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Friday, July 23, 2010

Gomorrah: Bonded by Elizabeth Jewell

Gomorrah: Bonded by Elizabeth Jewell
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (34 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, Voyeurism, Forced Seduction
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Ian has wondered about Gomorrah, the seedy bar/sex club downtown, for years. Now that he's single again, he decides to check it out. It can't be that bad, can it? And surely all those rumors about vampires are bunk.

Nick's a bouncer at Gomorrah, and when he sees Ian, he sees fresh meat. Or fresh blood, as the vampire patrons of the club will think. Trying to protect the younger man, Nick instead finds himself in a bit of a pickle involving the head of the local cadre, and the only way out is to get a lot closer to Ian than he ever intended.

Sometimes trying to find the thing you want can be the worst possible decision — when vampires are involved. But that doesn’t mean it’s all bad — in the case of Ian and Nick, it’s really good.

I like stories that take plot twists I didn’t expect. This is one of those tales. Elizabeth Jewell creates a situation where an emotionally wounded man finds not only a second chance, but the love of more than a lifetime. I felt like I was really there in the club with Ian and Nick. I only wish there’d been a bit more description. But I realize that this is a short story and there is only so much room for scene and world building. Still, it wasn’t enough to deter me from reading further.

I liked Ian. He had emotional baggage and wasn’t sure if he was ready to love or be loved again. The reasons were valid and realistic which added to the story. I wanted to see him get what he deserved — someone to care about him. I could also appreciate his trepidation. He’d gotten in over his head and the reader can identify with him because who hasn’t made a decision and then realized maybe it wasn’t the right one?

Nick is a bit of an enigma. I wanted to get into his head more and find out what made him tick. Being that this story is told from Ian’s point of view, I wasn’t totally sure how attracted Nick even was to him or if it was a sense of taking care of him. But I loved how things came together at the end and I appreciated the decisions made. The story became more forceful and enjoyable.

If you want a story with a twist of kink and a whole lot of soul, then you need to read Gomorrah: Bonded. I give this story 4 cherries.

Moving Target by Rosalie Stanton

Moving Target by Rosalie Stanton
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (47 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

An innocent woman. An assassin with a conscience. A deadly attraction.

Although Anna Winter doesn’t fit the profile, Nathanial ‘Wolf' Thornton can’t be sure she isn’t the woman he’s supposed to assassinate without getting a closer look.

Once he discovers his cover’s been blown, his options are limited: walk away or watch an innocent woman suffer the consequences.

A slave to his conscience, Wolf decides to take Anna along for the ride of her life…all the while battling his desire for her.

He’s supposed to kill her. Now, he’s found her and she’s no longer hiding.

What’s a girl to do when she’s a Moving Target.

This book piqued my interest because I love a good action story. Hitmen, suspects, women in distress; I eat that stuff up. Moving Target has plenty of action and suspense. From page one, the tension never lifts. The characters are interesting and the plot complex.

Nathan “Wolf” Thornton has been hired to eliminate Anna Winters. He’s strong in his convictions to do as he’s told, but he’s not all he seems. I liked his complexity and the way he grew and changed through the story. He’s got ghosts in his past that have changed his ways of seeing the world. When the story started, I wasn’t sure I cared for his character in that he came across as a horny guy, but he was more than the façade. I liked the less angry, yet very deadly version of Nate much better.

Anna, on the other hand, confused me at times. She’s running because she heard something very bad for her health. I liked her sense of self preservation. But she came across as a bit... weak in spots — she’s not experienced in love and love-making, but with him it’s perfect. She’s very much attracted to Nate, but his job makes it hard to love him. I liked the conundrum she’s stuck with.

The one thing that was a bit of a stumbling block was the constant point of view switch. I liked that I saw into both Nate and Anna’s heads but I almost wanted to stay with one or the other a bit longer. Still, it wasn’t enough to really derail the story.

If you want a book that’s packed with action and heart, then you need to read Moving Target. I give it 3 cherries.

Velvet Cataclysm by Beth Kery

Velvet Cataclysm by Beth Kery
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (170 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cholla

In his battle to resist, he found the impossible. His soul.

Princes of the Underground, Book 1

Christina Astor’s telepathic ability is an asset in her job as a psychiatric social worker. What’s driving her crazy, though, is her elusive, gorgeous landlord. She senses that Saint Sevliss wants her with an all-consuming hunger that’s somehow…different. Just how different becomes all too clear when his dangerous world collides with hers.

For centuries, Saint’s kind have been called vampire and werewolf. Even soulless. But their true nature remains a mystery. Bound by a magical mandate to control his bloodthirsty clone, Teslar, at all costs, Saint will do anything to keep Christina away. She infuses his gray universe with life and color, but his world—and his need—would destroy her.

When an attack reveals the true power of Christina’s gift, one thing is certain—Teslar won’t rest in his underground labyrinth until he possesses her, body and soul…

A woman gifted with telepathy. A vampire without a soul. A murdering clone with all the abilities of the vampire and none of the restraint. Christina Astor’s world is about to be turned upside-down, and not in a good way. Faced with confronting the man she’s come to love, protecting herself and her son, and doing what needs to be done no matter what, she’s on a journey to learn more than she thought could ever be taught.

Saint is a fascinating character. In a lot of ways, he’s your typical vampire – he can shift form, he feeds off the life essence of other humans, and he’s quite scary when he has a mind to be. However, he has two things that most vampires don’t – restraint and a conscience. The contrast between his controlled side and his wild side makes for a very complicated and interesting character. His vow to protect and cherish Christina and her son, is a touching addition to an already complex man. I can’t say that he’d be the man of my dreams, as he has way too much baggage, but he would certainly be one I’d want on my side.

Christina appears ordinary on the outside, however she has a secret of her own lurking deep within. I wasn’t sure what to think when I discovered she had a telepathic ability, but found it a refreshing and accurate choice of abilities when I discovered she was a social worker. Can you even imagine how useful this ability would be in real life situations? I also liked the fact that she didn’t use it to pry – only to ‘feel out’ her wards and get to the bottom of their personal situations so she could help them out. Stina was a very warm and mothering character and this occupation suited her well.

Together, Saint and Christina make a dynamic pair. Seemingly so very different, at a second glance they both balance and ignite the other. She soothes and calms his primal side while he brings out the wild in her. They are a realistic and enjoyable couple, fighting over what means the most to them and not willing to back down until they reach a reasonable understanding. In addition, they work well together and certainly get business done!

An action packed erotic adventure, Velvet Cataclysm is bound to entice any lover of the paranormal. With two very strong leading characters, an awesome bad guy, and one major twist I hadn’t seen coming, you’ll be sure to talk about this one for awhile to come.

Jacob's Ladder : St. Nacho's 3 by ZA Maxfield

Jacob's Ladder : St. Nacho's 3 by ZA Maxfield
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (165 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Jacob “Yasha”” Livingston is having a bad day. First there is the head cold. Then the orgy, the fight, and the hospital. Between that and the bus driver who ejects him -- after accusing him of transmitting the Swine Flu -- the rest of his day seems fairly vague. Now he's stuck in a small town called Santo Ignacio and he has a whole lot of thinking to do.

One thing is, when fate speaks in the form of an EMT, maybe it’s time to listen. One man in particular, EMT Jason “JT” Lents, with his shy smile and jade green eyes, seems more like an angel than a paramedic. But Jason has a date with a newer, prettier girl every night, despite the fact that he seems to return Yasha’s interest.

What will make JT happy? If JT is afraid of his feelings it might be Yasha’s chance to heal the healer. For this couple to find their way, it’s up to Jacob, his new friends, and the magic of St. Nacho’s.

When opposites attract, enough sparks fly to start a fire.

Yasha’s having a pretty horrible day. He’s sick, walked in on his boyfriend having an orgy, then got beat up by said boyfriend in a roid rage. Then while trying to get out of town, Yasha’s thrown off the greyhound bus out of swine flu fear. Could his day get any worse? Thankfully a hunky EMT named JT takes an active interest in Yasha’s life but between JT’s religion and his closeted sexuality, life has taken an even more complicated turn for the pastry chef.

This return to the world of St. Nacho’s is a warm comfort for fans. One of the best aspects about the book is that the story can easily be read as a stand-alone for those readers not familiar with the fabulous series. If you haven’t started this trio of books, do so now! But you can also start with Jacob’s Ladder and work your way back as well so there’s no reason to skip this truly entertaining story.

The plot revolves around JT and Yasha’s relationship as they dance around each other. JT is very religious and deeply closeted so his actions are a push and pull of conflicted desire. JT wants Yasha badly but falls into the predictable behavior of visiting Yasha at night while parading women around during the day. This isn’t likely to win many fans for JT but he does redeem himself rather well towards the end.

The characters are as always multi-faceted and wonderful creations. The entire St. Nacho’s series, and this offering in particular, are well written and offer different issues handled deftly with a skill the author is known for. Here the issue of domestic violence is highlighted, not only through Yasha’s experiences, but also showing a group of strong, independent women surviving and thriving after their horrors. Yasha learns from these women and becomes a better man for their acquaintance. His romance with JT is almost a backseat to the great setting, rich descriptions, and wonderful secondary characters. Small glimpses into past couples will please fans while not confusing any newcomers.

As a fan of the author, I’m happy to say Jacob’s Ladder delivers and appeals on all levels. There is romance, conflict, hot sex, tension, and a delicious thread for the next novel. This series offers something comforting, sexy, and purely entertaining. You can’t help but sink into the atmosphere and enjoy the ride with these gorgeous men as they figure out life, love, and everything in between. I easily recommend this for both newcomers and fans alike.

The Panther’s Lair by Esmerelda Bishop

The Panther’s Lair by Esmerelda Bishop
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (47pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking, fetish, anal play, masturbation
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Men are only good for one thing.

Sydney Chase may have sworn off relationships—but she still has needs. So she heads to the Panther's Lair in search of sex: no strings, no emotions. The club owner, dark, mysterious Raimond Decoudreau, is exactly what she's looking for—his French accent alone makes her hot. Fortunately, his mouth has other sinful talents, as well...

After just one night with Sydney, Raimond knows she's his. And when the time is right, when she loves him in return, he'll reveal his deepest secret. For now, he'll enjoy pleasuring her in the most intimate of ways.

But when Sydney's life is threatened, Raimond's instincts take control, and she gets a glimpse at the beast within...

Danger lies in the strangest places. So does pleasure. But only if you enter into The Panther’s Lair. Enter at your own risk.

This is my first book by Esmerelda Bishop, but doggone it was hot. Whew. I felt like I was right there with Syd and Rai and I loved every minute. For a little story, there is a lot going on. This is one book, I read, but reread to make sure I hadn’t missed something.

Sydney is a damaged woman. She wants meaningless sex to prove she’s not broken or incapable of having a good time. She wants to prove she can be with a man without getting her heart involved. I liked the idea. She’s trying to get past her past and her crazy ex-boyfriend. Noble thought. My only issue with her was her wishy-washy nature at times. She wants to love, but she’s not sure. Fine, but make a decision.

Raimond is interesting. He’s a shifter who doesn’t want to reveal his talents. I liked the concept of not showing his cards too early. It’s not unique, but Ms. Bishop writes it in a fresh way that made me want to keep reading. And I liked Rai’s overtly alpha tendencies. He’s not backing down to anyone. Still, there were times when I thought he gave into his fear a bit more than necessary.

Even then, it wasn’t enough to hinder the story. I enjoyed reading about Rai and Syd and wanted to know what was going on with Syd’s brother and best friend.

If you want a white hot story that will leave you wriggling in your seat and begging for more, then you need to read The Panther’s Lair. I give this book 3.5 cherries.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sweet Heat by Jan Springer

Sweet Heat by Jan Springer
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemp
Length: Short Story (77 pgs)
Other: M/F/M, menage, anal sex
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Ambrosia

Running from an arranged marriage, Juliette Dárques hides within Vampira, a secret clique of female vampires who live among humans and have sworn off sex with males. Julie thought she was safe until scorching dreams leave her craving every hot, pulsing inch of the twin vamps newly hired at the factory she owns. Every night they set her fangs on fire, sandwiching her between their strong, naked bodies, whisking her into a world of forbidden ecstasy.

Caleb and Zander Davenport have always shared a magnificent brotherly bond, which includes the need to share their females. Lately, they’ve been hungering for Julie…and plan on seducing her out of her dreams and into their arms.

Dreams do come true! When a female vampire runs from her family in the early 1900’s to escape an arranged marriage to two male vampires, she can only run so far. In modern day they find her and sweeten the pot by joining her at night with erotic dreams that drive her to distraction.

Juliette doesn’t want to be like every traditional female in her family and flees the night before her dual wedding to join a coven of females called the Vampira. The elite group of women are sworn to protect each other from similar forced unions and hide their members using drugs to make them seem human and mask their blood scent. The only thing they must promise: no sex with males. Julie has no idea of the cost involved when coming face to face with her chosen mates, no matter how long it’s been since they connected.

Caleb and Zander Davenport are brothers who share a bond not many do. They are linked in their minds, not only to each other, but to Juliette since the moment they saw her as a baby. The problem is they have no idea where to find their runaway bride until they stumble across her in America a hundred years later.

Worth every calorie, I swear! The tale is sweet and makes you drool like a kid in a candy shop. Each dream the heroine has is more intense than the last as the well-woven words entrance you until you squirm in your seat…or bed. I highly recommend this story for a quick, tasty read but don’t forget to bring a box of chocolates…and a bib. You’ll need them.

This story deserves every one of its five cherries.

Lost and Found by Gwenna Sebastian

Lost and Found by Gwenna Sebastian
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (77 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Sometimes even a hero needs someone to save him.

Mark Connor doesn't feel like a hero even though he served two tours in Vietnam and survived a vicious ambush that took the lives of all but a handful of men. But he lost his best friend and lover, and now he refuses to be close to anyone. That makes his instant attraction to Josh a real problem.

Josh Myers hires on with Mark to help him with a remodeling job. A survivor himself of a Beirut bombing, he embraces life with open arms. But he can't get his new flame to take an interest in love, in life, or in himself.

Alone in the northern Outer Banks in January, Mark clings desperately to his past, even as Josh offers him a future he doesn't think he deserves.

Can an old dog really learn new tricks? Mark Connor is a Vietnam vet that has been stuck in a time warp. Since he managed to survive a horrific attack but lose his closest friends, not to mention his best friend and lover, Mark hasn’t quite ever recovered. When an isolated remodeling job brings outgoing Josh into Mark’s world, Mark is shocked into reconsidering his life. He just may be able to change this late in life but no one said it’d be easy.

This is one of those stories that is moving, emotional, and beautifully told even if it doesn’t always ring true. In some ways the characters presented are so authentic and real, there is no doubt they exist. These aren’t just made up men with easy to solve issues. Even so, this makes a romance somewhat of a difficult sell but one worth buying into for the space of this absorbing tale. Here Mark is in his 50s but he’s never recovered from his time in Vietnam. He still experiences flashbacks and nightmares, even going so far as to have been celibate his entire life once he returned from the jungle. These aspects push the envelope somewhat because again, there is no doubt this type of person exists, but Mark is so embittered, angry, and dysfunctional that it’s hard to believe he actually changes as much as the book suggests.

However much this may require a stretch of the imagination, the writing really draws you in and makes you want Mark to change and have his happy ending. The angry alcoholic tests readers’ patience and understanding but Josh’s delightful easy-going manner and open sex appeal are a welcome contrast. Here the sparks fly immediately, yet a well-crafted tension keeps readers absorbed and anxious to know what happens. The sex scenes are incredibly hot, even more so since they are mostly fantasies of what both men want, which makes the scenes incredibly enticing.

While Lost and Found may hit a few speed bumps, it’s such a moving and engaging read that I whole heartedly recommend it. There’s even rumor of a sequel so be sure to pick this one up as soon as possible so you can be ready for the sequel. I personally can’t wait to see where these men go and for an author’s first outing, I’m pretty impressed.

News at Eleven by Jack Greene

News at Eleven by Jack Greene
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (21 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Jordan is the anchorman of the first newscast aimed at the GBLT audience. He's out and proud of it, and he's used to getting exactly what he wants. When he sets his sights on the station manager, tall dark and handsome Alexander, he might get more than he bargained for.

So right, but so wrong...

Who knew the news would be so...yummy? It is when it’s the News at Eleven. Jack Greene writes stories about real people that are relevant to the reader.

An anchorman and the boss? Sounds like it shouldn’t work. It can’t because one’s the boss, right? I love how Jack Green puts people together in situations that are risqué, but it works. I felt like I was right there with Jordan and Alexander. There’s a passion burning between them that they don’t want to acknowledge, but it’s there.

At first, I wasn’t keen on Jordan. He came across as a bit needy and pouty. But that said, he was realistic. He had definite diva qualities, but as the story evolved, so did he. I came to like him more when I got to know him better and it made the story stronger.

Alexander was a tad confusing as well. I first thought he was a camera man and then the boss. Either way, I liked his character because he wanted to resist, wanted to not get involved with Jordan. I loved that he was alpha all the way and a compliment to Jordan’s temperamental qualities. The internal struggle Alexander dealt with is something lots of people can relate to — follow your heart or let your career win.

When they get together, the heat burns bright between Jordan and Alexander. The scene on the desk had me checking my laptop for singe marks. Yeah, these were two guys I wanted to see make it in the long run.

If you want a fun story that’s a breezy read for a summer afternoon, then you need to read News at Eleven. I give it 4 cherries.

Texas Tangle by Leah Braemel

Texas Tangle by Leah Braemel
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (196 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, anal sex, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Thanks to her cheating ex-husband and her thieving brother, all horse breeder Nikki Kimball has left is a bruised heart, an overdrawn bank account and an empty home. When sex-on-legs Dillon Barnett and his brooding foster-brother Brett Anderson start showing more than just neighborly attention, Nikki is intrigued...and a little gun-shy.

Dillon and Brett have a history; back in high school, the two friends fought a bitter battle over Nikki. Now, ten years later, Brett still longs to be the man in Nikki's life, but he's determined to stand back and let Dillon win Nikki's heart.

Society says Nikki must choose between the two men she loves. Is Nikki strong enough to break all the rules in order to find happiness?

Wanted by two men when society says only one can have you... what do you do? Find yourself in a Texas Tangle.

I love a book with a sassy, saucy heroine. Texas Tangle delivers the goods. Leah Braemel’s storytelling drew me in from page one and kept me riveted in my seat until the last word. I felt like I was right there with Brett, Dillon, and Nikki. It was like I was reading about my dear friends and going through the struggles with them.

Nikki is a great heroine. She’s been through hell, but she manages to come out on the other side with grace and pluck. Yes, there are times when she could succumb to the ‘woe is me’ feelings, but she doesn’t totally. I liked that she was willing to admit what her heart wanted, even when she wasn’t in complete agreement.

Dillon and Brett are forces to reckon with. Both have magnetic personalities and both could be the one she needs. I liked the care they showed to help her believe in human-kind once again. I also liked the humility both exerted when it came to letting Nikki decide who she wanted to love.

I closed this book, having laughed, cried, sighed and smiled. Plus the three of them together is really hot. I had to check the screen for singe marks. If you want a story that will stick with you long after the last page, then you need to read Texas Tangle. I give it 4 cherries.

Lotus in the Wild by Fae Sutherland and Marguerite Labbe

Lotus in the Wild by Fae Sutherland and Marguerite Labbe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (271 pgs)
Other: M/M, Spanking, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Phlox

Six months after freeing his slave Roman and his thrall Aron, Wulfgar finds himself bored with the choices of bed partners in his lands. Thus while on a twice-yearly trip to Londinium to replenish supplies, Wulfgar visits the local slave auction in hopes of finding something to pique his interest. His eye is caught by Kintaro, a beautiful, feminine slave boy from the Far East.

Enthralled, Wulfgar doesn’t care how much Kintaro costs; he’s got to have him. But Kintaro is a very different sort of slave from Roman. He loves his duties, is proud of his skills, and as the former prized slave of an official of his homeland, is used to being spoiled and pampered in return for his efforts.

Though oblivious to matters of the heart, Wulfgar is enamored of Kintaro, but his son Gaeric is furious that this new slave feeds his father’s unnatural desires. Wulfgar’s passion, Kintaro’s pride, and Gaeric’s temper will clash as a ritual from the past and a dream of the future come to fruition… and Wulfgar’s heart is finally fulfilled.

Finding one’s heart’s desire is difficult at the best of times; finding it in someone who is your opposite in every way except sexual drive poses extra challenges.

For everyone who was concerned about Wulgar’s happiness at the end of Bee Among the Clover, this sequel is welcome and necessary. While we have the classic rough-hewn Alpha paired with a beautiful submissive half his size, a pairing so familiar in M/M fiction, the reader is given so much more than the usual. This is a tale of reaching across vast cultural divides, of adaptation and compromise, and of a determined love that refuses to bend to societal expectations.

The historical aspects of the novel, as with the previous installment, are a large part of the novel’s strengths. Wulfgar is everything a thane of his time should be: hard, fierce, demanding, generous with those who serve him well, and protective of what is his. While Norse/Germanic cultures at the time didn’t exactly condone male/male relationships, they didn’t necessarily censure them either. The shame in Norse culture was not in the act but in being the one who was taken. No free man would allow another male to use him willingly and the act of male rape was sometimes used to humiliate the conquered. With that said, a man of Wulgar’s rank could certainly have male bed slaves if he chose, since it would be quite clear to everyone who was topping whom. That his only son doesn’t approve is a different matter, part jealousy and part anger at seeing his father, as Gaeric sees it, manipulated by his slaves.

Kintaro is one of the most charming characters I’ve ever come across. He’s a whole person, so unlike most subs in m/m stories. Proud and often vain, he glories in who he is and what he’s been trained to do. No simple sex slave, he has the body of a gymnast and a sharp mind, his training running parallel to a geisha’s rather than a mere bed toy with all of the aesthetic qualities of grace and cultured skills one would expect. Though he has lived a privileged, spoiled life, and some of the misunderstandings he has with Wulfgar due to language barriers and cultural expectations become epic battles of wills, he truly does want to please his handsome thane and only wants the best for him. His efforts to adapt, to adjust to his new surroundings and still remain himself are wonderful to watch and he slowly unfolds to the reader as a young man of deep feeling and a compassionate heart much larger than his small frame.

Because the immersion in history is so well done and because the struggle of cultural divide is so fascinating, I found myself disappointed in the ending. While I do understand that Wulfgar needs some closure and perhaps a little shove in the right direction, the way the ending is handled felt too contrived to me. Magical interference in a world full of very real dangers seemed unnecessary and a more believable resolution certainly should have been possible.

With that said, the closing scene is lovely and I found the story as a whole more enjoyable than the previous one. With sympathy and an intuitive feel for the times, the authors have breathed life into two of the most memorable characters in historical fiction. What could have been clichéd portrayals have been painted instead as fully realized people, each with their own strengths and blind spots. Wulgar needed someone just for him, someone to challenge him and force him to think beyond his comfortable, familiar world. I’m so glad he found him.

Never As It Seems by Shiloh Walker

Never As It Seems by Shiloh Walker
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (94 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Sweet Pea

Three years after he walked away and broke her heart, Leo is back in Chloe’s life and that’s the last place she wants him. Not that she has any choice in the matter. She’s in big trouble. She needs somebody to watch her back, and he’s the “somebody”.

Three years ago, Chloe dumped a bombshell in Leo’s lap. I’m psychic, she told him. As if he was supposed to believe that. His world is black and white, and he doesn’t buy into that mumbo-jumbo. Walking away from her damn near killed him, but he couldn’t be with somebody he couldn’t trust.

His new job? Keep Chloe safe. That’s it. He’s not supposed to touch her. He’s not supposed to make love to her. He’s not supposed to want her…need her…love her. But he can’t stop thinking about her, can’t stop dreaming about her. Now that she’s back in his life, he can’t keep his hands off her either.

The suspense in this book was great. The author had you wondering who was behind the curtain the whole time. Chloe is psychic and isn’t afraid of her gifts. Leo was in charge of her safety. Neither of them wanted to be back together. And each of them fought to keep the lust and love they felt to themselves.

Leo and Chloe were made for each other. And Shiloh Walker did an excellent job of adding depth to her characters. In a world that normally sees in black and white Chloe sees in shades of gray. She has psychic abilities, and the way she harnesses them is great. She never invades, only shares what she sees to try to help those around her. Leo is every woman’s fantasy. A man that can show love and not be ashamed by it. And a man who is not afraid to grovel when he needs too... gotta love it. They are both lovely characters that have very steamy chemistry together.

I recommend this read. It's easy to follow and quick and fun. The characters grab at you and take hold. If you're looking for a couple of hours of pure fun, then this is the book for you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Balance by Zahra Owens

Balance by Zahra Owens
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (65 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, BDSM
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Tuberose

By day Cooper Miller is a bland paper pusher, a health and safety inspector who does everything by the book. Deciding he needs some excitement in his life, he sheds his off-the-rack suit and tan raincoat and signs up for an introductory session at a BDSM club. His welcome mat turns out to be Nando Arenas, the man who owns the new tattoo shop Cooper inspected just that morning. At first glance, Nando seems like forbidden territory, but when Cooper discovers a taste for being tied up and dominated, the enterprising tattoo artist delivers all the excitement Cooper could want.

Can a bland paper pusher and a tattoo artist find balance together? Is the bad boy really all that bad?

Cooper Miller and Nando Arenas first meet when Cooper does a health inspection of Nando’s new tattoo shop. Nando thinks Cooper is nervous and shy and is shocked later that night when Cooper shows up for an introductory session at a BDSM club. Nando is completely turned-on when Cooper boldly states what he wants. Ms. Owens quickly shows the reader that neither man is what he appears to be at first glance. Ms. Owens shows the reader that both men have suffered loss, in Cooper’s case, a few losses. Even though Cooper has suffered more in terms of loss, it is Nando that is more reluctant to start a relationship.

Ms. Owens has drawn compelling characters in Nando and Cooper, and I was pulled into caring about what happens with them right from the start. It was very interesting to see how different Nando and Cooper act while at the club compared to outside the club. I’m not much on the heavier BDSM, and this story was great in that Ms. Owens mainly focused on the rope play aspect of it. This was my first story by Ms. Owens and I really enjoyed it. There were a few inconsistencies, but nothing that I felt overly detracted from the story.

Ms. Owens packed a lot into a few short pages. Can Nando and Cooper maintain the balancing act in their relationship? I can only hope that Ms. Owens decides to give readers another peek into the lives of Nando and Cooper sometime in the future.

Must be Magic by Lani Aames

Must be Magic by Lani Aames
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy
Length: Short Story (93 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

To save his princedom from the greedy Faerie King, the Prince of Pixieland must marry by the next Equinox. A desperate spell hurls him into the realm of his Heart Match—who just happens to be a mortal woman!

Cast into the Other Realm—the human world—on St. Patrick’s Day, Prince Myghal pursues Kerry O’Neill with physical pleasures beyond her wildest dreams. He has only three days to convince her they are meant to be together.

Kerry has to believe that the man she had fantastic sex with and is falling hard for is actually the Prince of Pixies. She must accept it, because she has to brave the tunnels of the Troll who lives under the bridge across the street to save Myghal. And her heart has known all along that their incredible connection must be magic.

In the middle of her workday Myghal shows up at Kerry’s plant nursery. Believing that he is lost she directs him across the street to her rival's nursery. When Myghal does not leave Kerry finds herself stuck with a strange but very attractive man. Can Myghal gain her trust and love before it is too late or will his kingdom be lost?

From the time I could read I loved tales of fantasy and finding true love and this beautiful story does not disappoint. Kerry is a strong woman who is fighting to keep herself afloat. Her feistiness and smarts keep her strong in a world full of obstacles. Prince Myghal is a loyal and generous man willing to fight for love and his kingdom. The love and trust that forms between these two was a great read. I enjoyed seeing Kerry fight her fears to save her true love even if it meant never seeing him again. Add in an obnoxious troll and a gnome sent to stop the pixie prince and you have a very interesting read.

Lani Aames does a wonderful job of bringing the reader into her magical world and keeps the reader turning pages till the end. Not only do you enjoy the tale of Kerry and Myghal but you also get to meet endearing characters along the way. I would love to find out more about this world and the other characters in it. If you enjoy fantasy and true love this is a book that should not be missed. I will certainly be on the look out for more from this author in the future.