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Friday, April 30, 2010

Savage Healing by Moira Rogers

Temple of Luna 4: Savage Healing by Moira Rogers
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (40 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

For years, Celine has ruled the Savage Temple as the high priestess of Luna, one of the most powerful women in their world. She gave up everything for her position, including the only man she's ever loved. Free now of her duties, she's ready for a second chance -- until she stumbles into a trap guaranteed to wake Karim's dark side.

Karim gave up on love the day Celine chose her goddess over him, but a bruised ego can't keep him from coming to her aid when she calls for help. Rescuing Celine from her captors might be easy, but controlling his slide into protective, feral warrior is not. Capable of breaking her body as surely as she broke his heart, his only chance is to trust her to tame his beast, even if it means falling in love with her all over again.

Can a priestess become “just a woman”? After years of serving as the high priestess at the Savage Temple, Celine relinquishes her position to a younger woman. Kidnapped and held prisoner, she gets word to the only person she trusts to save her: the one regret she has in her life. Celine gave up everything to attain her position in the Temple of Luna, including Karim, the warrior she loved. It is Karim she sends for when the enemy captures her. Can Karim pull off the perfect rescue? Can they recapture the passion of their youth or has too much gone between? Can a priestess become a lover and find true love?

Moira Rogers has created a world torn apart by the war between the wolves and men. The Savage Temple is a place of solace and healing. For years, Celine was the High Priestess in charge, but has finally turned her post over to a younger priestess. Celine is smart, strong and determined, but finds herself betrayed by her own people. I liked Celine’s sense of her own abilities: she knows she needs to hold on as long as she can so that the one she sent for can get her out of her predicament. I enjoyed watching her overcome her self-doubt and learn to be the loving woman she once was. I loved that she was smart enough to use her skills to heal the warrior in Karim without losing the lover in him.

Karim is the consummate hero: not the handsomest of men, but imposing. He is scarred, as a warrior would be, but his worst wounds turn out to be those no one can see. He is afraid that he will never be enough for Celine, but knows he has to help her survive her ordeal.

These characters are wonderfully depicted: not young and beautiful, but mature and marked by their life experiences. I enjoyed the journey back to love that these two take, and I hope there are more stories to come from the Temple. I would recommend this for those who want to know that love and passion is not just for the young, but for all of us.

Winter of the Beast by Vonna Harper

Winter of the Beast by Vonna Harper
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Length: Short Story (91 pgs)
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy
Other: M/F, BDSM
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Bittersweet

Dio of the Puma clan is a skilled warrior and hunter. What he doesn’t feel prepared for is his new role as ruler of a clan with few women. Does he have the necessary leadership and compassion or will his need for sex dominate? Only the massive, mysterious Beast knows.

When her cruel husband casts her out, Tawia can no longer call herself a Falcon. Her future a frightening unknown, she heads into the wilderness as winter approaches. The Beast watches.

Captured by the enemy warrior, Tawia fights her body’s demands. Trust is as incomprehensible to her as the relationship between Dio and the great puma. But neither man nor beast are willing to set her free.

They say that opposites attract and they also say that instinct can save or change your life. Vonna Harper's, Winter of the Beast gives truth to both those statements.

A woman tumbles upon the land of the mighty Puma. She is Tawia, of the Falcon clan. Tawia knows she shouldn’t be there, but she can’t help it. Dio, the puma warrior, is lost. He is supposed to guide his people, but he is missing something to do it right. Both are inevitably brought together and with the help of the Puma Beast they are able to release their feelings.

The characters release more than their feelings as they find solace in each others arms. This was a relief, because I honestly was beginning to think that Dio should visit a healer. The constant drilling since almost page one about the state of Dio’s cock was unnecessary. With things like, “His erection didn’t surprise him.”, “His cock throbbed as if in agreement.”, “His cock took note, prompting him to reposition the half swelling.” etcetera, I got the feeling that his cock was almost another character in the plot!

On the other hand, Tawia is depicted as a strong woman. She has been through a lot, definitely. But at certain points, for example when it says, “Yes, he might rape or kill her, but she could only live in the moment, and at this moment she was a woman in a man’s grasp.” I had the feeling that she was simply a weak, ditzy damsel in distress. It was hard to like her at those times.

Nonetheless, Ms. Harper creates a sizzling sexual atmosphere essential for the story, for it is key to the bond that is forming between the characters. Through the sex, Ms. Harper deftly unravels the pent up emotions, understanding, love and the history behind Tawia and Dio.

Winter of the Beast is a nice fast read for those cold nights when you’re in need of something warmer.

Scream for Me by Belladonna Bordeaux

Scream for Me by Belladonna Bordeaux
Publisher: Cobblestone Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (33 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Anal Play, Forced Seduction, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

This is one hell of an after life!

Love ‘em and leave ‘em bar owner Shaw Ross Sorkin has a problem of the paranormal persuasion. Little does he know, his unwanted specter is not only feeding off the startles she gives his customers but also his sexual escapades both inside and outside the bar.

Screaming ghost Bo Takishora needs a master desperately. She thinks she’s found the perfect man in Shaw. The telepath has the regenerative powers required by her specific type of paranormal. The bonus is he’s also a Dominant.

It will take all Shaw’s skill to master this insatiable ghost.

Scream For Me is an interesting look at sex with a ghost. Not just any ghost but one that reminds me of a Banshee, but is not.

Bo is the lead female character and she’s looking for someone new to be the Dom to her sub. What she needs to survive with any kind of peace is a bit unusual, to say the least. She’s a cross between Jeannie in the T.V. series, I Dream Of Jeannie and one of the ghosts from Poltergeist. The difference is that the sex that can only be hinted at on T.V. is more than apparent in this story. Bo has a tormented past that a reader only gets a glimpse of. However, it’s enough to garner a bit of sympathy for her current eating habits.

The male lead that has the chance to take care of her has a few hoops to jump through in order to get the job. It requires a few very hot encounters to make the grade, and Shaw is more than man enough to make her toe the line and give her what she needs. He’s unique as well, with a talent that is honed to a fine edge. His skill is tested beyond what he ever expected. His control is also in question. I mean, it’s a very different idea that a human man could possibly control or order about a regular ghost never mind a frisky one. I liked that angle.

I sort of felt that the development of the “I love you’s” was a bit rushed, and based on a rather shallow platform, but that didn’t detract overly much from the overall interest in the story. I can also credit the author for putting together an HEA that is not the typical happily-ever-after most expect. It stays in line with who and what Bo is and that is to be commended.

Scream For Me is a different and macabre sort of romance story that gives a distinct and spooky edge to their love making. If a reader is looking for a paranormal love story on the dark side, then this book has a few unique offerings sure to fit the bill and is worth taking a look at.

Broken Shine by Candice Gilmer

Broken Shine by Candice Gilmer
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (191 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint

Love will be the death of him.

Felicia Hunter earned herself the nickname Leeza early in life, and well as the reputation for being a klutz. How she landed a job in a glass store was a miracle. The bigger miracle is the mysterious designer who brings in the most beautiful glasswork she’d ever seen. Little does she know, he’s an Immortal Knight Templar.

Sir Liam has spent the last 700 years as a Knight Templar, faithful to the Balance Mandate. His charge is to protect humans from all manner mythical creatures. In the past 24 years, he’s become more attached to Leeza than his vows of chastity allow.

The closer Liam gets to Leeza, the more love and need surge through him. His feelings for her bring him to the very edge, but if she pulls him over, he may end up broken.

Some may feel sex will cause their demise. For Liam and the rest of the Knights Templar, it literally will. So when he realizes that, for the first time in over 700 years, he not only is attracted to Felicia Hunter, better known as Leeza, but cannot seem to stay away from her no matter how much he tries, his life is turned upside down.

The first thing that made me want to read this book was the fact Liam was one of the Knights Templar. I find it refreshing that the author tried to stick to as many historical accounts about the knights, as well as incorporate some additional information. It served to make them fit into the story so well, including the Inquisition. I also enjoyed that, now immortal, the knights in this story remained true to the way history depicted them in many ways. For instance, the fact that they were chaste and that they were required to pray every morning and evening. I think it added a certain amount of validity to the story.

Although very descriptive, this story only contained one sex scene. The fact that the main conflict in this story is based on Liam’s requirement to stay chaste, according to the Balance Mandate (their rule book, so to speak), this was to be expected. Since all of the knights were required to take a vow of chastity, Liam had never had any type of contact with a woman, not even simple touching. This added a little more depth to Liam’s character, and made for an amazing build up of tension. The author depicted him, as any virgin may be, uncomfortable with physical contact because of his inexperience.

If you are like me, and enjoy love stories that include some mythology and history, you will really enjoy reading this one.

GRRR! by Reese Johnson

GRRR! by Reese Johnson
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing, LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (25 pgs)
Other: Light BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Forced Seduction, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint

Do you like it rough? Rico and Katia are drawn to one another and share a night of passion, then go their separate ways but can’t stop thinking about each other. After a string of one nighters, they meet again, and this time the fur is gonna fly!

Is there steam coming off my skin? Because, wow, GRRR! is one smoking hot story.

After a one night stand, Rico and Katia think that is the last they will see of each other. Yet, they cannot stop thinking about one another. Unable to fight the urge, Rico decides to go back and seek out the one night stand that turned out to be much more.

Although short, this story packed a lot of punch. The story line is continuous and keeps your interest. And if that doesn't do it for you, the hot sexual encounters will. One downfall of this story is that I think the author tried to fit too much into such a short story. I mean BDSM, forced seduction, spanking... although some of these are with different partners, how many different types of sex can one really fit into 25 pages? It does however prove one thing: Rico has definitely met his match in Katia. Maybe that is exactly what he needs. She is a strong independent woman who refuses to take guff from anyone.

I enjoyed the dynamics of this couple. Not only are they interracial in human form, but they are two separate feline species. This made things a even more exciting!

Looking for a quickie that will grab your attention to the last page? Well GRRR! will definitely keep you growling.

Sultry Santorini Sunset by Eliza March

Sultry Santorini Sunset by Eliza March
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (112 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, M/F/M/M, Multiple Partners, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism, Masturbation
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint

Three thousand years ago, six warriors of Atlantis pledged themselves to the Goddess of Sensuality, exchanging emotions for heightened senses and immortality in order to protect what remained of their lost world. Three went in search of their lost emotions and became unredeemable. The others maintained their honor with help from their leader, and they all became the Gods of Atlantis.

Mira fulfilled her responsibilities, denying herself pleasure for years, but she's escaped. On Santorini, she takes three men as lovers who help her make-up for lost time. When emotions start infiltrating the men's souls in her presence, they discover she's the one woman capable of returning their emotions. Now they must convince her to share their love and lives for all eternity. Will she believe their fantastic tale and trust in their love enough to make the final commitment? Will she accept immortality, their bond, and their love?

I am so envious of Mira. Finally able to go somewhere alone to indulge in some self-fulfillment, she ends up meeting the most tantalizing man she has ever seen. When he invites her back to his place for a little more excitement, imagine her surprise to find out there are two more perfect male specimens also wanting to fulfill all of her body's needs.

Between Damian, Alex and Zack I would have to say Damian is my favorite. Aside from the fact that I have always loved that name, his character is perfect. I have always been one for dominant males who are still sensitive to the heroine's needs. Damian is just that guy; able to give Mira what she needs at the right times. His ability to know what everyone wants and needs, and to take control to insure everyone’s satisfaction, makes him more desirable.

I really enjoyed the plot. It was definitely fantastical, but as it is based on Atlantean gods, it's not meant to be realistic. This was one of the first stories I've read based on the myth of Atlantis, and I completely enjoyed it.

This story was hot, Hot, HOT. Let me tell you, when reading this story, make sure you're sitting in front of a fan with a tall glass of ice water, because these four will leave you so hot and sweaty you will need a shower afterwards. No matter how you like your sexcapades you will find something for you in this story, because it pretty much covers everything you can imagine. If you like continuous wild kinky sex you must get this book immediately. So stop reading this review, and go buy it now.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Magical Story by Shayne Carmichael

A Magical Story by Shayne Carmichael
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (50 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Statice

As an indentured slave to the worst magician in the land, Hawk hates his life. When he suddenly finds himself matched in a duel with the one of the most famous wizards in Aurora, Hawk is in way over his head.

In less than one match, Hawk finds his life completely changed, and he now belongs to the wizard, Brael. Regardless of the fact Hawk has adored Brael since his youth, he's now a grown man and things are different. But are they really?

When his former master, Ejada, plots to kill the king and have Brael blamed for it, Hawk must go way beyond his limits to try to save the king and mage. If he doesn't, Brael will die. And if he succeeds, he'll probably be the one to die.

Once upon a time a little boy was safe and secure in the love of his grandfather and the friendship of a mage/necromancer called Brael. Fast-forward fifteen years and all that security has been exchanged for a life of servitude to Master Simon.

That boy was now a young man who had indeed lost a lot. All that he had left were his memories of his grandfather and the mage Brael, who held a special place in his heart. That and the Seer’s Medallion gifted him by his grandfather on his sixth birthday. Hawk hadn’t seen the mage since his birthday, and now due to the ambition of his owner he must fight in the Annual Masters Tournament -- against the man he finds himself attracted to.

Can Hawk and Brael both survive Simon and his machinations to proclaim their love for each other? Will they finally admit to each other that they really do love each other? Or will they end up losing each other just as they had found one another?

For a short story there was a lot going on – the back story of the animosity between Brael and Master Simon, the attempt on the king’s life, and then the main story of the developing relationship between Brael and Hawk. I did however feel that there was much that could have been expanded on – the prophecy about Hawk was one thing. This was mentioned, but only briefly and then not really utilized in the story and the reader was left wondering exactly what the prophecy was and exactly how it fit into the story and the final confrontation.

Apart from that, the relationship between Brael and Hawk moved very quickly to the physical but both characters hesitated in professing their love for each other – this love/attraction for each other needed to be further explained and developed for the reader to really feel that it wasn’t just a tool in the story line.

Mr. Carmichael has a gift for drawing pictures with his words and I could easily imagine the world and the characters he crafted so carefully. I loved the world created by him. It was an interesting world of talking wands, shadows and other normally inanimate objects that had their own character. This added a new dimension to what could otherwise just have been the usual fantasy story with a relationship thrown in for good measure. I certainly hope that there are more stories to come based on the amazing world that Mr. Carmichael has created!

Lifemates by Aline de Chevigny

Lifemates by Aline de Chevigny
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (72 pgs)
Other: M/F, Ménage
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Benton Chaser was the black beaver of his clan. Seeing the pain and suffering his father experienced when his mother was killed. He refused to accept the laws of the clan and find his one true mate. Preferring exiles to the pain he knew was in store if he gave in and the revenge he got seducing the wives of the men who ripped his family apart.

Until he met a feisty Widow name River Maples, who gave the wild animal on her property sanctuary and greeted all men with the barrel of her shot gun. He'd tried everything he could think of to approach her and could only succeed in his were-beaver form. Yet he can't deny the pull he feels towards her, could she be the one thing he'd been running away from for the past hundred years?

Bagging a beaver has never been so much fun as reading about one falling in love.

Benton is a lovesick beaver who yearns to reveal himself to his lifemate. That comes with all sorts of problems because she doesn’t know a thing about him. Least of which is that he can walk as a man. I like a hero in a quandary. Poor guy has to contend with a smelly suitor, a stalker and a future mate who shoots men first rather than talk to them. He sure has his work cut out for him. I found Benton charming even though his dialogue was a bit stilted. I also enjoyed reading how proficient he is with a woman’s body. He certainly knows how to please.

River is a woman of her time – a pioneer. She knows her way about a musket and isn’t afraid to use it. A reader gets to know her a bit and gradually understands why she is the way she is. It takes guts to make the choices she has. It also takes trust, and a leap of faith, to allow a handsome stranger into her life, never mind her heart. She has a secret though; one that she thinks is a killing blow to any future marriage options. Yet hope springs eternal, and she is not so jaded or cynical that she gets mired in bitterness, because she certainly could have. I’m glad the author sidestepped that landmine.

I personally felt disgust and was squicked out at the stalker’s other choice meat to focus on when the initial prey was removed. I think Benton had a narrow escape and I’m glad of it. I couldn’t even drum up any sympathy for that character’s ultimate demise. I just know that it’s eventually going to be a bad ending, but sometimes there’s just no accounting for taste.

Lifemates is a fun, entertaining paranormal romance with a unique shifter species that I’d really like to know more about. There’s a family dynamic hinted at that I’d like to see explored more and I enjoyed this story enough to wonder about other books by this author. I’m glad I read this book, it made me smile.

The Awakening by Jamieson Wolf

The Awakening – Queen of Egypt Book 1 by Jamieson Wolf
Publisher: Breathless Press
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (44 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Ambrosia

Cleopatra, ruler of Egypt, is just twenty years old and in love with Marc Anthony. After the death of Julius Caesar, she is thrilled to find love in the arms of another.

Her bliss is shattered when she is contacted by the goddess Isis, who needs her help. Osiris, husband of Isis, has gone missing and Isis is unable to find him. She needs Cleopatra to locate him before he is killed.

But all is not as it seems. Cleopatra is being hunted by Anibus, god of the Underworld. Cleopatra will have to trust in herself and the magic inside of her, if she is to survive....

The stories of Cleopatra’s life never seem to lose a reader’s interest, no matter what form they take. In The Awakening, Cleo finds herself on a mission to save the Goddess Isis’ true love and unravels secrets that stun her. Magic fills the pages of this short story and makes you wonder if the real woman was indeed mystical.

Suffering from nightmares, Cleopatra seeks out the Goddess, only to be sent on a mission to save Isis’ husband, Osiris, after he disappears. The evil God Anubis—half man, half dog—seeks to kill Isis and Osiris and seize the untapped powers Cleo unknowingly holds deep within her. Unraveling more truth than she can bear, Cleo must go to the Underworld to find Osiris and bring him back.

Mark Anthony declares his heart and his passion are hers, and offers to go with her “down under” and protect her. Cleo refuses, telling him it’s her fate to do it alone, even though she’d like nothing better than to have his comforting presence by her side. His wild passion fills her with joy and security, though he can’t be with her, and she soon realizes that love will be her savior. The only thing is, when the magic within her is awakened, she finds that having power can be frightening and worries she will become evil with such abilities.

The characters are full of life. The romance is passionate, though you can feel the remnants of the trials they’d gone through in their forbidden love before Caesar was killed, prior to the opening of this story. Though Mark Anthony has little impact on the story for the most part, he is the main motive behind Cleo’s desire to solve the issue without his help. She is a strong woman with a mind of her own, which makes for heroic (heroine? *G*) reading.

This story is well-written and beautifully worded. Each scene builds the path to Cleo’s successful conclusion where love leads the game. The Awakening – Queen of Egypt Book 1 deserves 4.5 Cherries for an excellent new portrait of a famous queen’s life. Well done.

Cougar by the Tail by J. Hali Steele

Cougar by the Tail by J. Hali Steele
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (47 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Trent Dallion is screwed. A wily little cougar has him by the balls -- and he can't get loose! Did she mean it when she thanked him for killing her brother? Or is she playing a game of cat and mouse, waiting for revenge?

Peri Montana tastes her destiny in the blood of the jaguar who took her diseased brother's life. Mountain born and bred, she wants nothing to do with the jungle cat who possesses more vampire abilities than she's comfortable with. Can she follow him into the hot desert night without losing her tail?

What happens when a Sovereign Warrior Jaguar grabs a Cougar by the tail? It’s one hot romp on the mountain.

Want to know more? Then read Cougar by the Tail.

J. Hali Steele writes spicy stories that stick with the reader long after the last page. This story doesn’t disappoint. Peri and Trent grabbed my attention right off, and held me long after I closed the ebook. Ms. Steele also writes with a tenderness and way with description that made me feel like I was there, frolicking on the mountainside with Peri and Trent.

And speaking of characters, Peri and Trent aren’t conventional, but that’s what made them fun for me to read about. Peri is a cougar shifter and she’s a cougar in life — she’s older than Trent. She’s still got the older woman/younger man fears and her fears are what helped me relate to her. She’s not perfect. But I loved it when she had to stand up and decide what she wanted. It made me applaud and smile. Now that’s not to say I didn’t feel her pain early on in the story. The death of her brother was well written and made my heart hurt and ache for her. I liked the conflict with her brother. The added irritation of the wolves and having to accept each other really brought the story to life for me.

But then there’s Trent. Yes, he’s got alpha male written all over him, but he’s got his own little nuances that drew me to him. He gets overloaded with ‘cub’ jokes, but he’s not slouch. He just needed to find his way. I loved his spirit and his dichotomy—he’s a warrior jaguar and a vampire. Talk about a mish-mosh! But it all worked and made him a sexy beast.

Oh, and man, does this story sizzle. I felt the passion between Peri and Trent before she was ready to admit that maybe, just maybe, she liked him. It gave me shivers in a great way.

If you want a scorching hot love story, then you need to read Cougar by the Tail. I give this ebook 4 cherries.

Satisfy Me by Madison Scott

Satisfy Me by Madison Scott
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (40 pgs)
Other: M/F, Voyeurism, Light bondage
Rating: 5 cherries
Review by: Peppermint

Tyson Malone is being stalked by a ghost. Between bouts of calling him Sugar Lips and Hot Cakes, the apparition makes it her goal to get Ty together with his sexy neighbor, Maggie Jacobson. Unfortunately, for her, Ty doesn’t do the relationship thing. He does sex with a no relationship clause. One look at Maggie is all it takes to know she’s a relationship kind of woman.

Maggie is tired of living her life the way others dictate. When her mom leaves her a journal left behind by a grandmother she never met, Maggie is inspired. This brave woman lived her life by her own set of rules and Maggie is ready to do the same. After moving to a new town, she meets Ty, a man who inspires her in a whole new, very sexual way.

Taking control for the first time in her life, Maggie propositions him with a no strings affair. Soon they begin a journey to sexual satisfaction and bringing her fantasies to life.

Satisfied. That is the way Tyson and Maggie left me feeling.

While Ty tries to control himself so that he will not pursue his new neighbor, he has to deal with a ghost telling him to let go of his control and pursue the woman of his desires. As much as Ty would like to do just that, he cannot. He is a man only interested in sex with no strings. He knows his neighbor Maggie is the type of woman who is looking for a relationship he cannot offer her. Or is she?

If you are looking for a woman who is not happy with her life and looking to make drastic changes, meet Maggie. You will enjoy the fact that Maggie was a woman trying to find herself. It is invigorating, for not only me but many women, to see a female go out and get what she wants, no matter how she was raised to feel about her needs. Now if she can only convince her neighbor, Ty, she no longer wants to be that good girl everyone believes she should be.

I think the relationship between these two was perfect. The relationship started as just a spicy fling, but ended in a sensual romantic relationship. That does not mean the spice died down. Instead it grew with the intensity of their feelings. This was one sizzling story that woke up my adventurous side.

The plot in this story worked really well. It is not too often you get a love story where the man is actually the one who is broken, and not the female. Maggie came to Last Change knowing she wanted to change her life and needed something new. Ty was the one that had a hard time getting past who he was, to get to who he wanted to be. It was a nice change from the normal: man wanting woman, woman doesn’t know, but eventually gives in.

With the right type of characters and the perfect plot this story left me wanting more in a good way.

Saved By Loves Blood by Stephani Hecht

Saved By Loves Blood: Drone Vampire Chronicles Five by Stephani Hecht
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (170 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint

Born a warlock, the one thing Ethan had been taught all his life was to hate vampires. For centuries, a bitter war existed between the two societies, but with new enemies threatening both sides, an uneasy alliance has been formed. Ethan finds himself having to embrace, not only his half-vampire brother, but a whole vampire clan in order to protect his coven. Against his will, he finds himself drawn to one vampire in particular--a dark, handsome soldier named Zeke.

Betrayed and almost murdered by a witch years before, the last thing Zeke wants is to have anything to do with the magical world. Yet, he cannot deny his growing attraction to the annoying, yet sexy Ethan. Determined to have nothing to do with him, he pushes Ethan away.

Then one unforgivable act on Zeke's part leaves Ethan vulnerable and the warlock is captured by their enemies. Zeke vows will he get Ethan back at any cost. Little does he realize that the price will be greater than either one of them ever realized and that Ethan will lose all he's ever held dear in the process. Will their love be enough to overcome it or will Ethan give into the darkness and became that which he has vowed to fight?

Vampires, witches and shifters, Oh my! Yes, this story has all of the types of paranormal creatures I have come to love. While they do not like to play nice with each other, with the growing evil, they are focused to build unlikely alliances. So, when vampire Zeke and warlock Ethan begin to have feelings for each other, they are forced to look at themselves and others differently.

I did enjoy the plot of this story. Although part of a series, it was written as a story that stands alone. IT's only now and then that you get the feeling that you are missing something. It is the same feelings you get when there is an inside joke you are not privy too. I would like to have also learned more about the history between Zeke and Ethan, but I have a feeling that was probably in previous stories in this series.

I really enjoyed the way everyone, not just the main characters, interacted with each other. It seemed as if everyone really did work well together, and cared whether publically or secretly. Although they should not have traditionally been allies, they all seemed to accept each other to the best of their abilities. If you read the previous stories, you will enjoy getting to see some of the other characters from those stories.

I would like to have seen more conflict than was provided in this story. After they retrieved Ethan from his captures, you never really heard anymore about the fight/war going on between the two sides. It would have been nice to see more of a buildup. I think this may be due to the fact that it is a series conflict and not just in this particular story, but it still would have been nice to see more interaction with the bad guys.

It was clear that Ethan and Zeke were meant for one another, that they cared for one another from the very beginning. The fact that no one else would stand up for Ethan, but Zeke, further proved how much he cared for Ethan.

Great characters, check; good plot, check; all the ingredients needed for a great read, check!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Promise Given by Stormy Glenn

A Promise Given by Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Torquere Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Length: Full Length (177 pgs)
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Jasmine

Detective Cooper Thomas was kidnapped and tortured by a psychotic serial killer bent on revenge. If that wasn’t bad enough, Alec Whitley, the only man Cooper ever really loved, the man who left him ten years ago without a word, came back just in time to rescue him. Cooper never thought he'd see Alec again, let alone owe the man his life, so while Cooper might still have feelings for Alec, he's not sure he wants to open himself up to that kind of hurt.

Now, six months later, Alec wants to discuss their past and plan their future. But before Cooper can come to terms with Alec being back in his life he has to discover who’s killing young gay men before he and Alec become the next victims. Between undercover assignments and startling revelations, Cooper and Alec don't know if their fragile relationship can survive. Can they solve the case and find a way to be together? A Promise Given is the sequel to the popular novel A Promise Kept.

Stormy Glenn is an absolute genius when it comes to writing tantalizing, sexy, erotic m/m stories. A Promise Given is a fast-paced, action packed story that will have you guessing right up to the very end. I literally couldn’t put the book down and read it all in one sitting because the twists that Ms. Glenn throws at you with the turn of every page are guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat wondering who’s behind all of the murders. Is it Watson or is it someone else?

Although I haven’t read the first story in the series, A Promise Kept, which I intend to quickly rectify, the plot of the story is easy to follow. In fact, the words seemed to flow from the page. I love how Ms. Glenn continuously provides the reader, who hasn’t read the first book, insight into what happened in the past with Mason, Cooper, Ben, and the serial killer who tortured them, Watson. You can’t help but fall in love with all of the characters and even though the primary focus is on Cooper and Alec, the secondary characters are just as loveable. I enjoyed their humor and the bantering between friends and lovers. I also enjoyed how they genuinely care about what happens to one other, which is obvious in the way Ms. Glenn structures the story.

The fears Cooper and Alec both exhibit as well as the hardships that they have endured in the present and the past are both realistic, and somewhat endearing, when you focus on the sacrifices that Alec is willing to make in order to keep Cooper safe. The sexual tension emanating between Alec and Cooper is explosive when they give into their primitive desires. Moreover, I loved how she allowed the reader into each of the characters’ head so that we not only understood their thought processes, but also how their fears and desires affected the decisions that they made. Ms. Glenn does an excellent job of providing the reader with a better understanding of the BDSM world and it’s obvious that she’s done her homework.

If you’re looking for a heartfelt, suspenseful, sensual story that entails love, loss, fate, trust, and most of all, forgiveness, then A Promise Given is definitely the book to read. Oh, did I forget to mention the scorching hot sex? Yeah, that’s definitely in there and I would definitely recommend A Promise Given to my friends. Now, I’m off to purchase A Promise Kept so that I’m up to speed on this series. Ms. Glenn, I’m anxiously awaiting Ben and John’s story, as well as Jordan and Sylva. Bravo Ms. Glenn, for writing an endearing, sensual story with loveable characters, but more importantly, keep them coming. Woo-hoo!

Turning Ash by Crymsyn Hart

Turning Ash by Crymsyn Hart
Publisher: Phaze Books
Length: Full Length (263 pgs)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Bittersweet

After a year of talking, Ashling is finally going to meet Devlin in person. Devilishly handsome, he's haunted her dreams ever since she saw his picture. However, their first meeting doesn't go as planned. Nearly killed by a vampire hunter, Ashling is pulled into a dark world she never thought existed. One where vampires are real.

Devlin isn't the man he purports to be and Markus, his sire, has another agenda for Ashling. On the run from the hunters, she finds herself in a new city and a die-hard attraction to Markus that she can't shake. Trying to blend in and forget about vampires, she's dragged back into their blood soaked world. And then the hunters find her once more.

Will Devlin come to her rescue? Will Markus reveal his true intentions? Or will the hunters get what they really came for?

Vampires. Lately, they are all the rave. I’m a vampire lover, but even I was beginning to get a little tired. That was until I read Turning Ash by Crymsyn Hart.

Ms. Hart presents a dark vampire novel in a totally new light. The first thing that caught my attention was the realistic way in which she depicts the internet. Who hasn’t participated in forums, made internet friends or had an internet crush? I know I have. Then she starts to introduce Ashling, her main character, who is a psychic vampire. What was a psychic vampire? It wasn’t your ordinary sanguine vampire; it was something on a whole new level. By then, she had my full attention. My interest sparked even further when I discovered that Ashling wore glasses. Yes! Finally, a vampire that can’t see properly and struggles with her glasses. I sure can identify with that (right now my glasses keep slipping to the tip of my nose).

Then, Devlin appeared: long hair, pale complexion, tall, handsome and with strange powers. The tension began to grow until it suddenly, literally, exploded (I must say that was unexpectedly gross). All this emotion only on chapter one!

Completely hooked, I read on. Could it get any better? Yes. Markus appeared. Hot, with long hair and dashing green eyes he had a mysterious yet sweet air about him that basically screamed for me to read on and get to know him better.

However, exploration led to deceit, lies, riddles, evil (those hunters…) and a lot more tension that kept me on the edge of my seat. Things I did not like appeared. For example, Ashling’s cumuli of disasters is way too much at times, or her way of demonstrating thanks by kissing people out of the blue seemed a little out of character. The sexual build-up was excellent, but not the result. It was too fast and, in my opinion, lacked emotion. After so much tension and pain I was expecting a little more and was sadly disappointed. Finally, the end of the novel seemed incomplete. Yes, the romance was solved, but the subplot seemed to hang there, maybe for a part 2?

Still, those minor points did not ruin the overall effect of the novel. As someone that has moved and still moves inside Goth circles and can’t spend more than a few days without connecting to the internet, I loved the way Ms. Hart depicted some of Ashling’s feelings, and her views on the Internet. Ms. Hart definitely knows how to engage a reader’s attention and keep it throughout. She gave me a thoroughly enjoyable read and the hope that there are still fresh vampire tales to tell. Way to go Ms. Hart!

Take My Picture by Giselle Ellis

Take My Picture by Giselle Ellis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (154 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Phlox

Aaron has no idea what he's walking into when he shows up to pose for a famous—and famously bad-tempered—photographer. He certainly doesn't expect to end up working as Jake's assistant for five frustrating, thrilling, and crazy years instead of in front of the camera.

It all works until Jake realizes Aaron has become the focus of his life, a life that's threatened when Aaron actually leaves him to start a relationship with someone else. Though it breaks his heart, Jake realizes he has to set his beloved muse free to have any chance of winning Aaron back.

Jake and Aaron are two of the most endearing emotional train wrecks I’ve ever come across. While Jake is an agoraphobic photographer with serious control issues that bleed over into OCD, Aaron is an emotional hyperactive, who has difficulty staying in the moment and hides self-esteem issues behind his rapid-fire, sideways veering conversation. The reader knows from the start that they’re either meant for each other or a disaster of epic proportions in the making, probably both.

Despite their quirks and oddities, and partly because of them, I found it impossible not to fall in love with them. Ms. Ellis paints such a wonderful portrait of their relationship as ‘just friends’, with their often hilarious banter and their push-pull way of dealing with each other. They challenge each other. They force each other out of their respective comfort zones. They make everyone else around them a little nuts with a communication style meant for the two of them alone. Of course, their emotional instabilities also prevent both of them from taking that last step, the one where they admit how much they mean to each other, as they try to fill the void with other boyfriends in Aaron’s case and one-night stands in Jake’s.

Once in awhile, the banter goes on just a bit too long and there were spots in the story where the editor side of my brain was insisting ‘too much telling’. I would have liked to have been in scene through some of Aaron’s disastrous boyfriend issues rather than being told in narrative, but for the most part, the style of telling is so charming that I was able to ignore editor-voice.

Told in deep third-person POV, Jake and Aaron have such unique, convincing voices that the reader becomes immersed in the how’s and why’s of the motives behind their actions, their doubts and fears, their continual denials and anguish. This immersion is what makes the story emotionally engaging, while the quirky humor weaves light threads throughout to keep it from becoming heavy-handed. This is not one of those deeply tragic, sharply poignant stories one often finds in M/M romance. But the ‘black moment’ is still bleak enough that my eyes filled with tears.

At the end of a romance, one often wonders if the characters will appear again. What happens next? In this case, I hope not to see Aaron and Jake again. To see them in another story would mean something has gone wrong with their lives, and I so want them to be happy. A great read that I recommend.

Eva's Last Dance by Teal Ceagh

Eva’s Last Dance by Teal Ceagh
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (40 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal play, Toys
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Nearly one hundred years after their last dance together, Eva’s long-lost love Edward makes contact again. Eva, now a lonely vampire, can’t resist falling into his arms and under his erotic spell. She’ll do anything he asks of her…

Until the spell is rudely interrupted by Ryan, a demon hunter on the trail of an incubus. He seduces Eva with a searing night of dance and passion—and attempts to avert the disaster that hovers over the delicate, beguiling creature.

What if you could have that one dance with the man who made you burn? Would you take it? Or would you run the other way? I’d suggest reading Eva’s Last Dance to find out more.

Teal Ceagh is a new-to-me-author, but this story was one I’ll recommend to all my friends. From the outset, I was intrigued with this story. I like vampire tales and one where virginity is so important is a new twist on the old standard. I was drawn in from page one and fully involved.

I liked Eva’s character. She’s trusting and meek in the form of a woman who could rip a man’s throat out with her bare hands. I liked that she held onto her humanity at a time when a vampire can lose everything so fast.

Ryan is an intriguing man. He’s a demon hunter and though I got to see things through his eyes, I wasn’t totally sure about him. As a hero, he’s a great guy, but I had a hard time seeing his romantic side for the most part. Yes, he was romantic, but he also seemed a bit...stiff. I liked him well enough, but I wanted more of him—more of his side.

The thing that tripped me up about this story, was the jump in time. I liked the plot device—using memories to tell a situation. But, that being said, I felt like I was seeing the action, rather than experiencing it. The action happened, but it didn’t really come alive to me like it could have.

Still, the ending was great and satisfied me. If you want a read that’s not the norm and totally engaging, then you need to read Eva’s Last Dance. I give it 4 cherries.

Afternoon Delight by Ronna Gage

Afternoon Delight by Ronna Gage
Publisher: Freya’s Bower
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (8 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint

After thirteen years of marriage, communication can be a key to a happy marriage, but if you don’t discuss the most intimate of desires what is left?

Sean and Maudi find the answer to the very question. When Sean comes home early, a stranger is in his bed--the most erotic, alluring woman of his dreams….his wife. The secrets he learns in the accidental encounter is well, an afternoon filled with delights.

When Sean came home to surprise his wife, little did he know he would be the one surprised. When he walked in on his wife masturbating he wasn’t sure whether to watch or join in.

I enjoyed the plot of this story. Sean and Maudi did not realize they both wanted something more from each other in the bedroom. So instead of expressing their feelings during the years they were together, they suppressed them. So many couples go through this dilemma, there is no way you can see this story as unrealistic.

The main problem I had was that it was just too short -- only eight pages. With so few pages, you really can't get a lot of insight into the characters. You know absolutely nothing about the couple other than they are married with two kids, and you don't get a good feel for who they are. But, since the plot did not falter I was able to get past the lack of character description to enjoy the story.

If you are looking for a quick lesson on communicating your sexual needs, graphically illustrated by some hot daytime loving, this story may have a few tips for you.