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Friday, July 30, 2010

Cold Blooded by Dee Carney

Cold Blooded by Dee Carney
Publisher: Liquid Silver books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Commander Davana Black hates being in the human realm, but when two rogue demon juveniles make it their place of hiding, it’s her job to go in and retrieve them. If she’d had just the slightest clue she’d end up feeling the mating call of her kind while there, she might have requested a different assignment.

Things only go from bad to worse when she discovers it’s a human male who sparks the rush of emotion ... and worse still, other demons have picked up their connection and made him a target. Now, not only must she contend with finding the juveniles, somehow she has to fight nature’s call to him while reluctantly keeping him alive.

Quinn McVey never thought much of his heritage until the day the raven-haired beauty drags his family’s tragic secret into the light of day. It is because of it, and the lure she has on him, his once dull life is thrust into a battle between warring demon factions. In the frenzy of trying to stay one step ahead of their pursuers, he'll do whatever it takes to convince the Commander he's worthy of her ... and her love.

The demon police are on the prowl only to find not just their quarry but love too.

Commander Davana is a warrior, enforcer and all around tough gal. She’s single minded, effective and is respected by her peers. She’s pretty much written off the softer things in life or anything else that would make her weak and that includes falling in love. I guess guys don’t have the market cornered on being stubborn and alpha-like. Nor are they the only ones who are fascinating to watch as they tumble down the path of confusion, discombobulating lust and emotional enlightenment. No matter who you are, where you are or what you are doing, if love is fated all a character can do is go along for the ride. Even then, Davana is stubborn because she twists what could be a beautiful thing and turns it into a tool. I enjoyed reading how that bit her in the butt.

Quinn is an easy going creative type of guy. He also has a family secret that ends up both saving his life and complicating it on a level even he could not envision. His easy going accepting manner not to mention his innate sense of right are the perfect foil for Davana. He has his work cut out for him to prove it. It was a delightful scene when he shocked the heck out of her.

The author did a nice job of creating a strong female character without making the male look weak or ineffectual. I enjoyed their passionate scenes and their dialogue was concise and furthered the plot. There was a lot of world building thrown into a tight and well written short story and it worked well. Cold Blooded should appeal to readers of urban fantasy romances because the happily ever after is a good one not to mention a bit on the humorous side. I’m quite glad I read this.

Loving Eve by Helen Hardt

Loving Eve by Helen Hardt
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (75 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Multiple partners, anal play, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Belly dancer Eve Costello has a problem. She’s in love with both her roommates. Satisfied to simply worship them from afar, she’s unprepared when they drop a bomb. Jon and Brian are in love with her, too, and they want her to choose between them. Their solution? She spends one evening with each of them, allowing them to woo her before she makes her decision. Will she be able to choose one over the other? Or will she be condemned to choosing neither, leaving all three of them miserable?

Two men have confessed their love for you. Now you have to choose? How the heck do you choose when you’ve never spent any quality time alone with them? Take a man test drive. And, boy, oh boy, is it a hot ride.

I know when I open a Helen Hardt book, I’m in for a treat. This story is no exception. Loving Eve is indeed hot. I had to check my screen for melted spots. I felt like I was right there with Eve, suffering her anxiety and overwhelming passion as she was wooed by the men in her life. Although there were times when I thought the men acted a bit petty and grating, I understood why. There is a lot to figure out in this story, so make sure you have time and the one you love close. Once this story closes, you’ll want to do some serious snuggling.

Eve is an interesting heroine. She’s torn between Jon and Brian. Most any reader can identify. One man could be the man of her dreams, but what if she chooses the wrong one? The confusion and the stress are palpable. There were times when her flip-flopping got a bit old, but I could relate.

Jon and Brian are interesting in that they aren’t at all what I expected as the story went on, and I liked the polarity. What I didn’t like was their need almost to one-up each other. Men are petty and men like challenge, so I understood, but there was more than once when I wanted to tell them to get over themselves. But still, it’s a good thing that I was irritated with them, because that meant I was emotionally involved in the story. For me, that’s a huge plus.

If you want a story that’s got a little bit of everything and smoking-hot belly dancing in it, then you need to read Loving Eve. I give it 4 cherries.

Banished Witch by Anita Philmar

Banished Witch by Anita Philmar
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (97 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint

Once a princess of Ardenia, Danella, left her homeland to warn her childhood sweetheart only to be kidnapped and sold into slavery. Learning the dark magic from her keeper, she grew to accept her role as a witch to protect her family and track down the traitor to the crown. But when Omar Mandel, the love from her past, arrives to bring her home, she realizes she can never go home. That doesn't mean she can't use his assistance in her plan for revenge and, in the meantime, live out a few unfulfilled fantasies.

The queen wants her daughter to come home and Omar’s job is to see that it happens. However, Danella isn’t the same sweet girl he remembers. In her place is a sexy woman who excites his lust and claims his heart. He must teach her to trust in his love and face the sins of the past if they are to have a future together.

Omar never forgot his first and only true love. Although the queen had ordered him to find the missing princess it did not take much persuasion. He had decided a long time prior to that he would spend the rest of his life if need be to find Danella.

I loved the fact that Omar would not give up on Danella even when she had given up on herself. Daniella believed that because she was forced into becoming a whore and witch her family and Omar would never accept her back into Ardenia. Omar knew how Danella had been forced to live in the human world and it only increased his love for her. This really demonstrated how much he truly loved her since he was willing to accept her anyway he could get her.

I really felt bad for Danella. She had no control over the situation she was thrown into yet she blamed herself for everything. She blamed herself for not only what happened to her as a child, but also what happened to her parents and siblings. She felt as if it was best for everyone for her to stay away since every decision she made, believing she was helping, always seemed to have a negative effect. That did not stop her from still trying to protect her family. She really did have a good heart and I was happy to see her get the happy ending she so clearly deserved.

One aspect of the plot that I found interesting was the character of Rodman, who thought he had everyone fooled and no one knew his devious plans. Like most villains Rodman felt as if he was so much smarter than everyone else, when in fact his arrogance was his downfall.

The conflict at times was a little hard to follow and I would have liked to see a little more on the history of Rodman vs. the royal family because at certain times I felt a little lost. Although it is not mentioned in the cover page of this story I did go on the author’s website and discovered two earlier books in this series. If that had been mentioned on prior to me starting this story I may have understood why I felt certain background information was lacking in this story.

The relationship between Danella and Omar was exciting. They had been in love prior to Danella’s disappearance and throughout this story rediscovered that love with the help of lots of sex. Even when Danella was fighting the relationship I, as a reader, and Danella knew there would be no other man for her again. Did I forget to mention a lot of hot sex also! Hot heavy erotic sex. Danella may have felt her being forced to prostitute has a hindrance to their relationship, but Omar was more than willing to utilize all of the knowledge she had learned.

The interesting antagonist, conflict and exciting love story made it easy for me to give this story 4 cherries.

Bear Necessities by Dana Marie Bell

Bear Necessities by Dana Marie Bell
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (187 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

To hold onto his love, he must release his beast.

Halle Shifters, Book 1

Once a Bear sets his mind on a mission, it’s best to stay out of his way. Alexander “Bunny” Bunsun is that Bear. Something’s not right with his cousin Chloe, and he’s come to Halle, PA, to sort it out, turn his Harley around and head home to Oregon. Until an enticing scent lures him into the local tattoo shop.

There she is. An inked, Southern-drawled she-Wolf with lime-green hair. His perfect mate.

Tabitha Garwood’s rotten day just got worse. Her Outcast status makes her a target for harassment with alarming regularity. And now, in the middle of a root touch-up, looking like a half-melted Skittle, she’s met her destined mate. The only upside? She finally has a protector in the form of a huge, tattooed, shaved-head Bear who vibrates with carefully restrained power.

When Chloe is left for dead and Tabby is threatened, only Alex can keep his growing family safe. Giving Tabby the loving home she needs, though, could come at a price—Alex must give up the control he’s worked a lifetime to attain.

Which means someone could die at the hands—and claws—of his beast.

I laughed, I gasped, I cheered and I had an absolute blast reading Bear Necessities. In fact, I wanted to finish this story so badly, I was late bringing my child to trumpet lessons and I was late getting into work all because I couldn’t stop reading.

It’s not too often that I find a book that hits all the right happy buttons with characters whose personalities, sense of humor, comic timing and even their problems totally have me hooked and invested in their wellbeing. Even at its most dire, when the suspense and drama and action all come together for an amazing pivotal moment in battle, there was humor and a sense that these people are real. By that I mean the author created well defined, relatable and believable personalities for all the people that I met in this story. The dialogue interplay between the hero and heroine and the secondary characters never hit a wrong note and in fact enhanced my enjoyment of the book. There were so many clever quips and little jabs at each other a reader could feel the closeness, the respect and the care they all have for one another. The friendships, the family connections, the love, it’s all there for a reader to enjoy.

I don’t want to come across as all gushy but I completely and totally adored Bunny and Tabby. I am not even sure where to start. Bunny a/k/a Alex is a werebear and a character I just wanted to hug. I enjoyed the depiction of a big, tough manly man doing yoga. And I got hot and bothered with Tabby’s interpretation of how fun Yoga could be. I respected Tabby because of her history, her pride, and her commitment to her friends. But what I really liked was her very open and accepting nature regarding Bunny. She left all that relationship confusion and angst to her two best friends. That situation between Cyn and Julian is another story and one that a reader gets a thorough background in during this book. I loved it and can’t wait for their tale to be told. As it is, Tabby is very enthusiastic about being claimed by her big bad Bunny but she doesn’t know everything there is to know about him. I had a rollicking good time reading the scene when she finds out that Bunny/Alex is not quite as helpless as she thought.

Even the secondary characters have their chance in the limelight. I get a feeling that there is a backlist I’m going to have to dive into because Max, Emma and Gabe were awesome. If this is a series, then this is my first venture into it and I can say that this book completely stands alone on solid ground. One thing it did do was whet my appetite for more by Ms. Bell. Her style of voice, character development and sense of humor as well as the kind of world building she’s done in Bear Necessities has wowed me. I want to know about everyone because the author did such a wonderful job in making them come alive.

The conflict is mostly external but it does have an effect on Tabby’s internal conflict. One feeds the other. I felt sad for Tabby until Bunny stepped in. Then I felt anticipation for what was to come as soon as Bunny came on the scene. No way was a big, growly hunk of a man going to stand down and let his lady try to defend herself. Even if she is a wolf.

Bear Necessities is necessary reading for paranormal romance readers who enjoy tales with a sense of humor, a healthy dose of steamy, and even fun, loving and a plot a reader can really sink their teeth into. Did I say teeth? That’s another thing. I look for sensual bite scenes in my paranormal romances and this book has them. They are hot, hot, HOT and I am a very satisfied reader. I could go on because there are so many delightful twists and turns, revelations and unique characters in this book, I can only recommend this story in the strongest way I know how by giving it the best rating I am able. Otherwise I run the risk of spouting spoilers because there is so much more to share and be enthusiastic about and I want to shout out to the rooftops. I LOVED this book!

Repertoire: Cardiff by Mychael Black

Repertoire: Cardiff by Mychael Black
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (33 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

A year ago, dragon shifter Vincent Sheridan and vampire prince Devon Hart forged a union, putting an end to the war between shifters and vampires. Although Devon has been forthcoming in his own past, Vincent has remained silent on his own. Now a new menace has reared its ugly head.

A figure from Vincent's past is poised to claim Cardiff, Wales, as his own--using his sorcery and otherworldly charisma to force the people to follow him. Knowing he has no choice, Vincent realizes he must stop the madness before it's too late. Doing so requires him to admit who he is and to protect the people who once revered him.

It's going to take every resource he possesses--even those he fought hard to forget.

A Vampire and a Dragon meet and have a sizzling affair. Sounds like the start of a dirty joke, but Repertoire: Cardiff is anything but.

I know when I open a Mychael Black story, I’m going to be entertained. This is another great story. I’m not a huge fan of dragon shifters, but this is one of my exceptions. The emphasis wasn’t so much on his being a dragon but more the moral battle he had to deal with. It’s a good illustration that things we think are simply black and white aren’t nearly as plain as we think. I liked it.

Vincent is a dragon shifter and so much more. He can manipulate magic and bring his partner, Devon, to his knees with a look. That’s some powerful stuff. And the devotion between them... I love seeing a pair of heroes that can exist separately, but have that balance that makes them need each other. This is one of Mychael Black’s strongest points. He creates heroes that you want to root for and can’t wait to see show their love for each other.

Be warned, when you open this story, it’s not simple or easy to figure out. The plot is complex and kept me in my seat until the last page. Every time I thought one thing would happen, it wasn’t what I thought and it worked out perfectly.

If you want a story that’s filled with passion, heart, and a healthy dose of fire, then you need to read Repertoire: Cardiff. I give this story 4.5 cherries.

Caught by the Master by Cooper McKenzie

Caught by the Master by Cooper McKenzie
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (86 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Whitney Elliott is on the hunt for a front page story about sex slaves and slave auctions when she sneaks in the back door of Esoteria. Overdressed to be a sub and doesn’t have the attitude to be a Domme, she finds herself trapped in a world she’d only read about.

Taurus Green knows everything that goes on in his club and makes a point to meet every new guest within minutes of their arrival. He doesn’t know the cute little mouse wearing too many clothes and blushing at everything she sees. Could she be what he needs to cure his boredom with life?

After catching the mouse, he offers her an option, him or the police. What will Whitney choose? Arrest and humiliation? Or punishment from the Master who caught her?

When Whitney Elliot decides to sneak into the BDSM club called Esoteria to try and break a story from an anonymous tip line she does not know what she is in for. Taurus Green, part owner of club Esoteria, catches Whitney and gives her the choice of spending time with him or the police. Will Whitney find what she is looking for or will she run from Taurus and the feelings he brings out in her?

This short story had me right from the start. I enjoyed Whitney and her willingness to explore the unknown. She was intrigued, as well as excited sexually and mentally, and let Taurus guide her. The gift of trust that she gives him is a wonderful read. Taurus is a great Dom that always keeps a cool head and is willing to fight for what he wants. The bond that quickly builds between Taurus and Whitney is very nice. I loved watching Whitney grow into a more confident woman with the help of Taurus. As she explores her new sexual side Whitney grows more confident in herself. I loved that as excited as Taurus is he still controls himself and is very patient with Whitney and her introduction into his world.

Cooper McKenzie does a wonderful job with pulling the reader into the story. With characters full of depth and emotion this is a book that should not be missed. I have enjoyed both stories in this series and am eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Engaging Evelyn by Jennifer Salaiz

Engaging Evelyn by Jennifer Saliaz
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (135 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Multiple Partners
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Agapanthus

Determined to overcome her broken heart, Evelyn devises the game Bets. She’s sure that if she stays distracted by good looking men, her problems will go away. But what she doesn’t expect is the persistent, gorgeous Brandon conveniently appearing everywhere she turns.

Brandon moves into the resort style condo prepared to make Evelyn fall in love with him. The last thing he expects is the ex-fiancé showing up and complicating things. On a mission to make Evelyn pay, Brandon’s not willing to let anything get in his way. Even if that means submitting to the feelings he’s truly beginning to feel for her.

Having suffered from a broken heart, I can understand Evelyn’s desire to quench her passions without attachments, but she gets more than she bargained for when she meets her new neighbor.

Engaging Evelyn is the second volume in the “Bets” series. Now, that being said, it is a completely stand alone story that you can read without necessarily having read the first.

I really enjoyed this story and found it to be entertaining and endearing. In a short 135 pages Jennifer Salaiz takes us into the world of partying and casual sex that Evelyn has wrapped herself in since her fiancée Stephen left her, then twists everything all around with the addition of a handsome and determined Brandon.

My favorite character of the story has to be Brandon. He comes into the story seeking revenge and quickly finds himself wound up in more than he realized was happening.

The women of Engaging Evelyn are determined and fun loving and the men are strong and handsome, if at times a little foolish.

This is a great novella to enjoy poolside while sipping a martini and eyeballing the cabana boys.

Guarding Temptation by Chastity Bush

Guarding Temptation by Chastity Bush
Publisher: Publish America
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length(196 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Wisteria

Tera Stone is not your typical vampire. Born without any vampire power and newly single, Tera finds herself starting her life anew - again. Able to walk in the sun and eat normal food, it seems Tera and her family have hidden her defects as a vampire well, but what they do not know is that the murderer that has been terrorizing the immortal community for months has his sights set on her.

Zack Kingston is a Guardian. It is the job of the Guardians to protect all living beings mortal and immortal alike. In his five hundred years of living he has seen it all - or so he thought. When Zack is sent to Manhattan in search of a murderer who has been draining born vampires for weeks he never imagined the mysterious woman he would rescue would be his mate.

Unable to trust Zack's motives and now her own, will Tera follow her heart and accept the love Zack has to offer? And can Zack win Tera's heart before the murderer finds her?

Tera is not your typical vampire. She doesn’t have super human strength, she’s a bit clumsy, and she can come out in the daylight. In fact, the only thing she has in common with her vampy counterparts is her need for blood… but she takes hers bottled.

From the prologue, this story drew me in. We get a glimpse of our poor heroine getting attacked by the scum of the earth — luckily, it’s not long before she’s saved by a Guardian. No, not of the angel variety, but a powerful immortal that keeps a balance between the humans and the beasties that go bump in the night.

Zack, our swoon-worthy savior, is tall, dark and handsome. He knows Tera is a vamp, but has no idea why she’d need saving. Since he was in fact sent to save her he makes it his mission to learn more about her. His curiosity leads to fun banter, awkward situations, and excellent dialogue that will keep you entertained throughout.

While the novel had its share of typos and errors, I hardly noticed as the plot and mystery sucked me into this vampire meets guardian immortal tale.

Intrigue, lust, flirtation, and comedy lace every page of this quick read. The sexual content is never gratuitous and adds to the building of the story line, it doesn’t detract from the characters or the climatic build up of the story. I enjoyed this story and give it three cherries.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sunny With a Chance by Emjai Colbert

Sunny With a Chance by Emjai Colbert
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (48 pgs)
Other: M/F, fetish, toys
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Maybe it was kismet that brought Sunny Maitland to Ryan Chance’s doorstep that day. Maybe it was just dumb luck. Sunny had avoided the house and the man for months for fear of falling in love with the one person who was off limits.

Wounded in body and soul, Ryan Chance is surprised when his former masseuse saunters back into his life as if she’d never left. She’d been his savior and confidant when his life was in pieces and then she was gone with no explanation.

Bound by a secret mutual desire, Sunny and Ryan waste no time getting to know each other again, and again, and again one hot, steamy, Southern night.

She wants him with every fiber of her soul, but he’s off limits. He wants her, but she’s not exactly banging down his door to see him. Sounds like a conundrum. It is. But things are looking up because it’s Sunny With a Chance.

This story intrigued me. What was the big thing keeping Sunny from her man? And what was so impossible about her that Ryan didn’t make a move? All those questions and more are answered in this story, and it’s one hot read.

Ms. Colbert’s story has plot twists I didn’t see coming. Its not a simple story and nothing like I expected. From page one, I was struck and had to see how the plot would work itself out. I wasn’t let down.

Sunny took some time to grow on me. At first she comes across as a bit shy and more than a tad awkward. I liked her imperfections because it made her more realistic. What I didn’t like was her wishy washy tendencies. She wanted him, but she wanted to run. She made love to him, but she wanted to high-tail it out of his house. Things seemed to happen fast and when her past is revealed, yes it makes sense as to why she is the way she is, but I wanted to see her show a bit more chutzpah. Take what she wanted.

I have to admit, Ryan was my favorite character from the word go. He’s been through a heck of a time, but he never loses his smile or his spirit. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s darned sexy. When he romances Sunny, its great to see. And the scene with the apple corer... it’s not typical, but that makes it interesting.

If you want a sexy read with characters you won’t forget, then you need to read Sunny With a Chance. I give this story 3.5 cherries.

Mating Games by Stormy Glenn and Joyee Flynn

Mating Games: Delta Wolf 2 by Stormy Glenn & Joyee Flynn
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (117 pgs)
Other: M/M, M/M/M, Menage, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Sebastian Rule is a Delta wolf, the enforcer for his kind. When word comes rogue alpha is holding a human hostage, Sebastian is sent to investigate, eliminating the rogue Alpha if needed. His mission goes horribly wrong and Sebastian is captured. What he finds when he wakes up though, changes the course of Sebastian’s life. The human that inhabits the shed with him is not only the “pet” of the Alpha, he is also Sebastian’s mate.

Before Sebastian can rescue his abused mate, Dobry, they are both set free by Alastar, a vampire and Sebastian’s other mate. The problem? Sebastian hates vampires. Stuck between a mate that is afraid of him and a mate that he is hesitant to claim, Sebastian’s only choice is to run with both when Alpha Rodrick gives chase. Can they learn to trust each other enough when Alpha Rodrick finally tracks them down? Or will they lose each other before they realize what they have together?

What do a vampire, a human and a werewolf all have in common? Usually nothing but in this book they have a whole lot of running and loving to do.

Sebastian is the Delta wolf from the first Delta Wolf story. I read that book as well and I got the feeling that Sebastian should be a candidate for his own HEA because of the insights I got from that first adventure. Imagine my absolute pleasure to find out that this is his story and it’s even better than the first.

Sebastian is another man who is shunned and relegated to the outskirts of pack society by virtue of just being born the way his is. Basically, he is a hired gun who does the dirty work of the werewolf council. Off he went to do a simple recon and got more than he bargained for. Since when do werewolf guys do anything easy anyway?

What I find interesting about this book and this series in general is the straight forward way of accepting their mates. Their culture is such that it’s a given - no games, no waffling, no whining about how it can’t possibly be real. The nose tells all and it’s so incredibly unique there is no question or mistakes about its accuracy. That gets the chase out of the way so this novella can get to the good stuff.

What is good is the balancing of the relationship. At first there is elation that mates have been found but then there’s the question, now what? It’s not that easy because the next step is to get to know each other, to get over their differences and the baggage that comes with it. I have to say that the emotional issues that come along for the ride are pretty significant in this story. I liked that the characters didn’t stick their heads in the sand. In fact they did something very uncharacteristic for guys – they talked! They shared and they faced up to their inner fears. It wasn’t easy but it sure made for some interesting reading.

And I get it. Dobry is the meek one in this book. That’s not to say that he’s a weak character because he most definitely is not. He is a survivor of abuse and it takes a lot of courage to reach out and take those first steps to heal. Just because he has the loving support of both Sebastian and Alastar doesn’t mean it’s a piece of cake. It just means he’s able to experience a thoroughly positive balance to the horror he lived through, giving him a reason to try. Dobry may be referred to as a ‘baby’ but he’s not really. It’s his particular role and it is vital and important to the threesome. The other two need him which in turn makes him the stronger person – he brings light to their otherwise dark existence. It’s an amazing concept for a ménage relationship and it works.

I enjoy a book series which brings previous characters for a visit or for more integral actions to help out the current situation with whatever is going on. Mating Games does that nicely because it picks up the time line and I got to visit with Zac, Matt and Aiden again. However, if a reader jumps in with this book, there won’t be any confusion. I think it would stand alone just fine. I had a great time reading about everyone though so for me, it upped the fun that extra notch.

Mating Games has everything an erotic romance reader is searching for especial if they like manlove. I found it to be romantic, touching at times and exciting. The bad guy is smart and nasty and there comes a surprise at the final altercation. So now I’m wondering what is going to happen next? Not only about that surprise but what exactly happened to Dobry down by the water? Something significant occurred and I have a few ideas what it might be which gets me excited. What do the authors have up their collective sleeves? I can’t wait to find out. This series is getting better with each book I’ve read and I am looking forward to reading more from the collaboration of Ms. Glenn and Ms. Flynn.

Lily White, Rose Red by Catt Ford

Lily White Rose Red by Catt Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (215 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Meet Grey Randall, a hard-boiled detective whose sense of humor makes it hard for him to stay strictly noir. It's 1948 in Las Vegas—the newborn Sin City—and he's just landed his first murder case. He's more at ease among the lowlifes, but his new client, a beautiful, wealthy woman, a real femme fatale, moves in the upper crust of society.

Grey's hot on the trail of a killer, despite obstructive cops who don't want a private dick sniffing around and digging up secrets. And he starts getting close to the truth, but one of his suspects, Phillip Martin, AKA Mr. Big—AKA Mr. Beautiful—proves to be a man who could force Grey to reveal a dark secret of his own.

When a grand dame propositions Grey, he can’t refuse.

Hard boiled “dick” Grey Randall has seen a lot of fine women in his time, even if he’s not interested. Living in Vegas, he can’t help but recognize the femme fatale standing in his office but that doesn’t stop him from taking the case. Along the way he meets Mr. Big, a man Grey can’t stay away from but who just might be a suspect. There is no shortage of other suspects as well as the tangled web of Vegas politics, money, sex, and lies comes to life during Grey’s investigation. No one is safe, not even Grey himself.

Lily White, Rose Red is book one in a new series staring Grey Randall, detective. This first offering starts with a bang as the sexual tension and sensuality of the time period and the characters are immediate. This is classic noir mystery of the absolute best kind. From hard hitting to hard drinking and rough and tumble alley sex, the setting and era of the 40’s comes alive. The fabulous writing and authentic prose really steep the reader immediately into the mystery and gritty setting. The actual plot introduces you to a vast set of entertaining and absolutely compelling characters that manage to be memorable all on their own. This is a pretty big feat considering the large cast but they all stand out in their own way and make the story vivid and entertaining.

Aside from the fabulous characters, the mystery is well crafted. I figured out the culprit immediately as well as the various clues about what is really going on that Grey is trying to figure out on his own, but the superb writing and noir feel carries the story regardless. The only stumble is that this isn’t really a romance at all. It’s a gritty mystery with a lot of sexual tension and a couple truly steamy sex scenes thrown in but there is no big romantic ending. Because this is an ongoing series, there is a cliff hanger with a promise for more in upcoming books but those readers wanting a happy romantic ending are likely to be disappointed. Go into this if you want a great noir mystery with a splash of hot sex and you’ll be much happier.

The combination of truly stunning writing with great characters, a compelling mystery, and hot sex makes this story simply entertaining on all levels. Grey is a hard-edged private eye in everyway and thus he’s perhaps the least likable of the cast. His rude, roughshod manners may turn some readers off but I have faith that he’ll come around and find his happy ending eventually. In the mean time I’m quite happy to follow the ride as he investigates and digs into the glitz, glamour, and underbelly of late 40’s Vegas. I easily recommend this one.

Prince of Shadows by Tracy L Ranson

Bloodborn 2: Prince of Shadows by Tracy L. Ranson
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (176 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Agapanthus

Entangled in a web of intrigue, Tatiana Gregorovich knows the only true ruler of Russia is Catherine I, a woman of strength and beauty. She ferries messages back and forth between Catherine and her generals, taking on the façade of a simpleton at court.

She fools everyone except Nicholas Wetherington, a thousand year old vampire at the Russian court. She is drawn to his smoldering, exotic looks unaware that her attraction could cost her life.

Tatiana is the daughter of a general. She is also believed to be a simpleton, but she is so much more than that. Nicholas came to Russia to attend the Empress’ birthday celebration and found himself falling in love.

Prince of Shadow by Tracy L Ranson is a tale of passion, love, political intrigue and revenge. Each page is filled with vivid descriptions, endearing good guys and vile evil.

My favorite characters of the book have to be the trio of Gabrielle, Siobhan and Alexandria. These three are powerful vampires and at the same time they are fiercely loyal to their “brother” Nicholas. They play supporting roles in this story but they are fantastic characters.

Seldom have I found such an expansive story that fits into a mere 176 pages, but Tracy Ranson has managed to take the turmoil of old Russia and combine it with passion and the paranormal to create a fabulous story.