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Friday, June 18, 2010

Nine-tenths of the Law by LA Witt

Nine-tenths of the Law by LA Witt
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (160 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by: Cactus

Without trust, common ground can get pretty shaky…

“I believe you have something of mine, Zach.”

Zach Owens doesn’t even know who this angry stranger is, let alone what the man is talking about—until he learns what they have in common. Their boyfriend, Jake. Once Jake’s out of the picture, Zach’s apology to Nathan Forrester leads to a long conversation, a kiss, and a chemistry that goes far beyond revenge sex.

Nathan can’t help but fall for the sexy movie theater owner, but it’s a long way from sheet-tearing sex to mutual trust. And a series of “coincidences” that throws Zach into Jake’s company leaves him unconvinced Zach was the complete innocent in their previous love triangle.

Zach can’t seem to make Nathan believe that Jake is up to something. But protesting his innocence isn’t working, and Jake’s carefully orchestrated campaign to destroy their love could leave them both with nothing…

When Zach and Nathan find out they share a boyfriend, the two men discover perhaps they have more in common than just one man. What starts as an unusual meeting, a two timing boyfriend confronted by both of the men turns into a start of something new for the disgruntled ex’s. Although both Zach and Nathan never knew each other before Jake cheated on them, they discover they want to know more. What starts as an easy, uncomplicated rebound becomes something deeper with potential. Yet both Zach and Nathan have issues they need to overcome to make the relationship work and perhaps there is too much for them to last.

Nine-Tenths is an erotic romance, heavy on sex. It’s not sex scene after sex scene but these are classic male stereotypes that solve arguments with good sex instead of talking. The main conflict is the issue of trust. Nathan and Zach were both cheated on by their mutual ex Jake but Zach gets over it quicker since he wasn’t as serious about Jake as Nathan was. Nathan also has a second destructive ex that has damaged his ability to trust. Nathan’s lack of trust runs into Zach’s frustration since he’s never done anything to deserve Nathan’s suspicion. Their conflict rises repeatedly between bouts of sex as the two slowly start to invest more emotionally into the relationship.

The story is decent with well rounded characters shown from Zach’s first person point of view. The emotional conflict is the main continuing storyline and can feel repetitive since the two men never really resolve their issues. Nathan is suspicious and worried Zach will cheat on him while Zach is frustrated by Nathan’s lack of trust. Both men are sympathetic and understandable in their concerns but it's tends to be frustrating in its repetition. Neither man actually communicates well and they use sex as a way to ignore the problems. They have a resolution of sorts at the end -- a happy for now more than "ever after" -- and the problems still exist, making me think this may not be a couple that will make it.

I think reader enjoyment of this story will really depend on what they think about Zach and Nathan, as jealousy is a pretty common issue among relationships. Overall, it's really not a bad story and it has a lot of very nice, not sex scenes. If you like the sex hot and frequent, and don't mind a "happy for now" ending, this may be the perfect book for you.

Ancient Blood by Rie McGaha

Ancient Blood by Rie McGaha
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (97 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Sex in shifter form, Violence
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by: Peppermint

Half witch and half wolf, Ganda is like no other being on earth, but more than 3,000 years ago the love of her life, Colin, was killed and since then she's remained an old black woman in the swamps of Louisiana. That was, until Joshua and Jessie Kaine showed up and brought her back to life.

Now on a mission to put her past to rest, Ganda visits Ireland, the land of her birth, and then the land of Colin's death—Egypt. What she finds there isn't the answer she's looking for, but a mystery that will change her entire future.

This plot was mysterious, provocative and heartwrenching. The grief that Ganda experiences not only consumed her but me as well. And after so many years of mourning to then be given a slight glimpse of hope was an amazing twist.

There are a few things I do need to mention. One is that this story begins during the BC time period and then about half way through comes into present time. This story is also not for the faint of heart, at least sexually. While you can clearly see the love and affection between Ganda and Colin the sex can be very unsettling for some.

I think the author did a great job with the characters. I think the relationship and the emotions really showed through the entire story. It was clear that Ganda and Colin not only loved each other, but also how much Ganda cared for the other characters. One thing that I enjoyed about Ganda was how even though she was probably the strongest character she allowed the males to take the lead if for no other reason but for them to feel like the hero. She did this with not only Colin but with her uncle Garan.

Whereas I loved this story, plot and characters, I think it would have been even better had the story been a bit longer so the author had more time to explain more about the secondary characters and sub-plots. I would really have loved to learn more about Willard and his reasons behind pursuing a fight that caused his two predecessors' deaths.

The way the author merged fact and fiction was seamless. If you do not know Egyptian history you would not know which aspect of the story was fiction and fact. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for authors who can blend their worlds with the "real" world. It adds a certain amount of validity to a story that nothing else can. Rie McGaha really has a knack for this type of mixture that not too many authors can achieve, which definitely made the story worth reading.

Cookies by Sarah Black

Cookies by Sarah Black
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (42 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Kenny Lee had avoided the cutthroat competition between cooks until his old friend Julio lures him into a friendly little cookie booth at the farmer's market. Then the competition heats up, the cookies heat up, and Julio and Kenny Lee find they have their hands full -- with each other!

Two men trying to find their passion in life, but what if the passion is something created between them? And what does it have to do with cookies? Well, you need to read Cookies to find out.

Ms. Black writes an intriguing story with a social commentary background. The characters are likable and I wanted to know more about them. There were times when I wasn’t sure their decisions were proper, but that realism was what really made the story come alive for me. Lots of people make choices thinking it will make them happy and find that their dreams lie elsewhere. Such was the case here. Plus the element of Slow Foods and the scourge of diabetes on society were interesting additives. Use the food from the land and enjoy it. We should all follow that idea.

I wanted to see more from these characters. I realize this is a short story, but where did the relationship start? Were they more to each other before? And the casualness of the relationship was a deterrent for me. I felt the passion between them even before they realized it, but I wanted to conk their heads together and remind them that they should work together not against each other.

Still, Julio and Kenny Lee are a couple of handsome men. Reading about them being together was sexy, because they really did love each other once they got past their idiosyncrasies.

If you want a sexy story with social commentary, then you need to read Cookies. I give this story 4 cherries.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sexy Beast by Sherri L King

Sexy Beast by Sherri L. King
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave - Twilight
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (72 pgs)
Other: M/F, Forced Seduction, Voyeurism
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Wisteria

Be careful what you wish for…

When Angel’s car dies at a crossroads, during a full moon, at midnight no less, she fervently wishes the clunker will restart and wheeze the few remaining miles to her home. And along comes Otto, a sexy beast who “fixes” the car and takes his payment in trade—Angel’s body, naked and ready on the hood of her old Diablo. That’s what devils do, after all. Trade. But Angel learns of her mistake too late. While a supernatural car with a permanently undying engine is great and all, her body is a pretty steep price to pay.

Too bad that’s not all Otto wants.

Sexy Beast is a short story that follows Angel, an independent, self-assured young woman who enjoys her friends close and her lust at arm's length. Otto, a shady man, lurking on the fringes of humanity, appears and strikes a deal with Angel and her friends, the connection between the two of them is too strong to deny.

Sexy Beast pulled me in from the start. Angel is an understandable, undeniably attractive character. She struggles with money, being independent and her job as being a female mechanic. Truly, my first impression was she didn’t need a man. Her character is well-written and well-defined by her actions. Her thoughts about her car breaking down and the back story of how she got to the crossroads she’s broken down in are well formulated. But when Otto is introduced, the plot takes a fun, albeit sudden turn in the opposite way I was expecting.

When Otto suddenly appears out of the dark night, he's disheveled and dirty. Not exactly the irresistible Romeo I expected, however, it’s quickly explained that Angel and Otto have history, physical history, that is still fanning the flames of the desires of both of them. Angel has longed to see Otto again, almost wished to see him again, and when she needs him most he appears. But as the intro to the book says, be careful what you wish for. Otto’s reappearance begins a host of strange thoughts, dreams, feelings and emotions that Angel is seriously not equipped to deal with.

I enjoyed when the big reveal of what Otto was came and how Angel did everything she could to keep him out, but Otto, being devilishly addicting, was able to continue to lust after her and cause her to lust after him — even though she didn’t want to. There were a few things in the story that I felt were confusing, such as the terms of the world were not clearly defined (the best friend has an ex-zombie fiancée), and some terms were overused (i.e. ‘her sex’). However, the story is a quick, fun, passionate read.

Sexy Beast is filled with passionate, paranormal sex, lust and hunger. Otto is a great character to crave more of (and I did!). Angel is not your typical ‘angel’ — no wings included — instead she uses her worldly charms to inflame the devil's desires. This story is perfect for anyone looking for a teasing, taunting relationship, candid interludes and a short escape from the everyday. I give this novel 3 cherries.

Love Means…No Boundaries by Andrew Grey

Love Means…No Boundaries by Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (218 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Phlox

Joey Sutherland has found a home with Geoff Laughton and his partner, Eli, living and working at the farm that has become a refuge after a motorcycle accident left him with a scarred face and a lot of insecurities. When Geoff’s aunt Mari convinces them to take in a musician from the National Youth Symphony, Joey is reluctantly roped into picking him up, already anticipating the disgust he’ll see on the man’s face.

But Robert Edward Jameson surprises him: he’s outgoing and friendly, he’s willing to try just about anything around the farm, and he’s blind, which goes a long way toward easing Joey’s nerves.

Joey and Robbie become inseparable and discover the beginnings of love. But summer is coming to an end, and Robbie will return to his home in Mississippi, where his family and servants see to everything he could want or need. Joey can only hope Robbie will take a chance on love and escape the boundaries that have shaped his sightless life.

This is one of the most satisfying romances I’ve read all year. To understand the impact of that statement, you have to understand that Contemporary romance is not what I gravitate towards, and that the ones I do read need to have some high drama to hold my interest. Danger, suspicion, gunfire, hospitals – that’s what I’m normally looking for. No Boundaries has none of that, with the only hints of violence the motorcycle accident at the very beginning, and yet, it held my attention with ease. The trauma is all internal, bumping against the emotional barriers built by these two young men, Robbie due to his loss of sight and Joey because of what he feels are disfiguring scars from his accident.

So what is it that drives the story so successfully? This is a tightly woven plot with few distractions, the scenes all leading towards that one question: will they or won’t they find a way to be together?

We know, almost immediately, that Robbie and Joey need each other. Each shores up the other’s confidence, provides the nonjudgmental encouragement the other needs, and drives the other to distraction. It’s not their physical differences that cause an issue for them; it’s the vast difference in their backgrounds and budding careers. They have their flaws, of course, or they would be deadly boring as characters, but they’re both so caring and good-hearted, you can’t help but fall in love with them. Their sex scenes are heated explorations of mutual fulfillment rather than the battleground one so often gets in romance.

I noticed some editing issues with this story, and this, for me, was really the only fly in the ointment. There are spots, especially where punctuation is misplaced, that I had to go back and carefully reconstruct what should have been there to understand what was said or done, causing unnecessary distraction in an otherwise completely engaging story.

There’s a sweetness in No Boundaries without being cloying, an innocence in matters of the heart that has nothing to do with being too young. This is a story I will return to simply because the heroes tugged at my heart so insistently. As a side note: this is the third in Mr. Grey’s Love Means… stories, but it stands quite well on its own.

Enter Sandman by Leigh Ellwood

Enter Sandman by Leigh Ellwood
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Paranormal, Contemp
Length: Short story (23 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 3 cherries
Review by: Cactus

Struck by insomnia, Len Crocker is desparate to try anything to get to sleep, even obtain the services of a mysterious living god, and probable huckster, known simply as The Sandman.

When the object of Len's desires, Andrew Gibbons, springs for the nighttime session, Len is amazed by The Sandman's effectiveness...and pleasantly surprised with what he finds in his bed the next morning.

Len’s insomnia may end up being the best thing to happen to him. Working night and day to save his company leaves Len with a nasty case of insomnia. But there’s hope on the horizon when his gorgeous crush says he may know someone who can help. When the mysterious Crane shows up with his oils and massage therapy, Len’s not sure what to think but the answer is even more paranormal than Crane is.

This clever and quick story offers a fun premise and some hot sex with a dash of paranormal intrigue. The story is only 23 pages, containing at least one sex scene with a lot of tension buildup. The sexual pairing is Len and his gorgeous crush Gibb but the mysterious Sandman, Crane, has a big part to play. Crane also is the catch at the end, leaving the theme hanging with the possibility of future sequels. This bit of paranormal mystery is entertaining and interesting, really making me want to see where the author goes with this.

Since the story is so short it’s hard to develop much more than an interest in the characters. Len and Gibb are decent and have a hot sex scene, but I found the curious Crane to really steal the show. Of course paranormal spooky men are going to shine in brief scenes so if nothing else the story does the job of sucking you in and wanting more.

If you’re looking for something hot, quick, and interesting for a fast summer read, check this out. The paranormal aspect is well done so it should please fans of that genre as well as others looking for a short bite.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spanish Heat by Milaya Marks

Spanish Heat by Milaya Marks
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Length: Short Story (48 pgs)
Genre: Contemporary
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Bittersweet

Eager to end her dry spell, sexually deprived Serena Ryan craves fun in the sun with an anonymous hottie. Her first overseas assignment--write a guidebook on the balmy Canary Islands--supplies the heat and the opportunity. An afternoon of steamy sex with a virile stranger takes the edge off until she discovers he is none other than hotelier Antonio Delgado. Her hopes of an uncomplicated fling go up in smoke as their passion rises, along with the Spanish Heat.

Spanish Heat honors its name both in a highly sexual way and in regard to the temperature and the 40 degree Celsius the Spaniards usually get during the summer months. It burned hot, hot, hot and definitely got the blood pumping.

However, I did find the story lacking in certain aspects. It was a bit strange to discover that someone as gorgeous, forward and outgoing as the main character had no sexual relationships for a whole year. Then, though Ms. Marks tries to convey that the characters have somehow fallen in love, she doesn’t quite make it. Most of the time, their encounters don’t pass as more than a good roll in the hay.

Finally, as someone that’s living in Spain, I’d ask the author to watch her expressions more carefully. Seventy-year-old Spaniards might use expressions like “Madre de Dios” or “Cristo”, but today, those expressions are outdated. The fact that the hero, Antonio, uses them so much makes him seem overly religious. Most Spaniards now days would use things like “joder” or simply “Dios”.

But not all was bad in Spanish Heat! The story is absolutley engrossing and therefore rapidly read because you have to find out what happens next. The characters are engaging and interesting to read about. It feels as though anyone can have an adventure like theirs, or at least wish to (I know I did). The sexual depictions are fantastic and oh-so descriptive. Particularly, I found that the masturbation scene was quite intense.

Spanish Heat is a quick read for anyone looking for a sizzling escape from their daily activities.

Pale Fire by Penny Ash

Pale Fire by Penny Ash
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (143 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Ambrosia

On a forced medical leave from his job with the CIA Sasha heads for Las Vegas for a little R and R. As a long time abductee Cath is thrilled to be speaking at the UFO Believers convention in Las Vegas.

They've been abducted together since they were children and the last thing either expects is to meet the other. When they wake up the next morning after their chance encounter they're married and the government is not pleased. They were never supposed to meet outside the Experiment, never supposed to know about each other or the hybrid children.

Now General Nathaniel is after them and he'll stop at nothing to protect his dream of a super army. Escape from Nathaniel and his forces isn't certain but Sasha and Cath won't give up the love they've found without a fight.

Abducted by aliens, stuck in between secret government projects, and forced to have children without knowing it, two people are brought together by fate. Suddenly no matter where they turn, danger lurks as they realize that they have been guinea pigs for research since childhood. This tale takes you from one world to the next where conspiracy leaves them no place to run.

Sasha Ivanov Taylor, an ex-operative for the Central Intelligence Agency, heads to Las Vegas for a break from stress. There, he meets the woman of his dreams, literally, and gets her rip-roaring drunk. Somehow she’s familiar, yet she feels she knows him too. They become entangled in passion, along with a danger so deep it seems hopeless that they’ll survive.

Catherine Gail Madison wakes up to find herself married to a man she had a few drinks with while waiting for her fiancé to finish gambling in the casino. ‘Cath’ is drawn to the hunky man on a level she doesn’t understand but feels she must tell her boyfriend what happened. She’s a UFO nut who loves going to conferences and the man is speaking that day. The next thing she knows, she’s being kidnapped and taken to an experimental laboratory but Sasha comes to the rescue.

Aliens introduce Sasha and Cath to their children, providing an excellent and positive viewpoint on humans meeting otherworld species rather than making them the bad guys. This is a refreshing viewpoint.

The only thing about this unique tale that lacked was an erotic element. The book should have been in a mainstream romance category instead.

Aside from that, it was a great plot and well done. The very clever author, Penny Ash will go far with her career with such a creative imagination. This book absolutley deserves 4 Cherries.

A Little Tied Up by Karenna Colcroft

A Little Tied Up by Karenna Colcroft
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (25 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking, Fetish
Rating: 3 Cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Nolie is happy in her marriage to Joseph, but things have become a bit stale in the bedroom. When Joseph suggests role-playing, Nolie is skeptical at first, but then agrees, expecting an exciting time. What she doesn’t expect is how much she’ll learn about herself and her marriage through the experience.

She’s got a fantasy to be kidnapped and taken advantage of. He wants to spice up their love life. When he takes things into his own hands, she finds herself A Little Tied Up.

The concept of a controlled kidnapping for fetish purposes piqued my interest. I wanted to see how the author took this subject, which can be controversial, and made it her own. Ms. Colcroft, this one is indeed original. There were times I felt like I was there with Nolie, my heart pounding wondering if the kidnapper would go a step too far.

I liked the idea that Nolie and Joseph wanted to try something new. Many couples have those times when it seems like the spark is dim or completely out. I could relate to their irritation. Time to get that zing back. I wasn’t totally in favor of their methods, but it wasn’t enough to deter me from the story.

Joseph coming into his own was exciting. She’d pegged him as a bit boring. I liked seeing them both find things out about each other that they never expected. The scenes in the hotel room were indeed hot. I wanted to feel more passion between them and less acting, but it worked for the scenario.

If you want a story that’s a little left of center and totally hot, then you need to read A Little Tied Up. I give this one 3 cherries.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Timing by Mary Calmes

Timing by Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (200 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Stefan Joss just can't win. Not only does he have to go to Texas in the middle of summer to be the man of honor in his best friend Charlotte's wedding, but he's expected to negotiate a million-dollar business deal at the same time. Worst of all, he’s thrown for a loop when he arrives to see the one man Charlotte promised wouldn’t be there: her brother, Rand Holloway.

Stefan and Rand have been mortal enemies since the day they met, so Stefan is shocked when a temporary cease-fire sees the usual hostility replaced by instant chemistry. Though leery of the unexpected feelings, Stefan is swayed by a sincere revelation from Rand, and he decides to give Rand a chance.

Stefan had no idea that being his best friend’s “man of honor” would involve crazy women, threatening bosses, and one irresistible cowboy. Stefan thought he’d be able to attend Charlotte’s wedding, stand by her, and make a dignified exit. All of that is tossed upside down when business is tacked onto the trip and Stefan starts to butt heads with Charlotte’s stubborn but gorgeous brother Rand. With Rand impossible to ignore, Stefan is juggling just a few too many things to handle.

Timing is pretty typical for Mary Calmes. It has an over the top main character, totally perfect in all ways, a zany, action-filled plot and lots of hot sex. These books are pure fantasy escapism that will entertain you from the moment you start. The plot is very light and plays into a lot of wedding fiascos, mishaps, and typical stresses. Stefan is the sole mediating voice as he glides through problems, solving them with a flick of his perfectly groomed hand. There is not a person alive that dislikes Stefan and his mere presence sends the bridesmaids into a fit clinging to him.

Stefan only has eyes for Rand though and their chemistry is white hot. Beyond the pretty steamy sex scenes, Rand is a stereotypical cowboy with sexy chaps, hat, and possessive streak. All the characters stay within typical tropes and often are incredibly exaggerated. From Charlotte who loves Stefan almost more than her own fiancé to the various secondary characters all basking in Stefan’s warm glow and attention, each exists to keep the story fast and easy while reinforcing how handsome and likable Stefan is. Most of the scenes are fun loving from friends chatting and teasing to the zany wedding. There is a mystery subplot – someone out to kill Stefan – but this is minor and just meant to add a bit of flash and tension.

Overall this is a fun, light-hearted read perfect for a summer day at the beach. It’s entertaining and interesting enough to keep your attention but you can put it down and forget it once you’re done. As a fan of beach reads, I can recommend Timing for that lazy sunny day.

A Proper Seduction by HelenKay Dimon

A Proper Seduction by HelenKay Dimon
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (48 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Don’t get even. Get everything…

Even before her bad marriage ended, Lauren MacDonald lost everything—her job, her friends, her self-esteem, and her sexual appetite. Now that she’s finally free, she’s struggling to regain control of a life her ex did his best to destroy.

The plan: sex with Justin Scott, her ex’s business partner. The man her husband invited into their marital bed, forcing her to realize it was time to get out. Justin was the star of the fantasies that helped her endure her marriage, so she can’t deny she wanted him—but not like that. She wants him like this—alone. In her bed. For exactly three nights.

Justin screwed up with Lauren, and in the past she’s made no secret of the fact she loathes him. So when she walks into his office flashing miles of long, lean legs, his brain cells misfire. Three nights of meaningless sex? He’s all over it. Not only does he have the chance to unleash his desire for her, it’s the opening he’s been waiting for—to convince her to give him more.

A story to stick with you long after the last page.

I love stories where the heroine and hero are pushed out of their comfort zones. A Proper Seduction is one of those stories. I also loved the subtext to this tale. The characters are relatable. Lauren married a cretin and lost her identity because of his shady actions. Justin added to her frustration, but he never gave up on loving her. The emotional stress between them is striking. I very much wanted to see them do more than give into their physical needs, but I totally understood why they acted as they did.

Lauren is a wounded woman. Gavin shredded her spirit by making her take part in voyeuristic sex with another man. She gave up her everything to be the dutiful wife to him. I liked that she was relatable. How many women go into a relationship and sacrifice everything for the man? Lots.

Justin is a well developed character. He knows he loves Lauren, but because of his past interactions with Gavin, he’s blacklisted. The means by which he goes to prove his true emotions are passionate and easy to understand. I wanted to see them get together on an emotional level faster. The ending was great and not what I expected.

If you want a hot, hot, hot story, then you need to read A Proper Seduction. I give this book 4 cherries.

Wasteland: The Whore by Lilli Feisty

Wasteland: The Whore by Lilli Feisty
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (62 pgs)
Other: M/M, M/F/M, Ménage, BDSM, Spanking, Anal Sex, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Her quest for freedom plunges her into dangerous waters…of desire.

Wasteland, Book 3

Bryn is a “Rose”, but her life is no garden. A stolen child, prostitution is the only life she’s ever known—except on the nights she sneaks out in stolen men’s clothing to explore the city. A tiny taste of freedom that makes her long for a life outside sexual servitude, at the mercy of any man who can pay.

Xander remembers no other home except his pirate ship, smuggling weapons or anything else for a fee. He’s been happy with his life and his lover, Hawke…until he rescues who he thinks is a young man from robbers.

Figuring she can blend in with the crew, Bryn jumps at the chance to escape the Brothel. Then she discovers Xander and Hawke have a taste for pretty boys—and that she has a taste for them. In their arms, she embraces their incredible gift: control of her own sexuality.

Though women are considered bad luck at sea, Xander isn’t of a mind to give her up. Yet the time is drawing near when the ship must return to Wasteland to resupply. And what awaits them there is a danger that could tear them apart.

A massive solar storm, and the radiation is generates, brings life on Earth as we know it to a screeching halt. Those that emerge in the aftermath are survivors who must learn to deal with conditions in the Wasteland. More men than women survived, but the women who did are strong and determined, and fall into four distinct categories: Wanderers, Whores, Breeders and Priestesses.

In this future Wasteland, the only sure way to protect the young women is to sell them to brothels to be raised and trained as Whores, called Roses. As a Rose, a woman is ensured a safe life of reasonable luxury, albeit one of servitude and restriction.

Bryn was stolen as a child, and hates her life as a Rose and finds ways to make it less onerous. When she escapes the brothel disguised as a boy, intent only on visiting the city shops for more of the cinnamon-clove arre’tes (similar to cigarettes) that make her job more palatable, she gets much more than she bargains for. Attacked by young toughs intent on stealing the earbob she wears to hide the proof of what she is, she is rescued by two pirates: Captain Xander and Hawke, who mistake her for a boy, and invite her to join their crew. The decision she makes will change her life. Will Bryn join Xander and Hawke as they sail off to uncharted places? Can Xander and Hawke escape the retribution of Viven, and keep Bryn safe too? Will Bryn discover her hidden strength and find the freedom she so desires?

Bryn is an interesting mix. A young woman trained to be a Whore, she despises the men who come to use her, and longs for a freedom she knows she can never experience. She is strong and determined, and finds little ways to make her position more comfortable for herself. And she is smart, and loyal to her friends. I like that she keeps her sense of self, and finds the little things necessary to make life acceptable. She doesn’t realize at first what she is accepting with Xander and Hawke, but with them she finds her true sensuous nature. Xander and Hawke are a couple, and it is through observing them together that Bryn finds the strength and power of sex, when it is given freely and for mutual pleasure.

I love the relationship that develops between the three of them, as they sail on through the ocean seeking an escape from the evil pirate Viven. And I also loved the ironic twists and turns that pop up in this one. I recommend this one for the sheer sensuous nature of the story, and for the delicious spanking scene on the pirate ship that will curl your toes. Bring the ice, and keep the fan on high.

Nocked Senseless by Sam Cheever

Nocked Senseless (Book 3 in the Gods of Love series) by Sam Cheever
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (115 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Fetish
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint

Hermes Adonis has a broken heart and an attitude problem. When the Fates send him on a forced sabbatical from Cupid’s Arrow, he’s not a happy Cupid. Hermes spends his days sucking Brimstone and anticipating his total destruction. But when a dark-haired beauty throws him to the ground and puts a knife to his throat, he feels an unexpected spark in his dead heart.

Nidras is a cursed demon princess. She’s pretty tapped out just trying to kill the wizard who holds her curse. The last thing she needs is a man, especially one whose sexy head is fuzzy from sucking Brimstone all day. But Hermes is funny and determined, and Nidras is lonely and scared. And when they get together in a room, the heat they create nearly melts the paint from the walls.

This story was suffused with mythological creatures. From wizards, Greek gods, Gremlins, Demons and more you never knew what mythological creature would show up next.

The main characters in this story were definitely unique from the average heroine and hero. Nidras was a strong independent woman and dared anyone to get in her way. It showed me the author’s ability to see the modern woman. Many women no longer depend on anyone but themselves nowadays and that was clearly what the author wanted for Nidras. The thing I didn’t like was that the author made Hermes such a weak character. The man was near death constantly because he could not defend himself. Also he allowed Nidras to walk all over him and not only accepted it, but it seemed like he was asking for more.

The plot of this story was very action-packed. Nidras and Hermes had to constantly fight their enemies and struggle to stay alive. These numerous twists and turns really helped keep their relationship exciting. After so many near-death experiences they always need to come together and unwind. And who doesn’t like to watch two people unwind in all sorts of positions.

The writing style of this story sometimes left me unsatisfied, especially the fact that some scenes seemed repetitive. At a few points I questioned if the author made a mistake and accidentally included the same scene twice, but then it would have a slight difference, so you would know it was meant to be in the story.

The antagonist conflict was one of the best aspects of this story. The battles between Nidras and Hermes and the wizard were epic. It really added a lot of excitement to the story. Plus the wizard has so much magic and creatures at his disposal you couldn’t wait to see what he would pull out next.

All in all, this was a fun and exciting story that I enjoyed reading. I give it 3 cherries.