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Friday, January 29, 2010

Moonlust by Kallysten

Moonlust by Kallysten
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: Short Story (60 pgs)
Other: M/M/M
Rating: 3 Cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

In space, no one will hear them moan.

A Men in Space story.

The job was supposed to be an easy one for Captain Kar and his two-man crew: land the Danaus on the deserted moon, appropriate a few boxes of precious chromore, and jump out of the system before the Guardians could get to them. Even Will and Jay’s inability to keep their hands off each other for any length of time should not have been too much of a problem.

They discover too late it’s the laineards’ mating season. The resulting sexual pheromones begin to affect them as soon as they step off the ship. With Will and Jay losing their minds to lust, and Kar himself blinded by visions of the two men he has wanted for months, things suddenly get much harder than expected.

Their only hope for not ending up in jail is to get out of there before the Guardians find them. Except an open loading dock contaminated the air inside the Danaus. And Kar will have to resort to drastic measures to keep Jay and Will apart long enough to escape…

Three hot men, one erotic push and the results are explosive. This fun and flirty novella features three sexy men working together in tight quarters. Although the Captain of the ship, Karmychael, is attracted to his two man working crew of Jay and Will, he’s not pursued the handsome men. It takes a powerful pheromone on a deserted moon to let their passion take over.

This novella is one of three recently released about Men in Space. This particular story is entertaining and easy but the weakest of the trio. The characters are given enough background to differentiate themselves from each other but not enough to really fully develop independent personalities. Their pasts are largely unexplored with a brief hint of Jay running from the powerful ruling body called The Lodge. Jay and Will are already sleeping together but the story gives the impression this is due to ease and proximity rather than any greater emotion. That desire extends to the Captain Kar, but again the impression is that these men are happy with great sex rather than any more meaningful relationship leading to a happy for now ending. Part of this problem is that the point of view jumps around in the heads of all three men, trying to show their thoughts simultaneously and thus creates a disjointed reading experience. The view shifts aren’t confusing, but seem arbitrary jumps in the middle of scenes so readers need to be aware of that.

The science fiction setting plays on familiar and basic space tropes without introducing much of anything new. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, this keeps the story rather bland and typical of most space stories without anything to make it particularly memorable.

Although these problems combine to create a less than perfect story, these issues are also unlikely to really turn away readers. The familiar science fiction/space setting, gorgeous men, and generous erotica scenes combine to give a harmless, entertaining story. Although not particularly memorable, there is also nothing to really offend readers. So those who are looking for a fast read with some very hot sex in a space setting, this will likely fill that desire.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Adrianna Dane

I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Adrianna Dane
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (94 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

Destrie Two Rivers and Benedict Webster--an orphaned half-Indian and a wealthy rancher’s son. Men who were boyhood best friends, turned secret lovers when they were eighteen. And then one nightmarish night they were discovered and Destrie almost died as a result.

Now, eight years later, just before Christmas, Destrie, an Army sniper, returns to Wyoming on leave to attend the funeral of his foster father. Both men have changed and the distance between them seems wider than the Continental Divide with no way to breach the chasm. But just as the creek where they first made love runs powerful and constant, Destrie and Benedict’s passion for each other still burns undeniably deep and everlasting.

Re-igniting their unquenchable desire could prove fatal. Until the heavy guilt and shocking secrets of the past are revealed, neither of these two men can truly come home for Christmas.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas is a love story that addresses the social prejudices that affect homosexual relationships head-on, while giving a glimpse of hope for the future.

From the moment you meet Benedict and Destrie, reunited after ten long years apart, you’ll sense their need for one another. Neither man has forgotten the other, even as they both know it’s for the best that they never become lovers again. One stolen summer as teenagers nearly cost Destrie his life when the truth came out and Benedict’s brother and friends attacked Destrie to teach them a lesson. Now, the men have to put on a false front and keep a distance. But how do you do that when the one man you’ve never forgotten is the only one you’ve ever loved? As terrible as it may seem, love isn’t always enough to keep two people together when the world is determined to keep them apart.

Author Adrianna Dane has written a story that will break your heart just before she puts the pieces back together again. Benedict and Destrie are characters you love and want to see together, even as the danger of doing so hovers over them. The tension between the star-crossed lovers is wonderfully written, while the revelations along the way will keep you guessing. Just when you think you know where the story is going, it takes another turn, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

Reader’s who love an emotional story with a nice helping of sizzling-hot sex will thoroughly enjoy I’ll Be Home For Christmas. Don’t forget to pencil this story into your TBR list.

Tangled by Karen Erickson

Tangled by Karen Erickson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (112 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

The girl can’t help herself…until she helps herself to a triple-hot fantasy.

Playing With Fire, Book 2

Always wanting what she can’t have. Scarlett learned this the hard way, and this time is no different. Drake, the one guy she’s hot for, isn’t hot for her. Nope, he’s hot for Trevor, the gorgeous, arrogant actor she works with. Maybe it’s time she let loose and let the right man capture her, for a change.

Trevor wonders why she can’t see that the right man is right under her nose. He’s crushing big time on the quirky, sexually confident Scarlett—a huge turn-on for a guy who’s not your standard looking-for-vanilla-sex kind of guy.

When an argument with Trevor explodes into the hottest sex of her life, Scarlett thinks nothing has ever felt so right—until Drake joins in and kicks it into white-hot gear. Trevor is astounded that she trusts him enough to make her three-way happen for her. But suddenly he’s not so sure he wants to share…

After devouring Karen Erickson’s wickedly naughty story, Forbidden, I couldn’t wait for the second in her Playing With Fire series, Tangled. To my utter delight, not only did I get another dose of the delectable Austin, but I got to know the equally yummy Trevor as well. Having been introduced to Scarlett, I knew the story would be hotter than a blistering summer day, but never in my wildest imaginings could I have known just how combustive the material would be.

Although Scarlett comes across as sexy and self-assured, she is anything but. Instead, she keeps her emotions hidden beneath the façade of confidence. I loved getting into her head and discovering she wasn’t the vixen I initially perceived in Forbidden. In truth, she’s far more complex and sympathetic. To be sure, there are moments when she’s difficult to like. Her insecurities push you away at times, but when you grow to understand it’s due to her vulnerabilities, you’ll positively ache for her.

As for Trevor – what can I say, really? He’s alpha. He’s hot. And he commands control. Just when I didn’t think it was possible to love a hero as much as I did Austin (he leaves one heck of an impression, I’m telling you!) Trevor ambles onto the scene, takes front and center, and proves me wrong. Fittingly, he is much like Scarlett in that he oozes confidence, but deep down, he harbors a fear of rejection. It’s because of this that he takes charge with Scarlett and tries to convey his emotions through sexual dominance and control.

Fans of a fantastic romance with conflicted characters have to read this story. The dialogue is both sultry and witty, the protagonists are more than pretty faces, and the story will rock your socks. I can’t wait for more from Karen Erickson. She’s become one of my favorite must read authors.

Midnight Craving by Lolita Lopez

Midnight Craving by Lolita Lopez
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (47 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

When the craving takes hold, the only thing to do is ride it out…

Midnight Vice, Book 1

Patrolling Houston’s gritty supernatural underbelly has its perks. For Isla Alvarez, it’s working alongside nephilim SWAT Officer Jace Lane. Ruggedly handsome and possessed of mad skills, Jace embodies everything she’s ever wanted.

Unfortunately, the demonic blood pumping through her veins keeps them separated, since relationships between human descendants of archangels and demons aren’t actively encouraged. Staying away from him, though, is impossible after she winds up on the receiving end of a nasty sexual-compulsion curse, courtesy of a sadistic vampiress. Suddenly Isla is overwhelmed with a life-threatening lust only Jace can sate.

Jace’s principles were once strong enough to resist his longing for the alluring Isla, but in the face of her desperate craving, his desire breaks free—leaving him wondering if she’s not the only one affected by the spell. He’d be more than happy to satisfy Isla’s increasing need for sexual release, if they weren’t in a race against time to reverse the curse before it turns deadly.

For Isla, it’s not just her life she’s worried about losing. It’s her heart.

Compulsion curses are nasty, especially when the first face you see after getting juiced is the one man you can’t have. As a half-demon, Isla knows the half-archangel Jace is off limits. Even still, under the heat of the magic, Isla and Jace taste the forbidden. But sexual gratification only goes so far. They have twenty-four hours to break the curse by killing the vampiress responsible before Isla succumbs to the darker, and more deadly, side effects. As they formulate a plan, they’ll give into temptation over and over again. The thing is…will they be able to let one another go once the curse is broken and the obligation is past?

Midnight Craving is a sultry and unforgettable story that captivates the reader from beginning to end. Isla is wonderful as a bad-ass heroine who can deal as much damage as she can take, while Jace will make your heart hammer as your knees go weak. Their chemistry is explosive, and when they come together, the pages ignite. I couldn’t get enough of the action, and waited with bated breath when it all comes down to the line and Isla faces the vampiress who not only cursed her, but murdered her entire family. You get the anger, you get the tension, and when it’s all said and done, you get Isla and Jace – two people who adore one another but have kept their feelings hidden.

There is a lot of story packed into a small, yet exceptionally presented package, and I loved every single minute of it. The writing is fantastic, the characters are awesome, and the dialogue is sharp. Paranormal fans will love Midnight Craving. It has all the spice with just enough of the nice.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cat’s Cradle by Bianca D'Arc

Cat’s Cradle by Bianca D’Arc
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (186 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

Most lovers kiss. This one pounces.

String of Fate, Book 1

As bad days go, this one qualifies as one for the books. Elaine knew being late for her jiu jitsu class could earn her a reprimand from her sensei. But the sensei’s not there. And suddenly, neither is her car. Even walking home becomes problematic when she stumbles onto things that most definitely do go bump in the night. One of whom is too handsome for his own good—and too sexy for hers.

An Alpha Pantera Noir—black panther shifter—Cade operates on his immense skill, superior strength, and dominant personality. There’s something about this small spitfire of a human woman that threatens to bring him to his knees. She blundered into the middle of his mission to transport his queen to safety, and now it’s his responsibility to keep Elaine safe as well. Except no matter what he does, danger finds her at every turn.

Thrust into a world where the supernatural is commonplace, Elaine finds her considerable martial arts skill tested to the limit—and her ability to resist Cade crumbling by the second. But when nothing is as it seems, the last things she can trust are her own instincts…

Sexy shifters, saucy humans, and magic come together in Bianca D’Arc’s newest, Cat’s Cradle, a thoroughly entertaining story that paranormal junkies will adore.

Elaine is the type of protagonist you can’t help but root for. A human amongst shifters, she has to find an inner strength of will and determination to keep her head above water. Her reaction to learning about all of the supernatural beings and entities is refreshingly believable, and is approached with a nice dose of humor. The shift from the dark themes was a pleasant surprise, and kept the material fresh and engaging.

If Elaine is the underdog, Cade is the prize fighter. The super-sexy panther shifter will make your insides quiver and melt. No woman can refuse a possessive and blistering hot Alpha, and Cade wears possessive, protective, and dominating like a second skin. He demands attention when he appears, regardless of who is on the page. He’s both rough and gentle with Elaine, and I loved the chemistry and heat between the two of them.

The premise of Cat’s Cradle is something new, while the races and supernatural beings provided something unique for fans of the genre to enjoy. A few unexpected revelations add some tension, while the relationship between Elaine and Cade provide the fireworks. The course of the plot is pretty much a given, but doesn’t deter the enjoyment of the ride one iota. Elaine and Cade are meant to be with one another, despite the uncertainties of his kind. You know they’ll have a rough go of it, and expect something to happen to ensure they make the commitment, but you won’t be able to stop reading until you learn how it happens and witness their union for yourself.

As with any D’Arc story, the material is wonderfully written, with attention to detail. Fans won’t be disappointed and should be certain to purchase their own copy or pencil Cat’s Cradle onto their TBR list. If you like heroes with bite and dig strong female protagonists, this book will definitely do you right.

Double Chance Claim by Elle Saint James

Double Chance Claim: Badlands 3 by Elle Saint James
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (132 pgs)
Other: M/F/M, Ménage
Rating: 3 cherries
Review by Statice

The Chance brothers came to Campbell's Valley, opened a saloon, and hid the fact that they were identical twins to distract the townsfolk from discovering they have a goldmine on their property. Once they extract as much Black Hills gold as they'll ever spend in a lifetime, they're leaving.

After the recently widowed Maggie Altman is kicked off her wagon train, she's left alone in Campbell's Valley. She opts for a drink at the saloon and convinces the owner, Wyatt Chance, to let her stay the night. In the morning, she meets a different yet equally intriguing man also calling himself Wyatt. The first to distinguish the brothers, Maggie agrees to keep their secret, even as she falls in love with each twin.

A Madam seeking an "arrangement," the discovery of the brothers' secret, and town gossips cause further havoc at the Double Chance Saloon. Can the Chance brothers protect their identities and their gold, and will Maggie find the happiness she's always dreamed of with the sexy twins?

What would you do if your husband had just died, you didn’t know how to do anything except look pretty and behave in a socially acceptable fashion and engage in small talk? What if you were stuck on a wagon in the middle of nowhere after being dumped unceremoniously by the wagon master? Me, I would probably just have given up and collapsed in a heap, but when confronted with what must have been a very intolerable and difficult situation, Maggie Altman does the only thing she can do and heads to the nearest town to bury her husband.

It seems that everyone is on the move and the only hotel in Campbell’s Valley is full so she only has two options – sleep on a church pew or try her luck at the Double Chance Saloon. After sitting on a wooden seat in the wagon all the time, the church pew is not an option so it is off to the saloon. There she meets a man who even in her sorrow fires up her senses and has her wishing for more than just a bed for the night. After waking up with a stranger in her bed, Maggie is on to a secret that the Chance brothers wanted to keep and that isn’t the only thing that is going on in this story!

There certainly is a lot more that happens – a dead man, a break-in at the saloon, stolen money and of course the budding relationship between Maggie and the Chance brothers. While Maggie was a very inexperienced woman in some respects, she certainly had a whole lot of sexual knowledge that she put to good use with the help of the Chance twins!

Wade and Wyatt Chance were characters that I was able to picture clearly, but the ease with which Maggie and the brothers entered their relationship and understood each other was rather quick. Their secret, while I understood the reason, seemed more a means to introduce Maggie to the two brothers, but even the way this was done, was so fast and successful that I had trouble believing it – the gay husband giving Maggie all of her sexual understanding was also a bit contrived and her sexual encounters though hot and steamy were also relaxed and contained none of the angst or anxiety that I felt a woman of the day – the character of Maggie would have experienced, particularly given her very limited sexual experience with one man, let alone two. While these inconsistencies were a bit unbelievable, I did still enjoy the story and imagery.

This is part of a series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone book. Ms. Saint James has written a good story of a young and inexperienced woman finding love and excitement in the old west and, regardless of my few reservations, it certainly piqued my interest in the rest of the series!

Star Flyer by Bonnie Dee

Star Flyer by Bonnie Dee
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (92 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

Two men on trajectory for an explosive collision…

Still mourning the loss of his lover to invading forces, Marr Hingo operates his farm under a dictatorship while keeping his mind—and feet—planted firmly on the ground. Spring arrives right on schedule, bringing with it something completely unexpected—an unconscious pilot from a downed star jet. Unable to bring himself to give up the handsome aviator to searching troops, Marr hides him in the barn’s cellar.

The last thing Davan Siedel remembers before ejecting is getting in a couple of good blasts against a Galactic Forces F150. He wakes to find his vague memory of being carried by an angel wasn’t far off the mark. A tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed farmer has brought him to safety and is tending his injured leg.

The attraction between solid, earthy Marr and clever, quicksilver Davan catches them off guard—and their sexual union is as sweet as it is powerful. Yet the longer Davan lingers, the tighter the enemy’s web grows, threatening their love, their freedom…and their lives.

When Davan crash lands on Theon, he has no idea what’s in store. A rebel fighter for the cause, he’s in danger of exposure and faces death. When he wakes in the arms of a huge, yet gentle, stranger, he has hope. Marr is both kind and nurturing, and after losing his lover to the intergalactic war, he’s lived a lonely life. The two men discover something in one another that they’ve been missing, but with Davan bound to return to the front lines, is it possible for them to have something more substantial together?

Star Flyer is a very unique story. The world Bonnie Dee created is both lush and intriguing. I enjoyed learning about the culture, as well as the people on a planet that has been overtaken by intruders. It’s apparent a great deal of time was devoted to creating this world, and it shows, from the creatures on the farm, to meals and customs. Due to vivid writing, I could envision everything, from the disgusting lamidas (livestock), to the beautiful spring sun.

Though the romance between Davan and Marr occurs quickly, I understood their desperation to share what time they could together. While very different, each seems to share a need to connect. Davan is a soldier who fights for a good cause, whereas Marr is loveable as a giant of a man who enjoys the simple things in life. They offset one another beautifully, and ensure intimate scenes remain both hot and sweet.

One “intruder” in particular causes the greatest conflict in the story, and I’m mentioning him for sleaze factor alone. I don’t think I’ve ever detested a villain quite so much. The antagonist, Riker, literally made my skin crawl. This presence in the story, though repulsive, adds necessary tension and darkness to the material. I couldn’t wait to see what happened, and wasn’t disappointed in the end.

Fans of the sci-fi genre who love a good M/M themed romance should definitely give Star Flyer a go.

Three to Play by Kris Cook

Three to Play by Kris Cook
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (138 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Just three weeks from her dreaded fortieth birthday, Beth Taylor's radio show is turned upside-down. Corporate gurus force her to take on sexy duo Clint Moore and Dustin Lake for a new broadcasting morning team. Beth doesn't have the patience to deal with the young bucks, in or out of the bedroom. But both Clint and Dustin are determined to share her, and nothing will get in their way.

When the three end up in bed, will old secrets force them apart or bring them together for a lifetime of passion?

Three to Play is an emotional roller coaster.

Kris Cook writes very well and I found myself invested in the characters. At first I wasn't sure about Clint, the way he seemed to focus on his and Dustin's job and had a take no prisoners attitude. I liked Dustin as he is the complete opposite of Clint. Dustin has an almost bouncy attitude, which is a good counter balance to Clint. Beth was a caring, emotional woman, who had wrapped herself in this strong hard outer shell. I enjoyed watching Clint and Dustin find cracks in this armor and work to break it down. Then Beth turning the tables on them to revel a surprising secret.

While the characters were great, the plot itself was unremarkable. Perhaps I've read to many menage stories, but I found the sex scenes to be pretty typical. The BDSM aspect was pretty tame, considering the way Clint was portrayed. I felt the plot points were kind of weak. I found myself losing interest several times, having to put the book down and come back.

However, if you like character driven stories then you'll probably like this book, as the characterizations are great, and the author really does write well.

Skin Deep by SW Vaughn

Skin Deep by S.W. Vaughn
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (199 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by: Fern

Will Ambrose knows everything about love – except how to find it himself. He hosts a popular GLBT relationship radio show, but his own affairs have been rocky and abusive. With sexy, seductive tattoo artist Cobalt, it's lust at first sight. Unfortunately he's already involved ... until that night, when his late arrival home sends his cop partner into a jealous, violent rage.

Cobalt is a Fae, banished to live among humans. His studio, The Grotto, is both a hot spot for the NYC body art crowd and a haven for other Fae seeking protection. Though he's given up on relationships, since his human lovers tend to go insane when they discover his true nature, he can't help his lustful reaction to Will when the radio host visits The Grotto. He tries to dismiss it, but is compelled to get involved when a cab deposits a battered, broken Will at his door, with Cobalt's name on his lips.

Can their powerful attraction – and phenomenal sex – overcome an abusive closeted cop, a traitorous Fae who tries to divide them, and an ex-lover with inhuman powers who'll stop at nothing to take Cobalt back ... including going through Will?

Skin Deep is fascinating story brimming with magic, chaos, and romance. The title itself gives a hint of what you can expect, but goes far beyond the adage that what you see is what you get.

When we meet Will, he’s in a terrible position. His lover, who has a tendency to be violent, is a cop. Because of this, Will allows their unstable and deadly relationship to continue, which is a total hypocrisy, as he is the voice of a popular gay radio show. One night, his lover goes too far, and Will finds himself awakening from a beating that has left him broken and bleeding on the bathroom tile. With nowhere to turn, he finds himself taking a cab to the man he’s met only once but can’t seem to forget – the sexy and mysterious tattoo artist, Cobalt.

Cobalt is a fae who has been banished for the court. Unwilling to remain as the lover to one he refutes, he has carved a life for himself in the mortal realm. There is just one problem. All of those mortal men he loves go mad when they learn what he truly is. Although he knows it’s wrong to begin a relationship with Will, he can’t seem to get the beautiful, strong, and proud human out of his mind. When he claims Will for his own, a chain of events follows, and Cobalt will face the fae who would claim him for his own.

Talk about an entertaining story with memorable characters and writing that engages the attention and maintains the interest. I loved the mythos, the interwoven plots, and the world that S.W. Vaughn has created. Her attention to detail will allow you to envision Cobalt in his true form perfectly, as well as picture this fae world in which dark forces reside. While there are disturbing scenes and explicit violence that take place in the story, the source material of abuse is handled well, and I felt it was necessary to show the stark contrast between a loving relationship and an obsessive one.

Fans of the urban fantasy/erotica genre who have a yang for M/M romance will love Skin Deep. The protagonists are given equal time, and are intriguing in their similarities and differences. The dialogue is sharp and funny, and the plot keeps you guessing. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more of what S.W. Vaughn has to share in the future.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Putting Out Fires by Sienna Black

Putting Out Fires by Sienna Black
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (102 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

Carlin Rhodes is a firefighter, first and foremost. He loves his work, he’s good at the job, and he’s reliable to a fault. Some might say he’s too focused. A night out on the town with a good friend is exactly the thing he needs to loosen up. Even if that good friend abandons him at the doors to the Baseline and leaves him to find his own fun.

Zaid, a fire-called Djinn, dances at the Baseline, a nightly routine that bares it all for his customers and keeps him entertained while he avoids his destiny as a leader of his kind. When Carlin watches, though, it’s more than having fun. Zaid is intrigued and curious, drawn to the somber, focused man.

And like a moth to a flame, the firefighter is drawn to the fire-called djinn—and into a fight to save his city from the flame, when Zaid's destiny comes calling.

Putting Out Fires is a story that is both unique and captivating. When a fire Djinn falls for a firefighter, you can expect things to heat up. But what you might not anticipate are the similarities between the two men and their need to blend into the society around them.

The fire Djinn, Zaid, had me at hello. He’s sexy, he’s mysterious, and his manner is both intriguing and seductive. I couldn’t wait to learn more about him, what he was, and how he came to exist as an exotic dancer in an exclusive club. As more about him is revealed, you realize the flashes you gain in the beginning are nothing compared to what he truly is -- a complex hero if ever there was, and a powerful one too.

If Zaid is blatantly sexy, Carlin is understatedly so. He’s a man who has kept his sex preferences hidden, fearing the loss of his job and respect of his peers. I found his battle to maintain control admirable and understandable, yet somehow sad. When he meets Zaid, you realize just how tightly he is wound, and in a twist, know that’s why they play off one another so well. Whereas Zaid is free, Carlin is bound. When the roles are reversed, it’s only fitting that they discover a freedom that will allow them to be together, face the danger that looms, and hope for a future in which they can exist in happiness.

The writing is fantastic, and I loved the way Sienna Black kept things going. You won’t want to put the story down at any point and will fall in love with the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed Putting Out Fires, and recommend it to those who love an engaging story with scenes that sizzle and burn.

Sacred Revelations, Book 2: Chronicles of Surrender by Roxy Harte

Sacred Revelations, Book 2: Chronicles of Surrender by Roxy Harte
Publisher: Lyrical Press, Incorporated
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (218 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Can one woman serve two masters?

Celia Brentwood meets Garrett Lawrence at a time of change. Not knowing what to expect from this man who has suddenly become her master, she submits to him and discovers how pleasure and pain combine to create euphoria. Garrett then introduces her to the care of Lord Fyre, a man who sees into her heart and understands her darkness.

Leaving her master to be under the three month tutelage of Lord Fyre proves to be harder than she imagined, but the greater difficulty is returning to Garrett. She’s a different woman than the one who left him. Celia struggles with powerful emotions for each.

Both men have dominated her body. Which man will claim her heart?

After being through hell and finding that she has a dark side, Celia Brentwood leaves her master, Garrett Lawrence, to spend three months with Lord Fyre. Celia must try and find herself and, in the end, maybe some peace. As Celia tries to understand just what she is feeling she must also deal with her emotions for both of the men in her life. Celia has changed in those three months with Lord Fyre and now she is struggling to make heads or tails of her emotions. Who will she choose? Her Dark Lord Fyre or her love Garrett?

Garrett and Lord Fyre are two men who are total opposites yet love the same woman. Can Celia love them back? Will she choose one or run from both of them? Celia is a troubled woman who needs a strong man to be by her side. When she finds she has a dark side and enjoys it she becomes erratic and emotional. Lord Fyre is a strong and mean Dom; always pushing the limits. Garrett is just as strong but uses a different method. I enjoyed seeing the two men work through their own demons as well as trying to help Celia work through hers.

Roxy Harte writes an interesting story in Sacred Revelations. This book is a very intense and erotic story with a lot of the BDSM lifestyle in it. With characters full of depth and emotions this story is a fast paced and titillating ride, keeping the reader turning the pages to see what will happen next. It will be interesting to see what is planned for the other books in this series. I look forward to more books by this author.

Absinthe Eyes & Other Lies by GR Bretz

Absinthe Eyes & Other Lies by G. R. Bretz
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing L.L.C.
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Short Story (96 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Ambrosia

When a legend lingers for centuries there’s usually a bit of truth to it. For two hundred years people have whispered about the green fairy that lives in bottles of absinthe. Drink up. If you’re lucky you may see her. If you’re very lucky you may catch her. No one should ever be that lucky. Ask David, Vincent and Richard; three men with a few things in common. They have found inspiration. They have met the Muse. They have taken Dahlia to their hearts and to their beds. It cost them their sanity and their lives. If Stephen isn’t very careful he’s going to be number four.

The spiraling journeys of three men into madness who become lost in the bottoms of bottles of a drink called Absinthe become entwined in the legends of the Green Fairy in this anthology. G. R. Bretz captures the descent into insanity as artists, whether by pen or paint brush swallow up their muse until the end, each with their own story.

Vincent: Mad from the start, he finds his muse in a bar and accepts her promise to help him find fame in his artistic gift. Brutal and selfish, he takes what he wants and offers little in return until finally he loses more than he’d ever thought possible. She only asks one thing of him, offering him everything, especially her body. Taking even more than she gives, he eventually finds the Green Fairy in a haze of yellow and doesn’t live to regret betraying her. Lost in the yellow haze of Absinthe, he finds no peace in life. Too late, he offers her a gift to bring her back only to fail.

Richard: Failing her, himself, and his gift, Richard disappears off the face of the earth one day, leaving many questions behind. Though his girlfriend is suspect, none can prove her responsible of killing him. Leaving behind his art, he lives in her memory each day.

David: At thirteen, he meets the Green Fairy for the first time and spends many years dreaming of her. As an adult he finds her once again at the memorial service of her ex-lover and becomes enmeshed in her arms and heart. Knowing he too could lose his life, he walks down the path anyway, facing his fate head on.

Dahlia is a woman of great beauty who has known pain, love, joy, and loss. She has lifted men up to greatness and taken them to their knees.

G. R. Bretz captures the imagination as well as winds magical words of poetic motion into a story filled with messages of alcoholism and madness to come from abuse as artists seek renown. From deep, dark depression to ultimate sexual release, he takes the reader on a journey they’ll never forget, not even in the bottom of a bottle.

This story was well written and tells the true tale of the cost of drink. I give it 4.5 Cherries.

Faewolf by DM Atkins and Chris Taylor

Faewolf by D.M. Atkins and Chris Taylor
Publisher: Circlet Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (245 pgs)
Other: M/M, Bestiality, Forced Sex
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Fern

Faewolves, like werewolves, can walk among men. What happens when Kiya White Cloud, a young gay college student in Santa Cruz, wants one of these men enough to risk his heart–and his life? A paranormal m/m erotic romance from Circlet Press, Inc.

Writing a review for the unique and one of a kind, Faewolf, wasn’t easy. There were dark themes that ran deep, and the material wasn’t always easy to read. However, authors D.M. Atkins and Chris Taylor have managed to create something that, even as you long to turn away, you’ll find yourself unable to.

Kiya is an openly gay, and somewhat arrogantly proud, young-man. When you are first introduced to his character, you get a pretty decent look at him on the whole. When he sees something he wants, he’s not afraid to do what it takes to get it. Upon resting eyes on the luscious teacher’s assistant, Brian, he knows he’s found a man he cannot resist. Unfortunately, Brian rebukes his advances, citing it as inappropriate.

Brian is a Faewolf -- half fae, half wolf. As his race continues to dwindle, he has left his pack in search of answers. Now, he is a lone wolf, which is a sad existence for someone of his nature. When he meets Kiya, his wolven half (which is referred to as Saio) comes to life. Both man and wolf want Kiya, but as a wolf, Saio can be dangerous, and Brian doesn’t wish to place Kiya in harm’s way. When Kiya is attacked by a former lover, neither Saio nor Kiya have a choice. A friendship is formed as well as a bond, and as they become closer.

Although the work is cleanly edited and has portions you can’t put down, I found the voice and outlook of Kiya to be disturbingly childlike-like at times, and got the impression I was reading about a teenager versus an adult. I understood that Kiya is in college, but considering the content involved, I was slightly uncomfortable with his maturity level. A large reason for this is that Faewolf contains explicit sexual scenes and themes (including violence, bestiality, forced sexual situations), including one in which the protagonists are forced to have sex while Brian is in wolf form and they are being filmed. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, and I should warn that if that sort of thing is a turn-off for you, it is something to reflect upon when choosing whether or not the story would be something you might enjoy.

With that said, by tackling the taboo(s) in erotica, and allowing Brian’s/Saio’s nature to be revealed on page versus behind closed doors, the authors also ensure the material is original and uncensored. Faewolf is raw, unabashed, and captures the emotion and depth of the characters portrayed, which means you witness everything. This is not your typical shifter romance, but it is a story that will remain with you after you’ve finished.

Although not suitable for everyone, I would recommend Faewolf to those who like dark, original works. If you like to find material that pushes the envelope, you won’t be disappointed by this story.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Triad by Cat Grant

Triad: The Courtland Chronicles, Book 5 by Cat Grant
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (128 pgs)
Other: Multiple Partners, M/M, M/M/F, M/F, Voyeurism, Anal Play, Light Bondage, Spanking
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Jasmine

It's three times the pleasure - ten years on!

Eric Courtland, his wife Ally and husband Nick have been living the sweet life for the past decade, tucked away in their luxurious Tuscan villa. But when a family crisis brings them back to the States, blackmail and an unexpected revelation threaten the delicate balance of their marriage.

Weathering this storm may take everything they have - and still tear them apart.
They say home is where the heart is… But, does this ole’ saying still hold true for Eric, Nick and Ally Courtland?

Driven from their home and life in the States by bigotry over a decade ago, Eric, Nick and Ally left the good ole U.S.A. and returned to their Italian villa. While European laws have allowed them to truly commit to one another through marriage with multiple partners, and years of tranquility, communication, understanding and love have brought them closer together, an unavoidable book tour and a hostile takeover of Courtland Industries forces the Triad to return to the States to a welcome home committee that’s anything but hospitable. Suddenly, Eric, Nick and Ally long for Italy where they are recognized as husband, husband and wife. Moreover, where they can walk down the street holding hands and not be ridiculed or judged for whom they love or how many individuals they love.

Over the years Nick and Ally’s writing careers have prospered to the point that Nick is presented with two choices by his publishing company. Either he agrees to a book tour in the States, or his publishing company sues him for breach of contract. Since the Triad considers themselves a unit that’s inseparable and indivisible, Nick agrees to the book tour and they leave for the States. However, an unexpected family emergency throws a wrench in their plans once they arrive and as time progresses, things continue to escalate and get worse. Will Eric, Nick and Ally’s love and commitment to one another survive as they consistently put out fires? When lies from the past come to light, will they be able to forgive one another and remain a force to be reckoned with as their enemies continue to attack from all sides? Only time will tell.

In order to experience the full affect of The Courtland Chronicles, I went back and read every book in the series before reading Triad, which I highly recommend. Of the five books, Triad is my absolute favorite, as this sensual, erotic tale had me panting and intrigued the minute I opened the book. Although Ms. Grant will keep you guessing about the outcome until the very end, what I can tell you is that you won’t be disappointed because Triad is simply brilliant. It will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride that consists of laughter, tears, anger at the injustice of it all, and joy every time Eric, Nick and Ally manage to overcome a trial or tribulation that’s constantly presenting itself as an obstacle to their happily ever after. Triad will warm your heart and make you fall in love with Eric, Nick and Ally all over again. Their story of commitment, forgiveness, understanding, love and loss is inspiring and reaffirms the importance of hope and trust.

There were times that I was overwhelmed and in awe by this wonderful masterpiece Ms. Grant has written. The storyline is believable and the words flow across the page like smooth silk. The characters leap off the page and draw you into their world where there is no doubt you will experience the adventure of a lifetime. Just when I thought this series couldn’t get any better, Ms. Grant surprised me and had me begging for more. Eric, Nick and Ally have become a part of my family and I’m so sad to know that this is the last book in the series because I would love to witness and experience more of their lives together as they continue to grow and prosper. Although this book and series is not for the faint at heart, if you’re looking for a book that allows you to enter a world where the sex is explosive, the characters will hold a special place in your heart and allows the reader to experience intense and unimaginable pleasure, but more importantly, love that’s everlasting, Triad is the book to read. Not only would I recommend Triad to my friends, but I would buy them The Courtland Chronicles as a gift.

Cougar by Riley Ashford

Cougar by Riley Ashford
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (31 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

When a gorgeous young man fourteen years her junior approaches Anna Brevington in the hopes of having a little fun, she can't resist the challenge. Nic Dumont is sexy, intelligent, and confident. He also seems to know exactly what she needs -- in bed and out.

Nic Dumont has never wanted a woman more than he wants Anna. The sexy forty-two-year-old knows her worth as a woman -- and she sure as hell knows how to use that delicious, curvaceous bod of hers. But Nic wants more than just the fling she's offering. He wants Anna -- heart and soul.

Cougar is a story that kicks the tires and lights the fires. Riley Ashford has penned a novella cougar fans will roar for, and when all is said and done, leave them clamoring for more.

I loved Nic from the moment he appeared on the page. He’s confident, successful, and goes after what he wants. When he sees Anna, he knows he has to have her. Their witty exchange in the beginning had me chuckling, while their rendezvous in the ladies room had me reaching for the ice water. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Ms. Ashford represented and tackled the obvious age difference, and cheered for Anna as she embraced her age, her curves, and her sexual desires.

There is a little tension and drama provided, but for the most part, this is the kind of read that gets your hot and bothered. I couldn’t put this novella down, and finished it in one sitting. The characters are fantastic, the writing is wonderful, and the story is one I adored. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll overheat if you’re not careful.

Fans of the cougar genre, you just got served. Be sure to put Cougar on your TBR list.

Switch by Megan Hart

Switch by Megan Hart
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (376 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Multiple Partners, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Don't think.

Don't question.

Just do.

The anonymous note wasn't for me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in the habit of reading other people's mail, but it was just a piece of paper with a few lines scrawled on it, clearly meant for the apartment upstairs. It looked so innocent, but decidedly—deliciously—it was not.

Before replacing the note—and the ones that followed—in its rightful slot, I devoured its contents: suggestions, instructions, commands. Each was more daring, more intricate and more arousing than the last…and I followed them all to the letter.

Before the notes, if a man had told me what to do, I'd have told him where to go. But submission is an art, and there's something oddly freeing about doing someone's bidding…especially when it feels so very, very good. But I find that the more I surrender, the more powerful I feel—so it's time to switch up roles.

We play by my rules now.
Ever have something you thought you didn’t need at all? And then you realize that you can’t live without it, but you plundered your chances for a happy ending? Life hands us what he can handle and demonstrates power. Some can deal, while others cannot. What would you do? For Paige, the answer is to Switch.

Ms. Hart writes an interesting novel. Her characters are real and deal with situations you could see yourself in. You want to see these people succeed and get their lives sorted out. At the same time, you can see yourself having the same issues and dealing in the same ways. I liked how the lives of the characters twined together. You are enmeshed in the story from page one and not given a breather until far after the last page.

Although I felt there were parts of this novel that needed a bit of extra care, this is a great read. There are times when Paige, though she’s coming into her dominant own, comes off as almost cruel and childish. She’s not sure of her place in life, and that makes sense, but she almost has a bit of growing up to do as the story progresses. I like the idea of her embracing the power of her dominant side; I just think her path to getting there was a bit jaded.

If you want a story that will titillate you, then you might want to keep looking. The plot is strong. You can’t help but keep reading, but the sex scenes fall a tad flat. I kept waiting for that moment when she realizes that she’s dominant, powerful, and sensual and it seemed to come almost too late.

I enjoyed Switch and recommend it to those wanting a story about people they could know. I give this story 4 cherries.