways. Not only does his every touch challenge Adrian’s hard-won control over his abilities, his company quickly becomes a light in Adrian’s lonely life.

As the mystery surrounding Lyndon’s death turns sinister, Adrian’s relationship with Greg deepens into something serious. Something Adrian wants to keep. But intimacy isn’t as easy as honesty, and when the heart’s involved, the line between right and wrong can blur.

Warning: This book contains a gory ghost, a haunted castle, nerdy college parties and gay sex enhanced by psychic powers.

Adrian unexpectedly finds himself drawn just as strongly to a ghost as he is to a sexy theatre major. The seventh book in the Bay City Paranormal Series starts out with a bang as the gory, bloody ghost of a dead young man appears to Adrian in the middle of setting up a haunted house. But Greg, the man hired to play the ghost, refuses to believe such a thing exists. Adrian is torn between his connection to the ghost and his attraction to Greg. When Adrian discovers Greg is keeping just as many secrets as Adrian is, their fragile relationship may not survive.

Although this is the latest book in the series, this easily can be read as a stand alone book. Perhaps even one of the better books in the series as the romantic element is much stronger than the paranormal/horror aspect. There is a lot of horror though in the bloody ghost of Lyndon, killed over a hundred years ago. Adrian’s struggle to discover the ghost’s past and put him to rest runs into a wall as Adrian’s relationship with Greg becomes strained. Greg has his own demons and secrets and the two have a lot of classic first relationship mistakes. The drama and angsty emotion is pretty high as young love sparks and develops. They clash, make love, engage in dramatic fights and snap decisions so this book will definitely appeal to those readers who love a lot of emotion and angst to their fictional couples.

The writing is good with engaging characters and a decent plot. If there are any problems, they exist in the scenes where Adrian’s family is now one happy family. These scenes felt fake and forced whereas the interaction between Adrian and his brother Sean has the most real emotion. These scenes are much better than the scenes between Adrian and his parents, which felt uncomfortable. The descriptive quality of the story, however, more than makes up for that small problem. The setting and college town are wonderful additions to the book and gave another dimension to the story.

Overall this is another solid book in the series and a good introduction for those readers unfamiliar with the author’s writing style and characterization. Those who haven’t picked up the series before can easily read this book without any loss of context or information. There are elements of horror so anyone with a queasy stomach should be cautious but the scenes are not the majority and easily skimmed over. The strong emotional dynamic should please a lot of readers so be sure to pick this up.

Midnight Seductions by Patti Shenberger

Midnight Seductions (The Zodiac Book Club 1) by Patti Shenberger
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (83 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Review by Magnolia

Late night Mistress of Love, Isabella Markum, has it all. A fantastic job, a gorgeous condo, and lots of close friends. But what she really wants is a chance at love. When bad boy biker, Max Montgomery, shows up unexpectedly back in town, Isabella is ready to throw caution to the wind in order to get him into her bed.

This will mean exposing all her dirty little secrets, the biggest one being she is still a virgin. One look at Max convinces her he is worth the chance. And if the rumors are true, this hunk really knows how to satisfy a woman.

Whew! This is one hot read and I just loved it! Isabella Markum, aka The Mistress of Love on her radio show, gives hot advice out to her callers. You know how the saying, “Practice what you preach!”? Well, the last thing Isabella wants anyone to know is that she’s never practiced with anyone, ever!

When Isabella shows up at the club and literally runs into tall, dark and handsome, she wants to put her own advice to the test right then and there, but it’s also her birthday and friends are waiting to help her celebrate. Later, she runs into Mr. Hottie when she comes out of the restroom, and again when her car doesn’t start and he gives her a ride home on his motorcycle.

The heat only intensifies when they find out how hot the chemistry really is. You won't want to put this one down. And who can turn down a tall, dark, and hansome man? Not Isabella!

Now I know this may seem like a much-used storyline, and a 28-year-old virgin in this day and age might seem like a stretch, but in spite of that, this story remains a very enjoyable read that made me smile and give a big “Awwwww,” at the end! The author has penned a fantastic, super-hot story that I highly recommend.

Passion Projected by Jennifer Salaiz

Passion Projected by Jennifer Salaiz
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (122 pgs)
Other: M/F, Ménage, M/F/M
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Marley truly believes she's losing her mind. The dream lover who's brought her pleasure continually for the last three months finally appears in the flesh with his two gorgeous friends, and he reveals some unexpected news.

Zachary is determined to claim Marley as his mate and takes her on a lusty road trip to his compound in Virginia. But when her dreams turn sinister and manifest themselves into reality, Marley has to muster all of her strength just to survive.

Will Marley submit to the pleasure Zachary and his friends are willing to give her?

Marley has never, in her thirty two years of life, been considered frivolous or flighty. Now she thinks she’s losing her mind. For the past three months, a handsome and sexy stranger has haunted her dreams. Now here he is, in the flesh, in front of her at the grocery store.

Zachary has been in Marley’s mind and dreams, and he’s come to claim her as his mate. Can Marley accept a future with Zachary, once she learns what he is? Can they get to his estate in Virginia before the traitor in their midst acts? And who is the traitor who wants to take Marley for his own: is it Jordan or Cole, one of the two companions Zachary traveled with?

Jennifer Salaiz has found a new and different twist to the wolf finding his mate story.

I loved Marley, insecurities and all. I loved how Zachary was able to track Marley down in Texas, in spite of forgetting to actually ask her in their nightly visits where she was. I liked that these characters aren’t the conventional twenty-something’s, but are a little more mature. Marley is a business woman and is determined to stand up for herself. At first, Zachary comes off as a bit too domineering, but then as he spends time with Marley, he relaxes and becomes more likable. I enjoyed the action in this one, and the character development was wonderful.

If you like your shifters hot and sexy and your action fast and deadly, this is a great one for you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It’s A Vampire Thing (Collection) by Dakota Cassidy

It’s A Vampire Thing (Collection)by Dakota Cassidy
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (181 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Spanking
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Claire Treemont is a small-town coroner with a small-town social life -- as in, nonexistent. When a yummy body enters her life one night at the county morgue, Claire is astonished to find she's pretty sad he's dead. I mean, honestly, how often does someone like her get to gaze upon a body like that?

Zachariah Kowalski's got an affliction that has him waking up in places that are, to say the least, inconvenient. He also has a life mate who escapes him from century to century just as they're about to seal the vampire deal. Kinda frustrating, huh?

Add in a best friend, Jarrod, who's ever so helpful, and an ex who'd rather see him dead than with another woman, and you get... trouble. Oh, and a wild, passionate ride against time...

Desdemona Smitrovitch is a bad, bad girl. But Jarrod lusts after, er, likes Desi anyway -- at least when she's not trying to kill his best friend's woman. Jarrod thinks he can help Desi on the road to becoming a good girl. He

Do good girls like floggers?

This collection contains the previously released novellas It's a Vampire Thing and Doing Desi.

It’s a Vampire Thing and Doing Desi are two of the most interesting vampire stories I’ve read in a long time. It helps that they were written by Dakota Cassidy, a writer who uses humor and romance together like bread and butter. The characters are absolutely delightful, and I enjoyed both stories very much.

In It’s a Vampire Thing, our handsome and sexy hero Zachariah Kowalski has a serious problem. He suffers from narcolepsy, and tends to appear dead. Add to that the fact that he’s a vampire, well, there’s just no telling where he will wake up. When he wakes up in the morgue on Claire Treemont ‘s autopsy table, he recognizes her as his life mate.

Claire Treemont thinks it’s a shame the handsome hunk on her table is dead. When he “wakes up” and tries to explain his condition, she isn’t buying it. Zach has to find a way to convince her that she is his life mate, who has been killed over and over for more than two hundred years. And they need to figure out just who has been killing her every time she is reincarnated, before it happens again. Can Claire and Zach solve the mystery and finally fulfill their destiny?

In Doing Desi, Zach’s best friend Jarrod is assigned the punishment and possession of Desdemona Smitrovitch after she is shunned by her family for her misdeeds. Since Jarrod has lusted after Desi for centuries, it is now great hardship for him. The more he is with Desi, the more he is sure that there is something in Desi worth saving, and he is determined to solve the puzzle. Can Jarrod solve the puzzle alone, and tame the vampire he loves? Will Desi be able to change, does she even want to? Who is behind Desi’s evil ways, and can he be stopped once and for all?

I love Dakota Cassidy’s sense of humor. The characters in these stories are supremely wonderful and full of life. Lets face it, who else would mate a vampire and a coroner and get away with it?

These two stories are fun and action packed, with romance and plenty of heat. I loved the strength of Claire; even faced with a vampire in her morgue she never loses her cool. Desi on the other hand, is a mix of evil and innocence. Yes, she has done terrible things, but she was under an evil she couldn’t avoid. Jarrod comes across as arrogant at first, but his softer side comes through when he deals with Desi.

Both stories have wonderful happy ever afters, and I recommend this collection for anyone who like their vampires with a side of laughter.

Red Heat by Lynne Connolly

STORM 2: Red Heat by Lynne Connolly
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (153 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Gillyflower

Of all the hotels in New York, she had to walk into his.

After Chase’s beloved Jillian dies in a car wreck, he uses her name as a code for the STORM agents who use his luxury hotel. When a woman registers as Jillian Miller, he assumes it is business as usual. But it’s not. The woman he believed dead has come back.

Jillian’s mission for the IRDC, enemy to all Talents, shouldn’t include wild days and steamy nights but Chase’s hot, powerful body drives her crazy. Torn between her mission and her craving for Chase, Jillian doesn’t know which side she’s on anymore.

To save both their lives, Chase must restore the gaps in Jillian’s memory. He uses their shared past, including her passion for public sex, to bring her back to him. If she doesn’t remember soon, she’ll die. And he won’t let her die alone.

Red Heat is so red hot you’ll need a fan or your partner nearby while you read it.

Once again Ms. Connolly takes us to the wonderful, alternate, future reality she built so beautifully in Red Alert. It is now six months later and Jillian Miller, Chase Maynord’s lost love, strolls into his flagship hotel and asks for a room. Jillian was believed to have perished in a car crash three years earlier, but Chase still uses her name as the code word for operatives of STORM (the Society of Talented Officers Resisting Mistreatment), seeking sanctuary. So is this the real Jillian?

Chase is a Sorcerer of the highest order, able to use telepathy to reach a person’s deepest core. And he believes this woman is Jillian. Will they ever know?

Chase takes Jillian in to STORM to test her and to re-establish her security clearance, if possible. I love this description of him soothing her after pain during the interrogation: “The warmth went further, spread like blue ink through water, feathering through her mind.“ Indeed, their ability to connect on so many levels – physical, emotional and telepathically. And oh my, Chase is a dream come true. I would love to have someone so dedicated to my every need and desire.

Ms. Connolly weaves a beautiful love story with lots of fascinating plot twists and turns. Chase and Jillian/Caroline are totally appealing and sympathetic characters.

Jillian doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her, but she is able to enjoy Chase taking care of her because he does so without pity. And the sex scenes between Chase and Jillian burn up the pages. It turns out both Chase and the Jillian of old have a penchant for public sex. When Chases uses that knowledge to try to break down some of Jillian/Caroline’s mental barriers – well, as mentioned above, Red Heat is certainly an apt title!

In the end, is this woman Jillian? Caroline? Both? How will she find the way forward? As an amalgam of both? Will they both get a second chance? The old Jillian found Chase too possessive and had been somewhat sharp around the edges, often taking the lead in the bedroom. Is this their chance to recreate themselves and refine their relationship?

The world outside their relationship is also richly drawn. Talents are still trying to establish their place in society and the IRDC continues to pose a serious threat. In this second book in the series, we learn a great deal more about the philosophy driving the IRDC. Its public platform is that Talents refuse to share their gifts with the rest of the populace for the common good; that Talents are so selfish they care not whether humans live die; therefore untamed, unfettered Talents are dangerous, capable of so much they have to be assimilated and contained. Sorcerers such as Chase are thought to be the most dangerous of all Talents because of their ability to control minds and because they are closest to humans.

As much fun as Red Heat is for this action adventure and the accompanying suspense, the story is richer for the shades of gray Ms. Connolly allows use to see on each side of the debate. Not all Talents are on the side of right, and some factions within the IRDC are worse than others. Apparently some companies are amassing private armies of Talents for their own ends. And the evil Dr. Bennett (villain of many prior stories) appears again – ready to betray his own and to torture Talents for the sake of money, power and fame. In so doing, she has not only kept the story interesting, but left lots of open questions, themes and threads to mine in future books.

Many of the characters from the first book stop by, including Ann, Johann, Ricardo, and Jack, who has come on board full time as a researcher for Red Team. And we are introduced to some new faces – Daniel the Griffin, Solokov the Vampire lawyer (all puns intended, surely), and Vanessa the Virgin Sorcerer. The concept of a Virgin Sorcerer and the relationship of virginity and love to a Sorcerer’s powers is a critical one, but it is not as developed as it could have been.

There is also an interesting sub-plot relating to Chase’s relationship with his brittle, Upper East Side matron of a mother -- emaciated and stylish; his disowning and disgusted father; and the history of Sorcerers who, we learn, are descended from Hungarian royalty. And we gain a layered understanding of what it means to be a Sorcerer, how hard it is to learn to control the talent, especially when Sorcerers are young and can penetrate all the minds near them – so that they wish they could avoid it. There is a danger to the power as well. When Chase tries to penetrate Jillian/Caroline’s mental barriers, he knows if he tries to force it she could release such agony it would harm and possibly kill them both. Chase has seen such pain and knows he can inflict it.

As Jillian/Caroline moves forwards, I was impressed that she did not just cave to being Chase’s “woman” – an accessory to drape across his arm at charity functions and balls. She wants to figure out who she is — partly to deal with all the parts of Caroline and Jillian that remain – but also because she wants to be her own person, establish her own life, so she can come to Chase as an equal. She wants them both to give and take.

Red Heat did contain some distracting language usage and editing issues, and by this I don’t mean just the occasional slip into the Queen’s English one might expect from Ms. Connolly, a British author. However, as a matter of characterization, if the heroine is meant to be a sassy gal from Queens, she should talk like she’s from Queens, not London. (i.e., “I was in and out of hospital” is not something a scrapper from Queens would say).

I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend Red Heat. I had planned to read a couple chapters and life just had to stop and let me finish it, even if that meant reading far into the night. I can’t wait for the next book in the series and hope there will be many more to come. Well done Ms. Connolly!

Hotter Than Hell by Raine Weaver

Hotter Than Hell by Raine Weaver
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (209 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewer: Holly

Want a taste of Heaven? Go to Hell.

Legend has it that the Incubi were originally fallen angels, irresistible creatures who sacrificed their place in Paradise for the touch of mortal lovers. They live among us still, in the shadowy, dream-haunted fringes of modern society, indulging their insatiable lust and feeding on our desire—with our blessings.

The Rose Legacy
A valuable inheritance is passed from one female member of a wealthy family to another, as it has been for centuries. But Camille Price, the beneficiary, doesn’t know it’s a generational curse that includes sacrificing her body and soul to an Incubus who fulfills her every erotic dream—and nightmare.

Failed cleric Adam Bachmann knows a demon when he sees one. He just can’t seem to resist succubus Leyla Cheval, even though her insatiable sexual appetite is draining him of life. To save himself and others, he must sacrifice the only heaven he’s ever known and destroy the dark angel he’s come to love.

Warning: This book contains explicit sex, second-story sex, cul-de-sac sex, shapeshifter sex, and things that really go bump in the night and make you beg for more sex.

The most seductive beings of legend are the Incubi and Succubae: beings whose very existence symbolizes lust and power. Hotter Than Hell contains two stories showcasing the undeniable attraction and devastation these beings wield on mortals.

In The Rose Legacy, Camille Price is just the latest victim of the family curse. Down on her luck, in need of a home and haven, she seeks her legacy at Rose Cottage. She is the next in line to inherit Rose Cottage, with all the surrounding property and even the resident gardener, Mace. Moreover, Camille has demons of her own to slay. Her aunt is the current resident, but wants to leave the cottage and seek her freedom from the curse by convincing Camille to stay. But one thing becomes clear to Camille; there is something so very wrong at the cottage and in the town nearby.

In Ravenous, Adam Bachman has problems. His employer sends him to a therapist to get help to stop smoking. But this is no regular therapist. Leyla Cheval is a succubus, and she uses her guise as a therapist to get the sexual energy she needs to survive.

Raine Weaver has written two fantastic tales of seduction and passion. The characters are complex and multifaceted, and yet there is strength in them as well.

Camille goes to Rose Cottage unaware of the pervasive atmosphere, and soon recognizes something is not quite right. Mace draws her to him like no man ever has, but she fights her demons every day. When Adam recognizes what Leyla is, he bargains with her to keep her from ensnaring other men in her web, offering himself to the point of exhaustion.

These were dark romances, but the romance is there. The endings are not the traditional happy ever after, but there is resolution and a happy for now that is appropriate to each story.

If you want something different, something hot and challenging, then Hotter Than Hell is the perfect book to read. I truly enjoyed this for its differences and its unique perspective. Not for those who need happy ever after in the traditional sense, but a very good read.

Fear and Desire by Kathleen Brandt

Fear and Desire by Kathleen Brandt
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (42 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Fern

Cassie's been touched by an angel -- and found it terrifying.

Defying her fear of heights, Cassie has moved in to the tallest building in town. She’s doing pretty well until a thunderstorm blows an unexpected visitor through her balcony window, and she finds herself nursing a wounded angel back to health.

Tending to the angel's wounds teaches Cassie a lot more than she expected about fear...and about desire.

Content warning, explicit m/f sex, virginity loss.

A woman terrified of heights rescues an angel that has crashed through her balcony window, and the question becomes, what happens when you mix Fear and Desire? Author Kathleen Brandt has written a novella that will reveal the answer is oftentimes right before your eyes.

This is a tale of pure, and delightful, fantasy. Cassie lives in the highest rise of her apartment building to overcome her terror of heights and, after she comes to the aid of a fallen angel, faces her biggest fear of all one step at a time. Communication is an issue, as they do not speak one another’s language. The only way they can understand one another is through the angel’s intimate touch, of which Cassie is initially resistant. Slowly, they develop a trust and understanding and “Storm” (as she refers to the angel) teaches her there is no reason to fear falling if someone is waiting to catch you.

The story is well written, though here are times the progression of events and the relationship between Cassie and Storm felt a bit stilted. The reason for this was the communication issue and their inability to understand one another, and events of misunderstanding that lead to tension and emotional meltdowns for both protagonists. Once they have an understanding, however, the story began to flow and I settled in comfortably. Also, while the ending was sweet, it created more questions for me than answers. I can’t specify what this is without ruining the story, so I’ll refrain from doing so. It’s not a bad ending, by any means, it’s only that by adding it, you question the reality Cassie and Storm live in and how the real world–and angel one–fits into the picture.

On a more positive note, the imagery is beautiful and Ms. Brandt has created a world where angels exist apart from humans, having never made contact with them. They are beautiful, but not in the conventional sense–almost breathtakingly fragile in some aspects. I would have loved to explore the world in which they exist, and enjoyed the scenes when Storm shares snippets of his reality with Cassie.

I recommend Fear and Desire to readers that want something fast, sweet, and fantastical to enjoy with a piping mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Firsts by Rosalie Stanton

Firsts by Rosalie Stanton
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (83 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Fern

Savannah is looking at entering college as a virgin. After getting her heart shattered by one of the high school’s notorious playboys, she turns to her best friend, Thorn, and implores him to help her solve the tiny problem of her virginity.

What she doesn’t know is Thorn has been in love with her since the second he laid eyes on her, and asking him to touch what he can’t have is nothing less than torture. After succumbing to her advances, Thorn makes it his mission to convey everything he hasn’t been able to put into words into touch, hoping Savannah will feel in his hands and mouth what she has never seen in his eyes.

When you read a story that makes a lasting impression, it’s oftentimes harder to put your feelings regarding the work to paper. How do you adequately convey just how much you enjoyed the work, the characters, and the writing style? This is the case with author Rosalie Stanton’s offering, Firsts,, a novella that is as sultry and steamy as it is captivating and heartwarming.

I fell in love with Thorn and Savannah, childhood best-friends and soon to be college freshman. Though he realized his love for her much sooner, she has always placed him above all others in her life. They absolutely adore one another, so much so that they would step aside from what they want most in order to see the other happy. It’s the sacrifice they are willing to make for the sake of their love that makes the story so powerful. Reading the portions where Savannah relives Thorn’s relationship to another to make her jealous while she was dating the jerk that broke her heart…it’s some heady and emotional stuff. There’s a whole lot of heart packed into this fantastic little novella, and it puts the story right at the top of my favorites.

The sex scenes are funny at times and sizzling hot at others. We all remember what it was like the first time–awkward, uncomfortable, and exciting–and Ms. Stanton has wisely chosen to sprinkle a bit of humor here and there to keep things real. I chuckled, gasped, squirmed and, when I finally finished the story, sat there thinking about it for a good hour afterward. Good stories leave an impression after, but great ones linger. This one is still lingering.

Do not miss out on your chance to read Firsts, a book that is going on my keeper shelf. I’m going to be putting this author on my TBR list, and hoping she provides more of the same in the future.

Dragon Kin: Reclaimed by Selena Illyria

Dragon Kin: Reclaimed by Selena Illyria
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (41 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Control is essential for a dragon. Fiery breath, knife-sharp nails, and teeth that can shred a human in moments.

The day Brenton lost control is the day he ran from the one woman who can complete him, his fire companion. Now he's back and he's going to reclaim Sky Lilly forever and always.

After a very long wait, Brenton has found his Fire Companion. But he needs to take it slow, because Sky Lilly, his mate, has just recently been released from being bound to a dragon lord. He wants her to have some freedom before he claims her. But his dragon has little patience for the wait. Sky is the perfect submissive, but only in the right setting. Can she accept Brenton and his dragon forever? Can Brenton stay in control long enough to win the woman of his dreams?

Selena Illyria always writes hot and steamy romance, and Dragon Kin: Reclaimed is no exception. The characters are well crafted. Brenton is the epitome of the dominant male, strong, handsome and determined. Sky Lilly is an independent lady, but also a willing submissive when the situation merits it. She wants Brenton, and pushes all his buttons every chance she gets. When Sky comes clean, both figuratively and literally, she lays down the law to Brenton in the bathtub. She explains that "submissive" for her is only in the bedroom, and she lets her opinions be known.

I love this world that Ms. Illyria has created, with all the beings we read about coming to life. She inhabits her world with dragons, gargoyles, warlocks and so much more, and makes you believe in them. Brenton and Sky make a fantastic couple, deserving of their happy ever after just like Brenton’s brother has found.

If you want a fast and scorching read, try the Dragon Kin books. You won’t need your furnace to keep you warm this winter with these books.

More Than Blood by Amanda Vyne

More Than Blood by Amanda Vyne
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (177 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Gabrial Ferrar is a House Marshal, an enforcer of the laws of his people. But when his investigation into missing young girls lead him to a dark alley his path crosses with an incredible crossbreed whose blood promises him a lifetime of pleasure he’s willing to sacrifice everything to gain. Yet her past may be the key to stopping a deranged killer from taking the life of another little girl - but only if he can gain her trust before time runs out.

Kel Sheridan works for a private agency called Incog, a vigilante organization that deals with the dark underbelly of the Arcane. While investigating a local blood ring she finds herself uncontrollably drawn to a stranger and in the time it takes to press her lips to his, he's made her his blood mate. Kel is furious, especially when she discovers he is a son of the House that turned her out on the streets as a child for not being of pure blood. When another little girl disappears she finds herself needing the strength of the unwanted blood bond between them to face the truth of her past to catch their killer.

Kel Sheridan is a half breed, and proud of it. During her latest investigation, she crosses paths with an enforcer from one of the Sanguen houses, the House of Farrar. In fact, Gabrial Farrar is House Marshal, and next in line to lead.

When his case and Kel’s intersect, he kisses her, and makes her his bloodmate. Can Kel break the blood bond she and Gabrial now share? When it becomes clear that her case and Gabe’s are on and the same, can she find a way to work with him? Can Kel and Gabe bring the guilty party to justice and survive long enough to complete their bond?

This is so much more than your ordinary vampire romance. Ms. Vyne has created a society where bloodlines matter, but where love and passion will find a way past prejudice and bigotry.

Kel has many prejudices against the Sanguen race, even though she is half Sanguen herself. She is strong and loyal, but her past haunts her. That makes her pretty much like any young woman who just wants to belong somewhere. Gabe wants Kel for his mate forever, but has to try and see her side. These two are strong and stubborn, but they slowly work toward middle ground, learning what works and what doesn’t in their relationship.

I loved the way the mystery unfolded, and the surprise of who was the evil vampire in the mix. This is a well written and taut thriller, as well as a really steamy romance. When Gabe and Kel are together, the temperature rises quickly.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes their vampires wickedly hot, their heroines sassy and smart, and their romance hot beyond compare.

Dark Desires of the Druids III: Desert and Destiny by Isabel Roman

Dark Desires of the Druids III: Desert and Destiny by Isabel Roman
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (220 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

The first time they met, Arabelle Bahari tried to kill him. The second time, they made love on a desk in the British Museum. But they needed each other, and Gareth, Lord Moore, despite his arrogant ways and pompous manner, drew her back to him each time they met. He needed her to decipher the magickal runes on a special box and Arabelle discovered she just needed him.

Gareth, Earl Moore, had closed himself off from the world. He had his work at Parliament and his work securing a place for his kind, magickers, in a world that hated and hunted them. When he met Arabelle Bahari, he felt an attraction he'd never experienced before. And while he didn't trust her, he did want her.

They came together out of need, helpless to resist the passion between them. but when an old enemy tries to kill Arabelle, will Gareth realize the depth of his emotions? Or will the desert swallow them all?

Gareth, Lord Moore, is one of four Druid masters, targeted still by John Corwin, in Victorian London. Gareth witnesses Corwin beat and murder an innocent magicker in an abandoned warehouse in the back streets of the city’s poorer section. Corwin is seeking the mysterious jeweled box, thought to contain riches hidden long ago by the Druid s in an effort to keep them safe.

A powerful magicker herself, Arabelle Bahari prevents Gareth from killing Corwin at the scene, believing that would turn him into a martyr for his cause. When Gareth provides the mysterious box for Arabelle’s scrutiny, clues lead the Druid masters to Egypt in search of the Druid treasure: not gold and jewels as Corwin desires, but the recorded history of the Druids and their strong spells.

As the group meets, over time, Gareth is drawn more and more to Arabelle: her beauty, her strength and her intelligence. Can Gareth forget his pain and hurt form his former fiancée’s betrayal and find love with Arabelle? Can the masters find the treasure in time? Will Corwin catch them and get the treasure for himself? Can they stop Corwin once and for all?

Isabel Roman has once again taken us back in time to revisit her Druidic masters. The usual cast of characters is present: Raven and Malcolm, Lucien and Morgana, and Lady Isadore Harrington are all here. At the onset, Gareth is still bitter and resentful of Malcolm, Lord Preston for seducing and marrying Raven, and it colors many of his actions. But Arabelle realizes she cares for Gareth, and does all she can to win him over.

The location this time, Egypt of the late 1800’s, is one of contrasts. There are luxurious hotels catering to the tourists and crumbling hovels that the native people live in almost next to each other. The characters are, as always, richly charismatic and superbly detailed. The women are strong and intelligent, and as willing to jump into the fray as the men are. The action is fast and exciting, the mystery engaging, and the romance is searingly hot.

For anyone who likes a bit of history with their romance, this one fills the bill quite nicely. Do Gareth and Arabelle get the happy ever after they deserve? Read Dark Desires of the Druids III: Desert and Destiny and find out.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bite My Fire by Mary Hughes

Bite My Fire by Mary Hughes
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (257 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

At last, the perfect lover. Now what? Stake him, shoot him—or screw him?

A Biting Love story.

Elena O’Rourke lusts for two things—her detective’s shield and a good lay. Sass-Cgal’s “Bad Girl Sex Tips” will win her the man. But keeping the shield hinges on solving a murder.

Warrior-gorgeous Bo Strongwell stands in her way.

Powerful as a Viking warship, Bo would be Elena’s one-stop solution to celibacy—except for his apartment building full of mysteries. Plus, his kisses…and nibbles…and full body tongue-swipes…keep distracting her from the case. As if a caped clown named Dracula, a hooker with a heart of gold (and boobs of steel), and Elena’s own clueless partner aren’t distraction enough.

Bo Strongwell is a master vampire who needs a cop snooping around like he needs a garlic enema. Fighting rogues keeps him busy enough without Elena trying to pin the murder on one of his kind…even if she does taste like heaven.

Two fighters for justice. One incredible attraction. A terrible secret. Drunken women dancing on the bar… It all rides on Elena solving the Case of the Punctured Prick.

Warning: Jammed with hot explicit sex, graphic fanged violence, and acid cop humor. May contain donuts.

Elena O’Rourke wants to follow in her father’s footsteps. She wants to be a detective with the Meiers Corners Police Department. When the call comes in for the first homicide ever in MCPD history, she has the chance to prove herself. All she has to do is find the murderer, no big deal. It’s a small town so there should be an easy solution. But with each new clue, things get more confusing.

And then there is Bo Strongwell, who is either a suspect or something more. Everywhere she goes on a lead, there is Bo, just in front of her. It seems everyone in the town knows more than Elena about what is going on. Can Elena solve the murder and earn her shield? Will she give in to the desire she feels for Bo? And will she freak out when she learns that vampires are real, and very much involved in her case?

Mary Hughes has created a very unique and fun book to read. Her characters are over the top, filled with droll humor and wit. I found Elena to be so funny, with her countdown of just how long it has been since she had sex and the escapades of Elena and Bo as she tries to solve this crime. I knew the two of them getting together was inevitable, but I enjoyed watching her stay so clueless about the vampires, even when confronted by the one calling himself Vlad Dracula.

Bo is everything a one thousand year old vampire should be: strong, big and handsome, master of his domain. The supporting cast is fun too; Elena’s sister, her not-so-dead husband, and even Detective Ruffles are interesting in their own way. And Elena’s best friend, Nixie, is a strong presence in the book as well. I laughed at the antics of all of the characters and enjoyed the unusual places Elena and Bo ended up making love in.

If you want a book that will make you giggle and pant at the same time, Bite My Fire will do quite nicely. This is a very enjoyable book, but more than that, it is such fun to read.

Heaven Sent 6: Revelations by Jet Mykles

Heaven Sent 6: Revelations by Jet Mykles
Publisher: Loose ID
genre: Contemporary
Length Full Length (216 pgs)
Other: F/M/M, F/M, M/M, M/F/M, Menage
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Ambrosia

For years, Gretchen’s main objective has been taking care of the boys of Heaven Sent. When her boys decide to take a hiatus, she decides to do the same.

Before she can begin her summer off, Gretchen has one last public commitment. There, she meets tall, mysterious, and wickedly handsome Archer Thanos. Archer’s company has a video game based on Heaven Sent and he’s has been trying to get in touch with her to discuss it. Their first meeting quickly turns into a discussion of another type … in a nearby hotel room, sending Gretchen headlong into a whirlwind affair she hadn’t anticipated.

Only, someone isn’t exactly thrilled about Gretchen and Archer’s romance. Gretchen’s adorable new assistant, Owen, has been pining for his boss since he started working for her but he hasn’t had the courage to assert himself and tell her he wants her. As a result, Gretchen is completely blind to his feelings for her. And after meeting Archer, Owen knows he has no chance against the handsome devil. His own attraction to the older man is instant and overwhelming, the bisexual urges he hasn’t divulged to Gretchen fully awakening.

Owen thinks he’s not enough for Gretchen. Gretchen thinks Owen is far too young for her. Archer thinks they’re both ridiculous. He knows the three of them are just right for each other, if they can survive the revelations.

WOW, what a revelation! Talk about two hot and horny hunks and one lucky lady, the recipients of all the luck! Emotions fly as one man struggles with the possible loss of his love interest while another revels in his conquest, and an adventurous woman battles to keep the walls around her heart.

Great plot! This terrific trio starts out with a villainous tall, dark, and handsome hunk who appears to lead the show, while sweeping our heroine off her feet for a night of raw sex. Adding cards to the stack, in comes her lovely male assistant who shows sensitivity few men reveal. She wants them both, unable to choose between them.

Managing a rock band, Gretchen’s seen it all, envying the men their free and modern attitudes towards sex, gay or bi-sexual, until she get the chance to have it all…and then some. Meeting Archer at a dull business party, she finds her engines revving up for a night of hot bliss, not knowing that the other man she’s interested is dying inside for fear of losing her for good because he couldn’t find the courage to tell her how he truly feels about her.

Her assistant for years, Owen curses himself, ashamed he didn’t make a move on her before the swarthy hunk did until Archer enters Gretchen’s office when she is absent and gives Owen an offer he can’t refuse; the chance to have both Archer and Gretchen at the same time!

Neither one of the trio expect more than fun, sex, and more unleashed passion, but soon they realize their love for each other until lies come between them that could destroy their budding relationships and send them crashing down alone.

You’re going to need tissues for this one. It’s a book you won’t be able to put down! I give it 5 Cherries for a great plot, steamy sex scenes that make you squirm in your seat, and perhaps might make you want to change into something a little more…comfortable! Well done.

A Question of Love by Jess Dee

A Question of Love by Jess Dee
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage
Length: Short Story (98 pgs)
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Jasmine

A past with three, a future for two…

Sequel to A Question of Trust.

Gabe Carter and his best friend Connor’s passion for threesomes brought Tina Jenkins into Gabe’s bed—and into his heart. As a matter of honor, he gave up the woman he loved. Time passes, times change and old promises fall away, but Gabe is still in love with Tina. Now he’s going after his heart’s desire.

Tina has her own opinion about Gabe’s sense of honor. His departure tore apart the most special of bonds and destroyed her relationship with Connor, leaving her brokenhearted. It took her a long time to pick up the pieces, a struggle she doesn’t wish to repeat. When Gabe shows up at her favorite coffee shop, she knows just where to tell him to stick his apology.

Gabe isn’t so easily put off—and Tina can’t help but respond to his seduction. Picking up where they left off is tempting, but Gabe wants her all to himself. And Tina wants the whole package, which includes Connor.

At the risk of crushing his hopes for the future, Gabe sets out to prove he’s more than enough man for her…

Warning: If piping hot sex, ménage scenes, adult toys, anal play, short blonde heroines and stacked, muscular heroes are not your cup of tea, then don’t read this book. You won’t enjoy it.

Four years ago, his code of honor caused him to walk away from his heart’s desire. Could you walk away from the only woman you’ve ever loved, especially considering that woman is also in love with your best friend? Or, do you run the risk of destroying a lifelong friendship?

Tina Jenkins is feisty, direct, sarcastic, and quick witted with her bitter comebacks that are a true reflection of her sharp mind. While some of these traits would send a grown man running for the hills, they only awaken the desire in Gabe Carter. When Gabe approaches Tina at their favorite coffee shop, the logical side of her brain says walk away, but the sensual side remembers the passion that she shared with Gabe. The way his touch, or a mere look, could set her body and soul on fire. Unfortunately, her fear of being not only hurt, but destroyed both emotionally and physically if Gabe were to walk away from her a second time causes Tina’s response to be cold, cynical, and harsh enough that each syllable acts as a dagger to deter Gabe’s confidence of winning her back.

Gabe is the strong, sexy, silent type that at times drives a woman crazy, especially Tina. Often described as being in a “catatonic state”, his actions are definitely stronger than his non-existent words, especially when it comes to pleasuring the woman he loves. Even when Tina inquires as to the reason Gabe is contacting her after four long years of silence, the words form a knot in his throat. In his head, everything is clear, he loves Tina and has so since the first time he laid eyes on her. There’s only one problem, convincing her to take him back is going to be an uphill battle that at times will question whether or not he’s man enough for his heart’s desire because her harsh, angered words are like salt being rubbed over fresh wounds. Can Gabe get past the hurt and anger to help her remember that she loves him and only him? Will doubt, miscommunication and at times lack of communication, the fear of being hurt and abandoned again prevent these two lovers from being together forever?

Sometimes, are we so blinded by the past that we fail to see what’s right in front us; thereby discarding how GREAT the future could be if we were willing to take a chance and risk it all…for LOVE? These are the questions that Gabe and Tina will have to resolve before they can live happily ever after, but whether or not they will succeed is truly A Question of Love.

Although the sexual desires of Gabe and Tina are enough to set your E-reader a blaze, that’s not what makes this story so great. It’s the emotional connection between the two characters that’s so heartwarming and intense that at times it’ll make you weep when remembering they’ve been apart for four long years. Time wasted that can never be recovered and all because of an inflexible code of honor. I was engrossed in the story from page one when the couple confronted each other in the coffee shop. Gabe and Tina’s passion for one another is something that most women and men dream of, but often never obtain in a lifetime.

Ms. Dee provides the reader with a sexy, scorching hot, passionate story that’s not only guaranteed to take your breath away, but will also take you on an emotional roller coaster ride that will have you begging for more. The struggles her characters endure are realistic and at times creates what I like to call the “ah ha” effect. Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship and had to struggle to make it work will identify with Gabe and Tina situation. A Question of Love is not only the perfect title for Ms. Dee’s work of art, but also a definite recommend to all my friends. This gripping story of love, loss, and sexual desire is definitely a book I’ll re-read on many occasions. Two thumbs up to Ms. Dee and her sensual masterpiece, A Question of Love.

Straight Up by Missy Lyons

Straight Up by Missy Lyons
Publisher: Phaze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (46 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/F/F, M/F/M/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

The ladies of Vegas share their dirty little secrets in this short but hot collection. This "oral" history explores the intimacies of sex behind closed doors...and on stage.

Making your dreams happen isn’t always easy, but if you can make it fun... then you’re set—Straight Up.

Missy Lyons writes an interesting take on the Vegas stripper that entices and excites the reader. She uses the POV switch to advance the story via four of the dancers. I liked the originality even when I wasn’t sure if there was a true happily ever after for the characters. The variety of experiences portrayed and the central theme of fellatio made the story memorable.

Reading about the different experiences of the girls and how they dealt was fascinating. Although I found it a bit odd that the main character hadn’t experienced giving fellatio, I thought that her forth-right approach to learning was unique. The erotic scenes were indeed steamy and memorable.

The idea of the stories advancing the plot and helping the new girl boost her courage to dance is a unique device to tell the story. Though there was no real antagonist, the pacing of the story kept the reader involved.

If you want a red-hot erotic story guaranteed to make you squirm, then you need to read Straight Up. I give this story 3.5 cherries.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blood and Roses by Aislinn Kerry

Blood and Roses by Aislinn Kerry
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Short Story (45 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Review by Cactus

In this world, love can put you on the wrong end of a stake…

The last thing Arjen wants is a vampire in his bed. The rest of the world may be enamored of the creatures, but he doesn’t share the obsession. When local vampire Maikel van Triet pays a visit to the brothel, Arjen tries to slip away—drawing the one thing he doesn’t want: Maikel’s attention. Arjen’s too pragmatic to refuse a paying customer, but Maikel doesn’t want his services. All he asks for is a bed, shelter, and a meal before bedtime.

Arjen’s reticence and open dislike intrigue Maikel, who’s delighted by the jaded young prostitute’s attitude, so different from the adoration he’s accustomed to. He’s never been a regular patron at any brothel, but now he can’t keep himself away. He still refuses Arjen’s services though, instead demanding Arjen tuck him in with tales of the daytime Amsterdam he hasn’t known for nearly two centuries. But when Arjen tries to seduce him into leaving, he realizes they’re forging something completely unfamiliar to him: emotional bonds.

It’s equally obvious to Arjen that their arrangement is becoming more than either of them expected, and the thought terrifies him. Vampires are shallow, fickle creatures, and Maikel could never truly love another—could he?

Warning: Contains blood, vampire bites, unapologetic prostitution, and lots of gay vampire lovin’.

Can a cynical whore and a vulnerable vampire find common ground? Well-seasoned male whore Arjen doesn’t simper over vampires like other prostitutes in the brothel. In fact, he’d be happy if they stay well away from him, but when sexy vampire Maikel buys him for the night, the money is too good to say no. Except neither Arjen nor Maikel are as they seem. As their nights slowly evolve into a pattern, emotions develop on both sides. Yet Maikel’s fickle nature and Arjen’s cynical confusion threaten to drive the two apart.

This engaging and interesting novella is almost too short to truly develop. The characters are interesting but not fully three-dimensional. The plot is a classic with a lot of well-used elements; however, hints of changes are still there. Unfortunately none of these are fully evolved and thus the story has more potential than what is actually delivered. The story is told more than it is shown and thus the reader is told all about these grand conversations the two have, talking all night until morning instead of offering actual dialogue. I would have loved to see more than a sentence or two of such great conversations and thus felt disconnected from the characters and the emotion displayed.

What does help the story are the glimpses into the world building, which include interesting descriptions, rich detailing, and witty dialogue. Unfortunately the story follows the day-to-day activities of Arjen, in first person past tense, a little too much. Again the story tells rather than shows the relationship unfolding, but the glimpses of description are addictive and show real potential. The sexual tension between the two men is at times sizzling and other times awkward. Just as the prose can be riveting and other times bland. This ultimately led to an uneven story but with the short length, easy to read and mostly enjoyable.

I think this title will definitely appeal to vampire genre fans and the emotional connection between the men will appeal to readers who crave a little bit of angst in their m/m romance. The few quibbles I had may jar the reader occasionally but the few highlights in description and rich texture help smooth over those problematic spots. This is an author I’ll keep an eye on and would be interested to read more from. Be sure to check out this novella.