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Friday, December 11, 2009

Eden’s Hell by Dawne Dominique

Eden’s Hell by Dawne Dominique
Publisher: Purple Sword Publications
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (112 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

In the beginning… God created man and called him Adam, a fine specimen replicated in his own image. He then created woman to ease Adam’s loneliness and named her Lillith. Unfortunately, God realized his mistake too late in giving woman free will, for she would rule her domain—not man. When Lillith left Adam, God created another for his first-born son, and gave her the name Eve and a kingdom called Eden, but by then it was too late, for he’d unleashed Hell into the world of man.

Sometimes things happen and we have no idea why, but our actions totally dictate how the event ends. Sound out there and metaphysical? Perhaps. Interested? Then you need to read Eden’s Hell.

Some authors strive to incorporate religion and theology into romance. Some even manage to make the story interesting. Dawne Dominique puts her own spin on the Adam/Eve/Lillith story. Many people know the Adam and Eve creation story. But what happens when Adam chooses repentance? What if Eve wasn’t all he expected? So is the story of Eden’s Hell.

Addison is a great hero because he’s not interested in a relationship. He likes his privacy and solitude, but he can’t help but want to help someone in trouble. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s sexy as all get out. You want to run your hands all over this man.

Eva, though not the Eve from the story, makes an interesting heroine because she loses faith in almost everything, but she never loses her faith in love. Even through the changes, she still keeps a heart full of light and love. She never gives up.

And the passion? Whew! You’ll need a cold shower after this one. Keep this in mind, sexy doesn’t mean graphic. These love scenes are passionate and emotional without the overt, in-your-face actions. I like the sensuality between Addison and Eva.

Although there is a lot going on in this story and it can be a bit hard to keep up with, you won’t want to put this one down.

If you want a story guaranteed to set the screen ablaze, then you need to read Eden’s Hell. I give this novella 4 cherries.

Beyond The Norm by Shawn Lane

Beyond The Norm by Shawn Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (102 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by: Cherokee Rose

After closing his bar one night, Dave Johnson rescues Kyle, who is on the run after witnessing the murder of a federal agent in San Francisco. Dave knows Kyle is trouble but can't help falling in love; Kyle loses his heart but fears he's bringing danger to Dave's doorstep. When Kyle's pursuers close in, the two men are at an impasse. They can either separate and live in safety and loneliness, or find a way to stay alive and together.

Beyond the Norm is the second book by Shawn Lane that I’ve read and I enjoyed it. I was drawn just a few lines into the story. She pens words that invoke thoughts and even emotions that that I rarely experience as a reader.

Dave comes across as an enigma of a guy. He is macho and handsome, yet, caring and practical. Within the first 20 pages we also find out he is the kind of person that is going to stand by while someone is being mistreated.

From the instant Kyle enters the picture, it becomes clear he is the complete opposite of Dave. He is younger than Dave and he’s Goth. There is one word to sum up Kyle, mysterious. In spite of the extreme opposites, Dave is attracted to him. The more I read and discovered about Kyle them more I understood why.

Then there is the storyline itself. Beyond the Norm is exciting and I really wanted to get to the bottom of the obscurity surrounding Kyle. Why was Kyle being attacked in the alley? Kyle would share details about his horrible past but not much beyond that. Ms. Lane had often made me groan in frustration by offering bits of information here and there but it served a wonderful purpose. She pulls you in closer to the story, to the characters and to the questions of what is really going on.

Beyond the Norm was a great read with a good pace. I enjoyed the character’s connection and how Ms. Lane developed Dave and Kyle's relationship. I recommend this book if you are looking for something Beyond the Norm for Ms. Lane definitely delivers it.

Improper Holiday by K. A. Mitchell

Improper Holiday by KA Mitchell
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical, Holiday
Length: Short Story (75 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by: Cactus

He followed all the rules…until one man showed him a dozen ways to break them.

As second son to an earl, Ian Stanton has always done the proper thing. Obeyed his elders, studied diligently, and dutifully accepted the commission his father purchased for him in the Fifty-Second Infantry Division. The one glaring, shameful, marvelous exception: Nicholas Chatham, heir to the Marquess of Carleigh.

Before Ian took his position in His Majesty’s army, he and Nicky consummated two years of physical and emotional discovery. Their inexperience created painful consequences that led Ian to the conviction that their unnatural desires were never meant to be indulged.

Five years later, wounded in body and plagued by memories of what happened between them, Ian is sent to carry out his older brother’s plans for a political alliance with Nicky’s father. Their sister Charlotte is the bargaining piece.

Nicky never believed that what he and Ian felt for each other was wrong and he has a plan to make things right. Getting Ian to Carleigh is but the first step. Now Nicky has only twelve nights to convince Ian that happiness is not the price of honor and duty, but its reward.

Warning: Just thinking about reading this book in 1814 could get you hanged, so the men in this book who enjoy m/m interaction of an intimately penetrative nature are in a hell of a lot of trouble.

Old lovers rekindle an explosive spark and their passion won’t be denied this time. Set in snowy historical times, Nicky schemes to reignite the love and passion he felt in stoic Ian’s arms. To do so, he must employ the mischievous nature of Ian’s sister, Charlotte, and her good friend Emily. A few helpful nudges and a vial of scented oil later, Nicky’s plan to seduce Ian succeeds. Yet that is just the first hurdle as now Ian must also agree to an inventive plan to give everyone a very happy ending.

This story is a sure win with historical romance fans. The setting is rich with color and detail, drawing a snowy holiday party with romantic flair. The characterization is solid and well drawn from the stuffy, angst-driven Ian to the flirty, wild child in Nicky. Even the bratty yet mischief-filled Charlotte is given interest and depth as the various planning and scheming between various members of the party slowly are explained. The romance between the two men is not the only affair and the novella manages to show enduring love through small touches, looks, and sacrifices.

The story is well crafted and well written with a deft touch to the characters while remaining historically accurate. The story itself focuses on the characters and notably Nicky and Ian as they renew their acquaintance and catch up on lost time. There is a lack of external conflict which is nice and allows the characters’ own turmoil to direct and progress the story. The details of the time period and setting come alive with colorful descriptions and textured scenes. The author has no doubt done her research and historical fans will delight in the small details that make up a great holiday love story. There is a small bit of angst that is easily overcome and a few daring, uncomfortable scenes for the intrepid heroes but the ending is as good as the historical period can allow.

The ending is perhaps the one sticking point that I had a problem with and others may or may not. Being as historically accurate as this particular story is, the end resolution is inventive, creative, and mostly satisfying. Clearly this is as good of a solution that can be created due to the constraints of the time period. There are other solutions offered in the story but none are really serious – even if they suit the romantic element more. So while the ending is as good as it can be, it left me a little wanting. I would have preferred a better ending but I also acknowledge this isn’t possible for the story to remain true to the setting.

Overall this is a delightful historical from a great author offering some hot, sexy men for the holiday season. Their romance definitely turns up the heat more than a few degrees and the story’s ending remains as accurate as possible. This will appeal to m/m historical romance fans most and fans of the author. Although some may be slightly disappointed in the ending as I was, I highly doubt any will dislike the story.

What You See by CJ Black

What You See by CJ Black
Publisher: Noble Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (20 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Cherokee Rose

When the older man starts frequenting the restaurant where Adam works, he doesn’t know what to think. Kent is everything that defines success and wealth. What could he possibly want with a college kid like Adam?

Kent is going through a bad divorce, but he knows what he wants and who he wants. He makes his move, but following a brief yet intense lovemaking session, Adam’s insecurities make him walk away.

Kent, refusing to let Adam go, decides to find a way to make the younger man see his worth and their need to be together.

In need of a short and hot story to get you through the afternoon? Then What You See just might what you are looking for.

Adam, a young college student/waiter biding time until he can open his own restaurant. Kent, the older, well-known, divorced businessman, frequents the same restaurant Adam works in. Kent often comes to the restaurant to wind down due to all of the recent turmoil in his life.

What neither of them realizes is that they are both attracted to each other until Adam makes the first move. Because the story is short we don’t really get to know Adam or Kent very well but what we do find out is that the two men are hot for each other.

This was a steamy story. When Kent and Adam came together it is explosive. The scenes are descriptive and didn’t leave anything to the imagination. Neither of these men are aware of how well-suited they are for each other but it immediately became clear to me as a reader how much Kent and Adam seem to need each to have the perfect balance in their life.

I would recommend What You See as a quick titillating read. But be warned you might need a glass of ice water and a towel afterwards.

Santa’s Coming by Cat Lovington

Santa’s Coming by Cat Lovington
Publisher: Carnal Passions
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (25 pgs)
Other: M/F, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

Amy McBride's life has been anything but exciting until she dons a slinky, red dress, a lacy thong, and a pair of spiked heels to take a walk on the wild side at her glamorous cousin's co-op Christmas Party. The glow of the full moon and too many glasses of wine awaken the bad girl hidden inside of every woman.

Santa Claus came to town and Amy’s happy to sit on his lap. Want to know more? Then you need to read Santa’s Coming.

I know, I know, it’s a bit early for Christmassy stories and to think about the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It is, but, if you want a getaway from that stress, then Santa’s Coming is the eBook for you.

Cat Lovington writes a quirky, fun take on the dreaded Christmas party. We’ve all been there: you don’t’ want to go, but you do. You think it’ll be icky, and then it’s not. In this story, you feel like you’re right there with Amy, getting nervous, tipsy, and finding out the holidays aren’t that depressing.

Although I really didn’t see much of an antagonist, Amy and Santa’s helper make a great couple. I like reading about a heroine who isn’t afraid to go after what she wants, especially when she’s not sure what she wants. The thrill-seeker element reeled me in.

And the love scenes? Whoa! Who knew sex on a rooftop could be so darn steamy? The lust pooled from the pages of this story. Yep, you feel it like you’re really there.

If you want a fast-paced, short little story that’s guaranteed to singe the screen and get you hot under the collar, then you need to read Santa’s Coming. Whew! You’ll need a cold shower.

I give this story 4 cherries.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ice Man by KyAnn Waters

Ice Man by KyAnn Waters
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (85 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

Feeding and sex go hand in hand when you’re a blood slave to a vampire. It’s like a drug and Rowan is hooked. With the vampire Theron, Rowan has never wanted for more than his next fix. Until he meets Brett. Brett is hot, the sex is incredible and he’s human.

Brett is looking for kinky sex when he goes to The Catacombs, an exclusive fetish club for men. Flair bartender Rowan, also known as Ice Man, is sexy and mysterious. Brett isn’t ready to complicate his life with a lover outside The Catacombs and Rowan isn’t interested in club-scene sex but coming together and giving in never felt so good.

Rowan’s dark secret could destroy everything. He must never allow Brett to learn of his symbiotic relationship with the vampire. He has to choose—tell Brett the truth or remain a blood slave. He can only hope that Brett will trust in love enough to forgive him.

As someone that’s read her fair share of paranormal erotica involving vampires, I can honestly say it takes a new spin to shock/titillate/surprise me. The genre is saturated with themes that hardly deviate from one another, so that oftentimes you feel you’re reading a rehash of the same story. For that reason alone, I have to give props to author KyAnn Waters. In Ice Man, she has crafted something provocative, fresh, and “lick your lips afterward to savor the flavor” tasty.

This is a story with facets that hit all those delicious tingly places you want when reading an emotional erotica. Every single character is one you’ll embrace, especially as you learn more about the circumstances that have brought them together. Our tortured hero, Rowan, is to die for. While his would-be lover, Brett, will snake his way into your heart. Even though they try to deny the desire for something more than night of passionate sex, you’ll sense their desperation to cleave to one another. I couldn’t wait to see how things played out between the star-crossed lovers, and Ms. KyAnn made sure to keep me on the edge of my seat. How can Rowan be with a mortal man when he’s the blood slave to a vampire that refuses to let him go? And better still, how can Rowan sever the bond between him and Theron without forfeiting his life as their existence must remain a secret? The answer just might shock you, and I won’t even try to deny it–this girl didn’t see it coming.

It should be mentioned that the vampire Theron is the character that stamped a permanent tattoo across my chest and left me clamoring for more. Ultimately, it is his sacrifice that is the most painful to bear. Talk about a secondary character that is anything but! When he appears on the page, everything else is a paltry decoration. I couldn’t get enough of the tortured and magnificent vampire, and hope to see him again in future works.

Vampire fans have to read this story, especially if you love a good M/M tale with oodles of heat and torrents of emotion. I couldn’t put Ice Man down, and as soon as I finished, I immediately placed KyAnn Waters on my must read author pile.

Sexhibition by Tigra-Luna LeMar

Sexhibition by Tigra-Luna LeMar
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Cherokee Rose

Lisa Hamilton loves to work and the financial benefits that come with it. Her desire for wealth and reluctance to start a family, however, puts her marriage to blue-collar Matt Hamilton at risk, something she doesn't realize until Matt leaves her.

Devastated, Lisa fights to keep the only man she's ever loved, but Matt is hesitant to reconcile. It will take a night away from work, and Lisa's willingness to submit, to reignite the spark...

What would you do if your husband served you with divorce papers? Well that's what Lisa Hamilton has to figure out when her husband does just that.

Sexhibition is an excellent read! Lisa and Matt are off to a rocky start before they even make it down the aisle. Lisa’s parents disapprove of their relationship because of their different backgrounds, racial and financial. In the beginning of the story, Lisa is all about being financially stable at all costs. Her husband Matt is fed up with Lisa emasculating him in their relationship.

Receiving divorce papers hits Lisa hard. Between the wake up call of those papers and her best friends, she realizes she loves her husband more than her work. But is it too late to prove it?

From the beginning of this short story, I was riveted. The storyline is very believable. I can actually imagine a real life couple going through this type of situation. When Lisa makes the decision to fight for her husband, there is enough heat to melt ice cream. Lisa doesn’t wait until they arrive at their destination to show Matt she is serious.

Sexhibition is a must read. Ms. LeMar immediately draws you into the dilemma between Lisa and Matt. The sex scenes are erotic and steam up your glasses -- even if you don’t wear any.

Touch Me, Tease Me, Whip Me by Eliza Gayle

Touch Me, Tease Me, Whip Me by Eliza Gayle
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (42 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Fern

Recovering from a bad relationship, Walker comes to Purgatory looking for a place to call home. While he enjoys the casual play, he yearns to make a connection with a submissive for the long-term. The second he lays eyes on beautiful, mysterious Cass at the flogging station, his mind is made up.

Cass enjoys the sense of anonymity Purgatory gives her, and despite her determination to live by her rules she is unable to resist Walker. Can Cass overcome her personal demons to give in completely to the Dom who has her heart, and a mighty strong whip, in his hands?

Looking for a short, hot, and sweet BDSM story? Then Touch Me, Tease Me, Whip Me just might hit the spot.

Walker is a Dom in a rut. He needs something more than regular visits to the Purgatory BDSM club to satisfy his dominate nature, but finding the right submissive seems next to impossible. That changes the moment he’s introduced to the beautiful and quiet Cass. She’s a sub that was left to freefall when her former Master split without so much as a good-bye and fears trusting another Dom with her safekeeping. A tryst behind the club will prove something exists between Walker and Cass, but he’ll have to force the issue when the woman he knows will be a perfect sub tries to run away.

Though the work is well-written and I enjoyed the story, I was disappointed that we never get to glimpse anything through the eyes of Cass. Walker is the voice through-out, and that meant the circumstances that have left the heroine scared and afraid to trust are given second-hand. As the story is a novella, I understand character development oftentimes takes a back-seat to the action. But since Cass’s past is the conflict catalyst, and is one of the reasons Walker is drawn to her as a sub, it would have been nice to understand her a bit better. Without that connection, it’s was difficult to sympathize or understand her as a woman and a sub.

Otherwise, the story is fast paced and the sex scenes are scorching hot. When Walker finally masters Cass, he does more than touch, tease, and whip. He conquers that demon called fear, and leaves trust in its wake.

Force My Hand by Em Brown

Force My Hand by Em Brown
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (169 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

Independent and always in command, Darcy Sherwood holds her own among the cads and rakes who frequent the dubious gaming hall where she works. When she has the opportunity to exact revenge upon the man who wronged her sister, she intends to provide the arrogant Baron Broadmoor the biggest set-down of his life…by requiring him to be her suitor.

But when the Baron begins to play his role too well, can Darcy resist falling for the man she’s supposed to hate above all others?

Radcliff Barrington, Baron Broadmoor, has no intention of quietly submitting to Miss Sherwood – even if she does hold the deed that could ruin his family. He intends to turn the tables on Miss Sherwood. She must surrender the deed or surrender herself…
Passions flare to erotic heights as Darcy and Radcliff struggle to see who will submit to whom. And all bets are off as to who will win…

A game of cards has never been so naughty…or so nice. In Force My Hand, author Em Brown has presented a wickedly delightful romp that jump starts the heart and gets the blood pumping.

From the start, you’ll recognize the hero and heroine are two of a kind. Each want something from the other–which either refuse to relinquish–so it’s a good thing neither mind partaking in the added incentives provided by the wagers that follow them into the bedroom. The sex scenes positively sizzle and burn and the BDSM elements will keep you squirming in your seat. But what I enjoyed most about Force My Hand is that Radcliff and Darcy are unapologetically flawed. He wants revenge; so does she. He’s unwilling to bend or crack, and she’s determined to break him, even at the risk of her heart. One moment, you dislike Darcy as she takes control and becomes the Mistress in charge. She’s cocky, she’s brash, and she’s demanding. Then, in a reversal of power, Radcliff gains the upper hand and takes the reins. He’s equally domineering, and expects her total surrender. They engage one another mentally, physically, and emotionally. And it makes for one hell of a story.

Aside from a few editing errors here and there, the work is well-written and flows at a nice steady pace. I loved the characters, the plot, and the circumstances that have shaped and molded the protagonists. Sometimes Radcliff and Darcy will seem heartless, but when you get a full-on view of the person beneath the cleverly crafted façade, you’ll appreciate them all the more. Even the ménage is carefully constructed so that there is no dirtiness in the act, but rather, an intense desperation to claim and possess.

Force My Hand is a story erotic/romance fans are sure to enjoy. Be sure to pencil this story into your TBR list.

Bloodlust: Nighttime Magic by Marilyn Lee

Bloodlust: Nighttime Magic by Marilyn Lee
Publisher: Changeling Press LLC
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (117 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Ambrosia

After a break-up with a controlling lover, forty-three-year-old Neely Little John finds herself stranded on a dark country road being pursued by a stalker. A tall, dark stranger comes to her rescue and Neely falls into instant lust. But what are the chances the young hunk is interested in an older woman?

Twenty-nine-year-old half-blood vampire Dimitri Dumont has obsessed over Neely Little John from afar and wondered if she might be his bloodlust -- his perfect mate.

Determined not to make the mistake of choosing a mate too early in life, as he fears his father did, he flees from Neely after one night of incredible sex. In his struggle to forget her, he's driven into his Feast of Indulgence. He'll emerge from his Feast a full-blood vampire, hungry to claim Neely as his own -- even if he has to take her by force.

Vampire lust at its best, wildest, and most dangerous. A tale of debauchery and stalking but not staking while the hero strives to maintain his distance from the woman he desires above all others. His ‘bloodlust’ interest, Native American, Neely Little John, gets the ride of her life.

The writing is done well, clear and description, though it could use a little more use of all five senses. True fear is felt by the reader when the hero goes overboard sexually, making the heroine literally accept any attention at all from the violent needs of the vampire which is a rather sad. Knowing he’s womanizing and wants to share her with his cousins, she accepts it all with grace, though a little too willingly. Still, it’s a good read for vampire lovers with fetishes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Merry Christmas, Paige by Mackenzie McKade

Merry Christmas, Paige by Mackenzie McKade
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (136 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Review by Fern

One fateful detour. A raging storm. She didn’t see this love coming…

Holding a knife against a child’s throat isn’t exactly how Dr. Paige Weston had planned to spend her Christmas holiday. But a jolt from an air pocket and here she is, performing an emergency tracheotomy as her flight to Fiji diverts to Kauai. The one place she swore never to return.

Beside the fact her patient comes first, what’s the chance she’ll run into her ex-fiancé—the man who jilted her when another woman turned up pregnant? Then she realizes the island hospital is woefully understaffed, forcing her to lend a hand. And upping the odds that her heart will hit more turbulence before she makes her escape.

Nathan Cross can’t believe his eyes. The emergency room doctor tending to his daughter’s cut foot is the woman he’s dreamed about every night since he was forced to walk out of her life. He should have been prepared for her indifference, but he’s blindsided by the need to hold her in his arms. Just one more time.

Yet Fate is a trickster, leaving him wondering if he should grasp for a second chance…or take his punishment for one, long-ago choice.

Warning: This book contains two lovers destined to make up for lost time, which means moments of deep emotional and hot lusty sex, including in such places as against the wall, up against a railing (my personal favorite), on the hood of a truck, in the rain, and every other imaginable place.

Merry Christmas, Paige is the kind of story you read when you want to believe that miracles do come true. As the blurb promises, there is deep emotion and oodles of sizzling hot sex in between. The problem-–for me, at least-–is I had a very hard time believing it.

The tale begins with Paige performing a tracheotomy on a child who has stopped breathing. She saves his life and can’t bear to let the little guy go when he squeezes her hand as the airplane lands at a hospital in the closest proximity. She’s worried about sticking around, of course, as the location is one she swore she’d never return to. Kauai is the place she first fell in love, as well as had her heart brutally crushed. But she won’t bump into Nathan, she reassures herself. He’s married now, having left her for the woman carrying his child some five years before. Agreeing to help the hospital during her brief stay, she gets to work to keep her mind off of the past. Then, in a stroke of misfortune-–or is it luck?-–her next patient turns out to be Nathan’s daughter.

Nathan is getting a divorce, having realized he is nothing without the woman he let go. Now that she’s accessible, he just has to gain Paige’s trust and show her that he’ll never hurt her again. At this point, the emotional fireworks come out, and man-oh-man, are they explosive! She loves him but she hates him. She wants him but she’s afraid he’s going to hurt her. Nathan promises her the moon and pleads for forgiveness, swearing he has longed for only her after all these years. After a stint of crying, Paige literally jumps into our hero’s arms, and from that point forward, allows him to make all of the choices regarding their proposed future together with only a small demon on her shoulder whispering a cautionary warning.

I’m all for a HEA, but in this circumstance, I kept wondering what Paige was thinking. Nathan has been absent from her life for five years, has a young child with another woman, and pretty much turned his back on her and walked away when he found out he was going to be a father. But since he’s seen the error of his ways, is getting a divorce and promises he still loves and wants only her…it’s time to start fresh?

Perhaps if more time was devoted to working out their issues instead of Paige silently pondering the risks of losing everything she’s worked for before agreeing to let it all go and move to Kauai to be with Nathan, it might have been easier to believe. As it was, the reunion felt forced. Each roadblock or logical concern was met with an “I love you, we’ll get through anything” response, which is all well and good if you’re not vying for viability. As much as I wanted to like Nathan, I kept thinking about how incredibly selfish he was. First, he breaks Paige’s heart without any regard to her feelings. Then, he realizes he will have to do the same to his little girl by bringing Paige into her life immediately following her mother’s absence.

With that said, there are positive things in the story, the biggest being the style of writing and pace. Ms. McKade writes emotional scenes beautifully, and you’ll need a box of hankies when Nathan and Paige face off for the first time in five years. It’s the initial intensity that snagged my attention and held my interest. Both protagonists are torn-up over the loss of love, but want one another so much your heart will cramp and knot. I had that heavy weight in my chest on more than one occasion, and will readily admit to experiencing that wrench in my gut and sting in my eyes that accompanies the desire to tear up. It doesn’t hurt that the sexual chemistry between the protagonists is so hot you’ll blister and wilt, and considering the length of the work, there is more than enough to satisfy erotica enthusiasts. Five years is an awful long time to burn for someone, and Nathan and Paige more than make up for it when they are reunited.

I recommend Merry Christmas, Paige to readers that like stories with that have a fairytale feel but contain enough heat between the sheets to keep the blood pumping.

The Dickens with Love by Josh Lanyon

The Dickens with Love by Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Samhain
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Length: Short Story (75 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Cactus

A quirky holiday romance about Faith, Hope, and…er…glow-in-the-dark condoms!

Three years ago, a scandal cost antiquarian “book hunter” James Winter everything that mattered to him: his job, his lover and his self-respect. But now the rich and unscrupulous Mr. Stephanopoulos has a proposition. A previously unpublished Christmas book by Charles Dickens has turned up in the hands of an English chemistry professor by the name of Sedgwick Crisparkle. Mr. S. wants that book at any price, and he needs James to get it for him. There’s just one catch. James can’t tell the nutty professor who the buyer is.

Actually, two catches. The nutty Professor Crisparkle turns out to be totally gorgeous—and on the prowl. Faster than you can say, “Old Saint Nick,” James is mixing business with pleasure…and in real danger of forgetting that this is just a holiday romance.

Just as they’re well on the way to having their peppermint sticks and eating them too, Sedgwick discovers the truth. James has been a very bad boy. And any chance Santa will bring him what he wants most is disappearing quicker than the Jolly Old Elf’s sleigh.

Warning: This book contains an ocelot, songs by America, Stardust martinis, tinsel, long-lost manuscripts, Faith, Hope and…Love.

Whipped chocolate crème brulee body cream, peppermint condoms, hot men on chilly nights – these are a few of James’ favorite things! Rare book finder James Winter is forced to work for some shady individuals after a forgery scandal rocked the tight knit community. Trying to make ends meet, James agrees to broker a deal for a previously unpublished and unknown Christmas book by Charles Dickens. However, James’ life gets complicated when he falls for the book’s owner and his cache of delicious, edible sex accoutrements. Although Sedgwick Crisparkle was looking for a fling, he might get more than he bargained for with the tasty book finder.

This fun and delicious story is meant to be light holiday fare and succeeds rather well. The story itself is pretty decent, although it lacks a lot of detail and depth to make this a fully fleshed out and well rounded novella. The plot revolves around Sedgwick attempting to sell Dickens’ unpublished work while James is trying to preemptively buy the book before auction. There is some loose, unimportant reasoning why James’ shady client doesn’t want Sedgwick to know who he is and thus the real tension is predictable and weak. It’s not a surprise that Sedgwick finds out the truth through some mysterious way or why the couple finally makes up. However obvious these elements are, the story is still very enjoyable and entertaining to read with a lot of literature references sure to please readers.

Whatever this novella may lack in story and plot, it more than makes up for in the men and their delightful chemistry. The characters are sizzling hot and the erotica scenes are filled with humor, whimsy, and sexy charm. From glow in the dark, flavored condoms to the tasty body crème and delicious array of food, this story serves up a great holiday treat. The characters aren’t fully developed but no one will care since they are intelligent, witty, and packed with charm. James’ missteps are off set by Sedgwick’s relentless pursuit and even the brief appearance of James’ neighbor helps give the man more perspective.

There are a few hiccups in the story from odd details and the random use of ocelots, which are cats that look like tiny leopards or jaguars, but overall this fun holiday story hits its mark. The sex scenes are filled with memorable humor and quirky charm, establishing some great moments. For those readers who are looking for a light holiday treat sure to sizzle, be sure to pick up this delicious novella.

Forbidden Love Anthology by Stormy Glenn, H.C. Brown, Anna O’Neill, and Aleksandr Voinov

Forbidden Love Anthology by Stormy Glenn, H.C. Brown, Anna O’Neill, and Aleksandr Voinov
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing
Genre: Historical
Other: M/M, BDSM, Voyeurism, Spanking
Length: Short Story (101 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Jasmine

My Outlaw, by Stormy Glenn

After getting injured and losing his horse during a cattle drive, Daniel Branson is ordered to ride the stagecoach back home. Little does he realize that it will put him in the hands of the notorious outlaw, Black Bart. And the handsome outlaw has plans for Daniel that don’t involve holding him for ransom!

Forbidden, by H.C. Brown

England 1075—Sir Renoir Danier finds himself in an intolerable situation when he is ordered by King William to marry an elderly Spanish countess. Five years earlier, he met the great love of his life, Sir Sebastian. This deeply sensual dark angel taught him all that a man could give to another. Renoir became a slave to his erotic punishment. After a month of bliss, Sebastian sailed to Spain. Will he return or leave Renoir with a shattered heart?

Poisoned Heart, by Anna O’Neill
The ultimate betrayal . . . .

In Edo-period Japan, a prominent family might choose to foster a son from another clan in order to encourage peaceful political relations. When Raiden's family invites twenty-three year old Masashi into their lives, their gesture has the opposite effect: Masashi kills Raiden's parents. Now years later Raiden is studying with a master of magic who allows Raiden the chance to go back in time to kill Masashi before Masashi can lift a finger against his family.

But when Raiden is faced with his guest-brother once again, much to his horror he finds that his old feelings for Masashi return. With the weight of the future bearing down on Raiden's shoulders, can he overcome these troublesome emotions, or will his new weakness destroy everything?

Deliverance, by Aleksandr Voinov
William Raven of Kent joined the Knights Templar to do penance for his sins. Formerly a professional tournament fighter and mercenary, William is brought face-to-face with a past he'd thought he had escaped.

My Outlaw by Stormy Glenn:
Would you give into the pleasure of a handsome outlaw who’s holding you captive for ransom? Or, would you resist, protest, and fight with everything in your being to get away the first time an opportunity presented itself?

There are authors who could take lessons from Ms. Glenn on how to write a short story that packs a punch and leaves you begging for more. My Outlaw is an excellent portrayal of Brownsville, Texas in the 1800s. The plot of the story flows with ease, as you become captivated by the intense connection exhibited between Daniel and Black Bart. Not only does Ms. Glenn capture your attention from beginning to end, but just when you think the story can’t get any better, she throws in a twist that will boggle your mind and leave you speechless. Moreover, the sex in My Outlaw is scorching hot and will have you aroused from beginning to end. I’m not going to lie. I couldn’t put it down and was begging for more like a hound dog when it was over. Kudos to Ms. Glenn, she has definitely hit another home run with My Outlaw. I would not only recommend My Outlaw to my friends, but I’d also buy them a copy just so they could experience the pleasure of reading this passionate and stimulating story.

Forbidden by H. C. Brown:
Would you be able to forget the great love of your life? What if you thought he might be lost to your forever when you’re forced by the King to marry an elderly Spanish Countess? How would you handle such an intolerable situation? Ask Sir Renoir Danier because this is exactly the insufferable situation he finds himself in when ordered by King William to marry Lady Isabella.

Knights, swords, bondage, hot scorching sex, forbidden love and a story that will keep you guessing until the very end. How can you go wrong? H.C. Brown does an exceptional job of capturing England in 1075. The setting Brown provides in Forbidden is so vivid that you almost feel as though you’re in England with Renior and Sebastian. This is a story that everyone who’s ever loved and lost can identify with because Renior and Sebastian will quickly capture your heart. The emotional connection between them is passionate, powerful and guaranteed to make your toes curl. Two thumbs up to H.C. Brown who shows the reader that love truly has no boundaries. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends.

Poisoned Heart by Anna O’Neill:
Betrayal of a family member, is there anything worse? What would you do in order to seek revenge on the one person you trusted with your parent’s lives, the one person who betrayed your trust and brought shame to your family by taking their lives and acting as though they meant nothing, were nothing? That’s exactly the volatile situation Raiden finds himself in five years after the slaughter of his parents by his guest-brother, Masashi. Will Raiden give up passion and love by going back in time to correct history? Or, will the tidal wave of emotions churning inside him bring his weaknesses and doubts to the forefront, thereby, rendering him unable to kill Masashi and allowing history once again to repeat itself?

Ms. O’Neill has created a magical world during the Edo-period in Japan where anything is possible, as long as you believe and are willing to take the risk. Poisoned Heart is a story that everyone who has ever been at a crossroads in their life can identify with and understand. The plot of the story is solid and you can’t help but feel for both Raiden and Masashi. They are merely children thrown into an adult’s world of politics, life, death and dishonesty in which their fate has been determined at birth. But fortunately, fate holds steady and not only proves that everything is a choice, but also that the ultimate decision lies within the beholder. The only thing I could have asked from Ms. O’Neill is a sequel to Raiden and Masashi’s story. Poisoned Heart is a heart-warming story of love, betrayal, trust and forgiveness that will make you believe in the impossible. Bravo Ms. O’Neill, bravo! I would definitely recommend Poisoned Heart to my friends.

Deliverance by Aleksandr Voinov:
In ancient times and even today, there are people who contend that loving someone of the same gender is a sin. But, what if loving that person brings you the only peace you’ve ever known? Why should anyone have to beg for forgiveness because of who they love? Is it a fool’s errand? These are the questions that William the Raven and Guy struggle with in Aleksandr Voinov’s, Deliverance.

Deliverance grabs your attention from page one. William and Guy take you on their journey of self-reflection as they battle what some consider forbidden love. The raw emotion and compassion between the two men draws the reader into the story and leaves you begging for more. The only question that remains is will they find a way to accept the love they have for one another while their honor and self-respect as Knights remain in tact. Aleksandr Voinov’s Deliverance not only provides insight into forbidden love, but also reminds you that the more things change, the more things remain the same. Deliverance makes you address your own prejudices and provides you with a first hand look at the struggles couples of the same sex must endure on a daily basis. While reading Deliverance, the age old question kept popping into my head, who are we to judge another person’s love. For fear of getting on my soap box, I applaud Aleksandr for a wonderful story about love, loss, repentance, and eventually Deliverance. Bravo!

Overall, the Forbidden Love Anthology is a sensual tale of men trying to find love in an era when their desires are shunned upon and considered a sin by the societies they inhabit. If you’re a reader who enjoys male on male loving both tender and hot scorching sex, as well as an adventurous, emotional journey that will eventually lead the main characters to their soul mates, then I definitely recommend the Forbidden Love Anthology because it has all that and a bag of chips.

Unbridled by Delilah Devlin

Unbridled by Delilah Devlin
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (91 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Fern

Tough…or tender? If she plays her cards right, she won’t have to choose.

Lone Star Lovers, Book 1

Dani Standifer arrives home at her West Texas family ranch a day early, ready to pick up where she left off with Rowe Ayers, her high school sweetheart. However, when she opens the door to their line-shack trysting place, it’s clear she waited a day too long. Rowe’s with someone else—another man.

And not just any other man—Justin Cruz, the bad boy with whom she shared one wild encounter, years ago.

Justin’s waited a long time for this moment. He knows his reputation, but since he seduced Rowe, he’s been a one-man cowboy—waiting for Dani to return and become the delicious fulfillment of his and Rowe’s needs. If she’s up to the challenge.

To her own surprise, Dani finds she’s more than ready to have both men in her life—as soon as she and Rowe teach Justin a lesson or two about love.

Their small town may not be ready for their kind of relationship. And Dani’s brother Cutter’s mile-deep grudge against Justin throws in a complication that could break the foundation the three of them have built…

Warning: Hold on for the rodeo of your life with rough ridin’ male-on-male action, blazing hot m/m/f scenes, and melt-your-panties lovin’ as each of these sexy cowboys gives it the way they know best to turn their woman inside out.

Two hot cowboys plus one saucy woman equal a whole lotta lovin’ in this latest offering my author Delilah Devlin. Unbridled is a book that offers exactly what the title promises – something wild, untamed, and oh-so naughty!

Saying the story gets off to a sizzling start is an understatement. Dani return’s home a day early to surprise her childhood best friend and boyfriend, Rowe–only to discover him naked as the day he was born inside their love nest, waiting for a lover. Shock doesn’t begin to describe her reaction when she learns it’s not a woman meeting him, but a man she had a fling with years ago and never forgot–the notorious town bad boy Justin Cruz.

Justin is hard, unyielding, and dangerous. Readers will sense the power he wields from the first moment he appears on the page. Ultimately, this is his tale as he’s in love with both Dani and Rowe but doesn’t know how to let his emotions go and trust they will shelter his heart versus crush it. You won’t like him much in the beginning, but as you unravel the layers of this complex man, you’ll understand why he’s become a playboy that remains detached from those he sleeps with.

The heart and playful side of the story come courtesy of Dani and Rowe. It’s evident that they adore one another but need something more to make their relationship work. Both are submissive and desperately crave a dominant force to complete them. They find all of that and more in Justin, and work together to convince the sexy cowboy that putting down roots together is the only way they’ll all be happy.

I have to say, the story leaves you wanting more, and after taking a look I see that Dani’s brother Cutter has his own novella coming soon. I’ve already written the newest installment on my TBR list and can’t wait to see what happens next. Unbridled is a fast paced and blistering hot read that you won’t be able to put down.

And Charlie Makes Three

And Charlie Makes Three by Jane Thompson
Publisher: Red Sage Publishers
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (73 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, M/M
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

It’s 1953 and Ann Reynolds can’t seem to get into the expansively perky spirit of the new decade. After the struggles and derivations of the past twenty years, she feels guilty she’s not as happy as everyone keeps telling her she should be. There’s something missing from her life and she thinks it might very well be her. After dropping her sons off at summer camp, Ann sets out on a journey to discover what’s left of her life when she removes her kids, their schedules and, maybe hardest of all, Charlie Atwood.

Charlie is Ann’s ex-husband’s ex-golf buddy. He likes to tell people Ann got him in the divorce settlement along with the dog and a stack of old Saturday Evening Posts. Ann isn’t sure why Charlie has stuck around to help since her husband left three years ago but she knows the time has come to relieve him of active duty. If Charlie was interested in a permanent place in her life he would have let her know by now, and Ann can no longer pretend that what they have between them is enough to sustain her.

When Charlie finds out about Ann’s plan to take a solo driving trip down the coast, he is relieved. After three years standing in for his old golf buddy, a break is exactly what he needs. And if the break becomes permanent, well, Charlie can’t say he didn’t see it coming. He isn’t husband material and it’s become increasingly obvious that Ann needs more from him than he can ever give her.

Then Charlie hears Ann’s added a passenger to her journey, Trey, a man no one has ever met before. As the gossip regarding the scandalous behavior exhibited between the normally oh-so proper Ann and her handsome stranger reaches him, Charlie feels honor bound to make sure the man isn’t out for just one thing. Ann deserves better, which is exactly why he’s kept his hands to himself all these years.

But if all Ann is looking for is a summer fling…well, hell, Charlie isn’t opposed to helping her out one last time. And he’s got no problem if her new friend wants to come along for the ride.

Ever have that one person you want more than anything, but when you pour out your heart, you find that they can’t reciprocate? And what if they share your feelings, but are scared? Then you’d have And Charlie Makes Three.

Ms. Thompson’s take on the 1950’s is refreshing. This reads like a contemporary, but the idea of it being a historical makes it more fun. You want to see Anne and Charlie admit their true feelings, but you also want to see what could happen with the stranger on the bike.

There are so many turns this story can take that you can’t help but read on.

I liked that Anne goes with her guts and lays her heart bare. I respect her decision to move on as well. She knew what she wanted and when she felt the ship was gone, she didn’t give up. Charlie, though he comes across early as a jerk, redeems himself and you come to love him. He’s not perfect, but what hero really is?

Though the love scenes come a little late in the story, they sizzle. Even with the third person involved, you feel the passion flowing between Anne and Charlie. They want to let go and love each other while still being true to themselves. The fact that Trey is involved only adds to the tension and makes it hotter.

If you want a steamy, sexy story of redemption, then you need to read And Charlie Makes Three. You won’t want to miss it. I give this story 4 cherries.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Schooled by RaeLynn Blue

Schooled by RaeLynn Blue
Publisher: Phaze
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (131 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Cherokee Rose

For ten years, teacher Harper Perry had attended Parent/Teacher Conferences with dread in her heart and a smile plastered on her face. The last thing she expected was the instant attraction to her most problematic student’s father.

Nathaniel Pearson tried to be a good dad, even when circumstances tore him from his child’s life. Now he's back and determined to do right by his son.

He had the best intentions when he met Scott’s teacher. The last thing in the world he expected was to be schooled in the ways of love.

Schooled by RaeLynn Blue is a charming story with characters that are very realistic. The chemistry between Harper and Nate is believable. Ms. does a great job of drawing you into the issues that led up to disruptive change in Nate's life, changing the course of the path he had been on.

What I really like about this story is something that I have found in very few interracial romance novels. Race is not an issue. What is a problem for this couple is their inability to communicate effectively. Nate has a secret that he is hiding but other people in life are more than willing to talk. When Harper finds out the secret will she walk away or will she stay?

RaeLynn Blue delivers tale of optimism, family, treachery, and endurance in Schooled. Nate’s and Harper’s relationship is heartwarming. These are two character’s who deserved a chance at happiness and you will root for them to all the way through.

If you like a romance full of humor, drama and just enough sensual heat, then you should pick up a copy of Schooled. You won’t be disappointed.

The Lion, The Leopard, and The Wolf by Eliza March

The Lion, The Leopard, and The Wolf - Enchanted Mountain 1 by Eliza March
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (93 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, M/M, Ménage
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Review by Xeranthemum

Mackenzie's ménage fantasy comes to life when she's snowbound with Fantasy Lodge partners, Aaron and Trent. One golden, one surly, the alpha males vie for her attention.

For Mac, the strange sensations, the sexual need, and the awkwardness all make sense when she discovers she's a shape-shifter. Aaron and Trent supported each other through their first metamorphosis, and agree to guide Mac safely through hers.

But when they turn, Were males don't share. Mac must choose between them, or they'll fight to the death. Accepting Mac is meant for both of them, they have one other option. Aaron can submit sexually to Trent, become his submissive. Mac can help them through the sexual boundaries, but what will it do to the men's friendship? Or their ménage relationship?

Here’s a story about a family member’s matchmaking that not only works but steams up the pages beyond the heroine's wildest fantasies. Add in a few paranormal twists, a couple of shocking secrets and you’ve got yourself an engrossing read.

Mac is the heroine. She has a new itch to scratch but doesn’t know quite how to appease it. She seems a feisty lady and is definitely not a shrinking violet. When she makes up her mind about something she goes for it. When she makes up her mind about a man, she goes for it with gusto – double the fun when it’s two sexy guys. Until she is faced with a dilemma of choices, strange yearnings and really bizarre dreams, she thinks herself a pretty grounded woman. I enjoy her easy acceptance of the attention of Aaron and Trent. No games. No silly posturing. Just genuine interest and dialogue and I like Mac. I also enjoy the unique paranormal slant to her character. It was unusual and very erotic.

The two guys are pretty competitive and I got hot flashes from their individual and combined pursuit of Mac. The descriptive visual of their physiques, senses of humor and intent were very sensual and made for some fast flipping of pages. I enjoyed the one-upmanship, got a kick out of the things they did behind each other’s backs and once they combined efforts, the heat just poured on and Mac didn’t stand a chance. They also have a sense of the romantic which made them better heroes, although plans don’t always go as they’d wished. That whole winter adventure scene was both funny and steamy and I think it’s one of my favorites in the story. But like all winter escapes, you have to be careful -- Aaron and Trent end up with more than they bargained for in their pursuit of Mac.

The conflict is more personal and internal. There are questions of trust, challenges to friendship, loyalty and hope for a future unlike any they ever envisioned. Mac discovers her hidden talents and Aaron and Trent reveal more than that, they reveal something special about Mac’s family she never knew. This story has a lot of levels going. The sex is emotional and healing at times, and at other times is just plain fun. The story even has my favorite element, a passionate bite or two.

Ms. March has combined the fun of pursuit, the excitement of the paranormal and the thrill of a satisfying romance. The best part is the three of them realize they really can have their happily ever after. I recommend this story to all readers who like their heroines feisty, their men alpha with a bit of fur on the side.