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Friday, November 26, 2010

Earth and Ayr by Viola Grace

Earth and Ayr by Viola Grace
Elymyntyls Book 2
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (68 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Sol has been trying to force information from the giants on the Raven’s Rest station above Jotunheim. No one can tell her where her friend Jin is until Morgarn the mountain giant walks into the bar. He knows where Jin is and is willing to tell Sol, but he trades information for kisses. Using the element of air to torture him, she finds that using air against rock is not an effective means of extracting information.

Sometimes it is wise to remember who, or what, you’re up against. This is especially true for Solial Kellan, an air elemental, and one of three friends who one the bar Elymyntyl on the Raven’s Rest space station. When her friend Jin goes missing, Sol and Fen are left to carry on with the business. And it is business as usual until the bounty hunters that caused Jin to run reappear trying to grab the other two partners.

They hire Morgarn, a giant from the planet below, recommended by the Gaia Group as reliable, to escort them on nightly bank runs. But there is more behind the sudden influx of giants to the station than meets the eye. When Morgarn promises Sol he can help her find her friend, Sol agrees to accompany him to his home. When Morgarn seems intent on seduction, Sol uses her air powers to try and stop him, until he explains to her that she can’t suffocate rock.

Can Sol accept what Morgarn ultimately offers her? Once she finds Jin is safe and happy with her fire giant, will Sol find a life with her mountain giant? Can she escape the bounty offered by Thosnos for her and her friends?

In this, the second book of Viola Grace’s Elymyntyls miniseries, she takes us back to the space station that the three friends call home. I love this new world, and I wish the stories could be longer. I enjoy the imaginative and fantastic characters that Ms. Grace creates, and the marvelous worlds that they inhabit. Ms. Grace never seems to run out of worlds to present, or races to uncover, and this makes for very unusual pairings at times.

Solial Kellan is the daughter of a Terran scorcher and her Dhemon/Nyal mate. She is hot headed and independent, used to having her way. She believes that her control of air gives her the advantage, and with most beings, it does. I like the spirit that Sol shows, and her deep loyalty to her friends. And I loved how she made Morgarn earn his way into her heart.

Morgarn is seven feet of mountain giant. He believes in the prediction that his mate would be an air elemental, and he does what it takes to secure the mate of the prediction. He is strong and determined, and just a little bit obsessive with counting. I loved how he got Sol to fall in with his plans by making a deal that for each question she asked, he would give her an answer but he also earned a kiss as payment. And the interaction between the two is great -- the fun ways Sol used to try and not ask questions.

There is, once again, a surprise twist to the story here. I enjoyed each revelation as it came, and there were some points I was not expecting at all. This is a fun story of romance, revelations and passionate sensuous sexiness. This is best read with the first book, as there are definite links that need to be connected. I recommend both as great fun.

Blacque/Bleu by Belinda McBride

Blacque/Bleu by Belinda McBride
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy, paranormal
Length: Full Length (220 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex, bdsm
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Lukas Blacque is a deeply closeted werewolf, and almost more than anything in life, he desires his neighbor, Oliver Bleu. Oliver is a vampire who is slowly dying from insomnia. More than anything, he needs Lukas Blacque and the rich blood that flows through his veins.

On the day that Blacque makes an important commitment to his family and pack, he also succumbs to temptation and agrees to a passionate weekend with the alluring vampire. At sunset on Friday, it’s all about urgent lust and the drive to lose his virginity. When the sun rises on Monday, lust has shifted to love and devotion. He's not sure he can walk away, even for the commitment he's made. He's even less sure Bleu will let him go.

In Blacque’s world, vampires and werewolves make uneasy bedfellows, and a gay werewolf is an impossibility. In Bleu’s world, all living creatures are little more than vessels for food and sex. But in the mysterious and magical town of Arcada, the unexpected is always waiting right around the corner. Now Blacque and Bleu just need to survive long enough for Arcada’s magic to work for them.

Can a gay werewolf and ancient vampire find love in a closet? Lukas Blacque is a werewolf mechanic. He’s also gay, but since gay werewolves aren’t supposed to exist, he’s careful not to let his orientation be known. Lukas is also determined to resist his sexy as sin neighbor, the gorgeous old vampire Oliver Bleu. Yet Oliver isn’t looking so healthy lately and a chance encounter leads to a weekend of bliss for the lovers. Their happiness can’t last as Oliver’s maker has returned and Lukas is in line as the next alpha.

Blacque/Bleu is an entertaining and enjoyable story in a field littered with too many cliché vampire/werewolf stories. The story may not be especially new but the clever details and subtle humor woven into the writing makes this stand out amongst the crowd. Oliver is gradually fading from existence due to insomnia. The less he sleeps, the weaker he feels and less easily he can hunt. The longer he goes between hunting, the weaker he becomes in a vicious cycle. Lukas is a gay werewolf in line to take over the pack, a position he doesn’t want but feels he must take.

The dynamic between the two men is instantly engaging. They dance around each other but when they get together, the sex is hot and plentiful. There is a D/s element to their relationship but it’s very minor and only related to sex. There is also a host of other characters from family members to mysterious and intriguing town residents that serve to keep the story going with great interest. The town itself is a magical place that chooses its residents, a clever twist. Along with the play on the men’s names, the story offers several moments of tongue in cheek humor.

From beginning to end, Blacque/Bleu offers something different in the usually overfilled field of supernatural stories. The characters become like old friends that you want to see happy while even the crankiest of men meet their match. The story can’t be over for this unusual town or these great men so until their next adventure is published, get this now and indulge in some light but thoroughly satisfying reading.

A Ghoul Like You by J.L. Merrow

A Ghoul Like You by J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Noble Romance
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (20 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Niall's just a ghoul looking for a quiet life. Instead, he meets Jamie, a kid on a vampire-killing spree. And nothing says, "I love you," like a stake through the heart . . . .

A visceral story of love (or something like it) among the undead.

Sometimes a stake in the chest is love and sometimes it’s hate. Figuring out which is which isn’t always easy for amateur vampire slayer Jamie. He’s hunting vampires and accidentally stakes Niall. Unfortunately for Jamie Niall isn’t a vampire, but a ghoul. When Niall recovers from the staking, he’s rather annoyed at having to chew on his own arm to survive. He decides to find Jamie and teach him a lesson. Yet Niall finds that maybe Jamie isn’t all bad and the two may find common ground.

A Ghoul Like You is a witty, entertaining short story. It’s a fast read and definitely leaves you wanting more. Niall is a funny man, living in a rather gothic basement and eating raw meat for survival. He never meant to eat Jamie when he picked him up in a club, but merely chew on him a little. The story can be graphic in places as the bloody meat ghouls eat to survive is depicted in gruesome detail. Yet this is always offset with humor and wry wit to help any who may be squeamish.

The author’s trademark humor is sprinkled throughout this enjoyable story. From the small details to the large, this short story is littered with great lines and sly nods. The characters and their dialogue are particular highlights and create a very engrossing story that you never want to end. The sex scene between Niall and Jamie is very sexy and surprisingly hot – considering one of the men is undead and eats flesh.

For a few dollars this unconventional story is completely worth reading. It hits many high notes and the writing is high quality. You may find yourself rooting for ghouls as the newest heroes.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Shared Range by Andrew Grey

A Shared Range by Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (203 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Phlox

After a year in medical school, Dakota Holden returned home to take care of the family business full time and help his father cope with multiple sclerosis. Devoted to his family, Dakota allows himself just one week of vacation a year, which he spends in some exotic location having all the fun he can stand. On his last vacation, a cruise, Dakota struck up a friendship with Phillip Reardon, and it fills an important role in Dakota’s life.

So when Phillip decides to take Dakota up on his invitation to visit the ranch, Dakota is happy to see him and meet his veterinarian friend, Wally Schumacher. Despite Wally’s inclination to help the wolves Dakota’s men shoot to protect the cattle, he and Dakota find they have a lot in common, including a fierce attraction. But they’ll have to decide if the Wyoming range is big enough for Dakota’s cattle, Wally’s wolves, and their love.

Wyoming – the “Equality State”, so named since it was the first state to give women the vote, is also Matthew Shepard country as our hero points out, and not the most encouraging place for a young man to come out. This story, which looks to be the first in a new series from Mr. Grey, takes us to a beautiful locale and face to face with some highly relevant, timely issues – homophobia driven violence, the heartbreaking issues of caring for an ailing parent, and, also appropriate to the locale, the reintroduction of wolves onto national park land.

While these are all important topics, their handling never felt heavy or preachy in the context of the plot. These are simply facts our characters have to face. Dakota, who leaves medical school to come home and care for his MS-stricken father, has managed to keep his balance through life’s upheavals. Strong and stoic, sensible and practical, he hides his pain and his loneliness from himself and soldiers on, never becoming bitter or resentful. While he’s loyal to a fault, kind and compassionate with others, he hides his sexuality while he’s home, from his father and from the community, for fear of hurting the ranch and the people he loves.

Enter Wally, a feisty, passionate little fireball of a vet-school graduate, who disapproves strongly of the ranchers’ practice of shooting wolves, whose joy in working with animals shows in all his actions, and who doesn’t need anyone’s help in a fight, thank you very much. While Dakota and Wally initially butt heads, it doesn’t take long for the two of them to feel the magnetic pull of attraction and to anticipate the gray, empty spot that would shadow their hearts if they were apart. Some readers might argue that their coming together happens too quickly and that their disagreements resolve too easily. I would respectfully disagree. I found it more realistic that two people who are meant to be together would have a natural connection and that two such kind and caring people would be mature enough to be able to compromise.

All that said, there is a touch more high drama in this story than in many of Mr. Grey’s works. His stories often have a gentle, contemplative quality, stories of inner struggle and turmoil. We lose none of the inner life of the characters here, but there are guns and fistfights, snarling predators and actual physical danger. Snarling predator-wise, one of my favorite aspects of the story is how Dakota’s view of the wolves shifts as he begins to see them through Wally’s eyes. On the flip side, the only aspect of the plot that I felt a bit forced was in the too-easy acceptance of most people outside the relationship, both wolf and gay couple-wise. This did not affect my enjoyment of the story, however.

Against the backdrop of breathtaking mountains and in the context of the struggle for acceptance, A Shared Range is a tender and heartwarming love story. The importance of family, of compassion, loyalty, and kindness, which we have come to expect in Grey stories, are all here, wrapped around endearing characters, both major and minor. This is one of those stories to read when your heart is bruised and your world feels dark. You’ll take a deep breath afterwards and see the sun again.

Guarding the Vampire’s Ghost by Amy Lane

Guarding the Vampire’s Ghost by Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner PRess
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (100 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

For four millennia, Shepherd, Angel of Repentance, and Jefischa, Angel of the Fourth Hour of Dark, have worked as a team to provide heavenly assistance to those who call their names. Shepherd's work has made him dark and dour, but he's determined to protect Jefischa from all of the terrible pain the mortal world has to offer. Now an accident of divine politics has put Adrian, a twice-dead vampire, in heaven, and angels have been falling to Earth to engage in forbidden activities ever since. Shepherd doesn't know how, and he doesn't know why, but he's heaven-bent on keeping the impressionable Jefischa out of Adrian's clutches. But how is it that someone who was supposedly not human can teach two angels so much about the best of humanity? And how is it that—as long as he has Jefi by his side—no duty on earth or in heaven is as pleasurable as guarding the vampire's ghost?

Can a dead vampire teach two angels how to be human? When Shepherd and Jefi are the latest set of angels assigned the duty of watching the vampire’s ghost, the two angels are anything but happy. The vampire has had a long string of angel watchers, all of whom have fallen to earth afterward. Wary and on edge, Shepherd is determined to protect innocent Jefi from the vampire’s antics. Yet the greatest surprise is that a vampire, a dead one at that, may be able to teach ageless beings about love and emotion.

Guarding the Vampire’s Ghost is the latest in Ms. Lane’s long string of successful stories. Here the characters practically leap off the pages with their interesting quirks, hot sex, charming personalities, and deep love. This is sure to please any die hard romantics who enjoy the idea of love lasting past death. The vampire in question, Adrian, is familiar from past Lane stories and shows that his love and devotion to the people still alive lasts long after his physical death. The anguish and heartbreak Adrian experiences is raw. It’s not surprising that this prompts Shepherd and Jefi to want to experience that kind of intensity.

The romance unfolds in two parallel stories. There is Adrian, the vampire in question, who is pining for his two lovers that are still alive. Adrian is so connected that he literally can’t move on. His lingering emotion and the pain it causes is countered by Adrian’s assertion that the pain is always worthwhile. No matter what happens, Adrian is glad for the pain to remind him of his love. The two angels are fascinated by this devotion and their connection deepens, wanting to experience this same type of love. The angels are adorable, lovely, charming, and fabulous to read. Their love is obvious in the small details, touches, and comments.

If anything this novella is too short. It’s well written, emotional, romantic, heart warming, and breaks your heart at the same time. Those fans of Adrian and his lovers will be pleased to see the story continuing while Shepherd and Jefi are bound to amass their own fans. This great couple lights up the pages with their innocent, yet lasting love and intensity of emotion. You won’t want to miss this one.

Made to Order by L.A. Day

Made to Order by L.A. Day
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Sci-Fi Fantasy
Length: Short Story (45 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Sex therapy! No way will Holt ever agree to that. Not with Rebecca. They want him to go undercover at a sex-therapy club—play dominant male to her submissive female. Piece of cake for Holt. After all, he’s Cragon. But with Rebecca, the woman he has fought so hard to resist? When Mav threatens to send another man, Holt has no choice. He’ll just have to get a grip and get it done.

Once at the club, things become very hot, very fast, as they work on their “sexual problem”. Rebecca discovers that Cragon males are enhanced with some amazing physical attributes. While Holt is fighting his desire and trying to maintain control, Rebecca is determined to discover and use all his Cragon “goodies”. Secrets have kept them apart too long. Rebecca is going after her man.

Made to Order is a fast paced story with well-developed characters. It is a sweet read that had me turning the pages to find out just what was going to happen next. Is Rebecca up to being the woman Holt needs? Can the two find their happy ever after?

I have not read a science fiction based story in a long time but L. A. Day has me rethinking my old opinion that it has all been done to death already. I loved the enhanced male theme in this story. It is done tastefully and keeps the readers interest. Holt is a Cragon who has extra attributes that come to play when he finds his mate. Rebecca may be the woman he has been waiting for but can Holt see past her façade? Rebecca is much more than what she presents to the world but she is afraid to show it to Holt.

I enjoyed the way Holt and Rebecca interacted. Holt may come off as a domineering and uncaring man but we soon find that he has a heart of gold. The ups and downs that these two go through make for a great read and as intense as the love scenes are you can see that the two love each other immensely.

As short as this story is it still makes an impression. If you enjoy sci-fi romance then I am sure you will find this story very pleasing. I know I will certainly be on the look out for more from this author in the future.

Trey’s Angel by Cooper McKenzie

Trey’s Angel by Cooper McKenzie
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (36 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Dahlia

Molly James has loved model and newly retired NFL kicker Trey Younger for more than half her life. She knew he'd never thought of her as anything except his little sister's best friend. Trey had loved Molly since her first visit, but wanted to wait for her to grow up before he claimed her.

Before he could confess his love, she joined the Navy and disappeared. Five years later she walks into his thirtieth birthday party dressed as a dark angel and he refuses to let her disappear again. Problem is that in two days Molly leaves for a six-month sea cruise.

I really admired Molly’s courage in surprising Trey at his birthday party after five years. She didn’t exactly know who he was anymore or how much he’d changed, yet she held firm in finding out if there was something between them. A little encouragement from the right source, also known as Trey’s sister, and the right outfit is sure to turn Trey’s head, but the real question is will it be enough to keep him. I guess sister knows best in this case.

Trey definitely played the field in both his professional and personal life, but there was one girl he couldn’t seem to get out of his head. It’s a shame he never did anything about her when he had the chance and now, five years later, it looks like he might just get a second shot. The fact that he never forgot about Molly says a lot about this playboy sports star and I guess it’s true – you never know a good thing until it’s gone.

This story was endearing in the fact that neither character knew how to put their feelings into words, but there actions spoke volumes. There was no awkwardness, just pure passion in their movements – everything done with intention.

My view on the concept behind this story is that you can go home again and maybe find love waiting there. Love, after all, is an enduring emotion. Regardless of circumstance, time, or distance, it’s the easiest thing to give and receive as long as both parties are willing.

The writing itself was clear, concise, and flowed very naturally throughout the story. It was truly an enjoyable read and I can only say that I would’ve loved for it to be longer.

Recommended reading for fans of young friendship that matures into love.

Dreams by Jambrea Jo Jones

Dreams by Jambrea Jo Jones
Publisher: Total-e-Bound Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (66 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Anabella’s dreams bring her to David, but is he the salvation she’s looking for?

Anabella Pouge is plagued with powers she can’t control, making her life far from normal when all she wants is ordinary. Change is coming her way when she must flee with a man straight out of her dreams.

David Sanders is sent to find Anabella. Without her, the future of his wolf pack is in danger. Forced to travel to the middle of nowhere, David finds Anabella might mean more than just his pack’s survival.

Will the two make it back to the pack in time? Can Anabella and David accept each other and the coming changes to their lives?

When Russell Masters, the alpha of his pack, sent David Sanders on an errand, there were a few need-to-know things he just left out. Like, the woman that David had to find, Anabella Pouge, was crucial to the survival of the pack. Maybe David should have been told that their biggest enemy, Sebastian Donavan would stop at nothing to destroy them all. Most of all, it would have been helpful if Russ had told him that he and Anabella were destined to be mates.

Bella has secrets of her own. She can “hear” people’s thoughts, and her dreams tend to come true. She has dreamt of David since she was eighteen, and has seen the pack lodging burning, with herself trapped inside. The Ancients that oversee paranormal beings don’t want to believe Bastian has gone rogue, so it is up to Russ, David and Bella to protect and defend the compound. Can Bella gain control of her magic before her dream comes to reality? Can she survive the change and become all a mate can be to David? Are they strong enough together to stop the evil that Bastian plans?

Jambrea Jo Jones has packed a lot of action, danger and scorching hot passion into this short story. I love this world that she has created, a wonderful blend of reality and fantasy. The characters are all well defined and most are extremely likeable. Even her secondary characters, Russ and Max, are fully developed.

Anabella “Bella” Pouge is a sassy woman. She is strong and takes her time trusting, as a rule. But she is also afraid, because she hears what people think, at least until she meets David. It was great that she was able to get some relief from the incessant sound with him. I also loved that she was determined to try and find a way to help, and wasn’t afraid to explore the new magic opening in her.

David is such a real guy. He takes on the errand because the alpha told him to, no questions asked. He is a loyal and true friend, and I loved the reaction he had when he realized Bella was his mate. And the instinct to protect her above all else was portrayed perfectly.

This is a great story, although I wish it had been a bit longer, since I didn’t want to say goodbye to my new friends. I got the feeling we will be seeing them again though, as secondary characters in other books. I certainly hope we get both Max’s and Russ’ stories sometime in the future. I will be watching for them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Public Lives, Private Pleasures by Adrianna Dane

Public Lives, Private Pleasures by Adrianna Dane
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (150 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Descended from an old, very influential Virginia family with conservative views, Adrien has no desire to carry on the family’s political tradition. Still, he's forced to hide his gay identity to protect the budding political career of his younger twin brother, Marsh, who wants to take up where their father, Senator Douglas Langtry, left off. There's no room for mistakes, no matter how much Adrien hates living that lie.

It’s not until Adrien meets sexy Latin choreographer, Frankie Raphael, that his apathy evaporates, and he begins to questions his choices. Beautiful, passionate Frankie offers Adrien a glimpse into a world he’d only ever dared experience through the safety of the lens of his camera. Desire for Frankie makes his personal sacrifices seem suddenly unacceptable.

Dare Adrien jeopardize his brother's political aspirations for a chance at his own happiness or will forces beyond his control slam the door shut on a life he’s only ever dreamed of? If he chooses to come out, their public lives be forever altered by the shocking revelation of their private pleasures.

Public appearance can hide all sorts of private sins. Adrien’s gone along with his wealthy and political family’s plans at the cost of his happiness. That is until he meets Frankie and discovers that maybe becoming his own man is worth the pain and heartache that may follow. The path isn’t easy but with Frankie’s support, Adrien slowly gains confidence to take a stand with his family and his life.

Public Lives, Private Pleasures is another of the coming out series of books from Loose Id. The theme of coming out is integral to the story as Adrien deals with not only his sexuality but also separating from his wealthy and manipulative family. His relationship with Frankie is intense and passionate, but also loving and caring. Frankie provides the support and strength to help Adrien become the man he’s always wanted to be. Their connection is instantaneous but they take a while to consummate their passion and that helps develop the emotion between them.

The story is somewhat uneven as the men dance around their attraction. Adrien is emotionally battered and struggles with his desire to be himself, yet not lose his family. His journey to acceptance is not easy and he often retreats from Frankie when he’s overwhelmed. This slows the story in a few places and the emotion occasionally feels manipulated. Frankie is patient, understanding, caring, and never seems to get upset over Adrien’s actions. He’s a little too good to be true and never seems to waiver with his support and love. Given Adrien’s actions, some frustration would be understandable and more realistic.

However despite this qualm, the story offers an emotional relationship between a man struggling to find himself and a man who loves him. The two are wonderful together and create some incredibly hot sex scenes. There is a ménage scene, which fulfills a fantasy of Adrien’s. It’s casual sex but the emotion is always between Adrien and Frankie. For those readers that love drama, emotion, and hot sex, this story may satisfy.

Prescription For Love by Tina Gallagher

Prescription For Love by Tina Gallagher
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story(52 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Poppy

Kate Grady has a lot on her plate. She's living by her father's rules in order to patch their strained relationship. She's running the family pharmacy single-handedly while said father heals his broken hip. His physical therapy doesn't include breathing over her shoulder but he manages to do it anyway.

Then in walks John O'Brien, the boy next door. The very sexy, seven years younger boy next door. The last time she'd seen him, he'd been a gangly, gawky boy with thick glasses. Oh how he's grown.

Can Kate look past their age difference to appreciate the man John has become?

Looking for an erotic romance that’s plenty hot but mostly romantic? You can’t go wrong with Prescription For Love. I smiled all the way through, and the ending made my heart sigh.

I’m pretty picky about the erotic romance stories I read – hot sex is all well and good, but I prefer a story that makes sure it doesn’t forget the emotion. When Kate Grady sees her old neighbor, “little” Johnny O’Brien, it’s made very clear that he’s not so little anymore. And John, whose had a crush on Kate his entire life (since she won him over with cookies at seven) is determined to make her realize that his age isn’t important. What they feel for each other is.

Kate’s terribly conflicted. Her father oozes disapproval about pretty much everything she’s ever done, is doing and might do in the future. He was not a character I liked, nor one I even understood. Where all that nastiness came from, we never really find out. Maybe he was born crotchety. But Kate considers his opinion with every step she takes, and I admit it frustrated me a bit. Still, I hoped she’d grow a spine, and thankfully she does.

John is every woman’s wet dream: smart, fun, sexy as hell and determined. He sets his sights on Kate and never veers from the goal, despite the conflicting signals she gives him.

Add in some smoking hot sex on a kitchen counter (among other places) that, while vanilla, still made my heart pound and my computer screen smolder a bit, and you have a winner of a book. It’s seldom I find a story that makes my heart swell like this one did, and I really, really wish it had been just a little bit longer. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Kate and John when the last page ended. Bet you won’t be either...why don’t you give Prescription For Love a try and see what you think.

Amethyst Flames by Selene Noreen

Amethyst Flames by Selene Noreen
Publisher: Freya’s Bower
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemp
Length: Short Story (43 pgs)
Other: M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play
Rating: 2.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Dahlia

Kayla Dunsmore has had her share of heartache. Her husband turned out to be an abusive jerk, she survived cancer, and her family has been ripped from her life by a tragic accident. Now, she's just tired of fighting to survive and is ready for a stroke of good luck. Unfortunately, it's not to be. The last straw comes when, once again, the doctor tells her the grim news: the cancer is back. Not only is it back, but it will take a radical treatment for any hope of survival.

Zarth, an advisor to the goddess Freya, is by himself, the way he likes it. His kind, the Phooka, don't do well in numbers. But the moment he sees Kayla, Zarth doesn't want to be alone anymore. And that's a problem because, according to Freya, the only way to save her is to take her to the planet Amethyst Flames.

The planet is fraught with danger for Kayla, and to compound the issue, Freya tells them that Zarth must share Kayla with his brother Tirian.

Can Kayla handle the transition to a new planet and a new lifestyle? Can Zarth and Tirian learn to share? Or will they burn up in Amethyst Flames?

Kayla and Zarth have scars of both the emotional and physical variety for very different reasons from very different realms of the universe. While Zarth's physical scars were due to going to battle for his goddess, Kayla's scars are due to the viciousness of her ex-husband and the ravages of cancer therefore making her a victim in battles she had no choice in fighting.

It puzzled me some when Kayla first meets Zarth, because her questions are not those typical of having met someone for the first time especially if that someone is not even of this realm. When Zarth relates his fear of beds or lack of experience with emotions to Kayla, she doesn't acknowledge those quirks, as I would have expected her to. I guess if I was in my last moments on earth I wouldn't be puzzling over little trivialities like that either, but if affected my ability to really believe the story. I also struggled a bit with confusion during some scene changes.

It was, however, heartfelt to read what Kayla had gone through not only with her ex-husband, but also with continuing struggle to survive and beat cancer. Kayla is definitely an uplifting character in her own right and shows much strength in never giving up no matter how dire the circumstances. Readers will definitely take away a message in Kayla's courage.

Zarth and Tirian's family dynamics are interesting, to say the least, and unlike most ménages, the twins don't start out sharing Kayla so easily which made this a unique story.

Ms. Noreen's new world is very creative and should capture and keep the readers attention. I recommend this book for fans of fantasy stories, new realms and new creatures with happy pleasurable endings.

Blood Lust by Stormy Glenn and Joyee Flynn

Blood Lust by Stormy Glenn and Joyee Flynn
Delta Wolf Series, Book 3
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (120 pgs)
Other: M/M, M/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Forced Seduction, Voyeurism
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Peppermint

When a human psychic saves his life, Constantine Stylianos can't stop thinking about the little man, even when Owen leaves, ignoring the bond that they have together. Deciding he needs a change or he will never have the life he wants, Constantine opts to move to the Delta Pack.

Before he can get there, Constantine receives a call for help. An illegal hunt has been ordered, and someone needs his protection. When he arrives, he discovers that the man that saved Christian is the same man that saved him and both men are his mates.

But someone is out to kill Christian, Owen has emotional demons that prevent him from fully accepting the mating bond between the three of them, and Constantine has to use all of his abilities to save them. If fate chooses mates destined to be together, Constantine can't help but wonder why so many obstacles are thrown in the way of them all being together?

Once bitten twice shy is definitely a phrase to explain this story. Owen learned his lesson after the first time Constantine bit and slept with him. At least he thought he had until he let Constantine and Christian talk him into being bitten again only this time while he slept with both of them!

What is not to love about these characters? Constantine's determination shows in everything he does including caring for his mates. Christian seems to be the level-headed one in the relationship. Owen’s passion is evident even when he doesn’t realize it. Together they make one of the best and hottest trios to grace any story I have ever read. I would expect nothing less from these authors since creating memorable characters is something both authors excel at.

Not only do these characters have to deal with the conflict around accepting their relationship, they all have their own personal demons to fend off as well. This added depth to the story and each character. Seeing the personal and joint struggles made me want to see their happiness even more. In the end they all helped each other deal with their conflicts and isn’t that what true love is really about?

There is nothing more satisfying than hot guy-on-guy action and this story has more than enough to satisfy anyone’s needs. There is no designated top or bottom in this story -- it is no holds barred. The scenes were so explosive not only did the characters pass out, but I needed a rest after reading a few of them.

I have read stories by Stormy Glenn and Joyee Flynn but never one they co-authored. I have to say this is the best of stories. I did not have the pleasure of reading the two previous Delta Wolf stories but I will be going back to read them ASAP and reading every Delta Wolf story that comes after this. You need to do yourself a favor and buy this story immediately -- you will not be disappointed.

Shadows of Ecstasy by Shauna Hart

Shadows of Ecstasy by Shauna Hart
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Torrid
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (265 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Toys, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Violet

Cal Rutledge never expected to see Emma Lake again after she walked away from him fifteen years ago. She was the daughter of his father’s worst adversary, and getting involved with her had been a mistake, a mistake he couldn’t make again. But when she walks into Club X, a club he secretly owns, logic and reason seem to disappear.

Emma Lake has lived a lie for the past fifteen years. Ever since she walked away from the only man she ever loved to marry someone else. But now the only thing she wants is to get her life back together.

Fifteen years ago, they kept their affair a secret. But someone else knows the truth. Someone who is watching them.

Someone who will do anything to keep them apart.

“The desire to give into anything he wanted was so strong she wasn’t sure she could resist…The apple was in her hand—and she was dying to take a bite.”

Like Eve and the apple, Emma Lake finds it very hard to resist Cal Rutledge. She did once to meet family approval, and wound up married to Mr. Wrong. Divorced, she’s back in New Orleans and her friend Shelby takes her to the infamous “Club X” thinking she needs to blow off some steam. The moment she walks into Club X, the only man she’s ever loved sees her on the security cameras. Cal, owner of Club X, can’t believe his eyes when he sees her. And there’s no way he’s going to let another man get to Emma first in his club where anything goes between consenting adults. When Cal and Emma meet again their connection is absolutely electric and they immediately combust.

As Cal and Emma’s fathers are warring political opponents, their match wouldn’t make either of their families happy. Emma has always tried to do the right thing, and walking away from Cal was the hardest thing she ever did. Then she compounded her mistake by marrying her parent’s perfect man, who she winds up divorcing for serial cheating.

Emma is strong and gutsy. It’s intriguing watching as Emma grows into her own person. She doesn’t just come home and say the heck with my family. She slowly, step by step takes control of her life, and reuniting with Cal helps her recall who she used to be. She starts by getting her own apartment, and then she rediscovers her love of painting with Cal as inspiration. And of course the whole time she’s having a blazing relationship with Cal.

Cal tells himself he likes his life just as it is, running Club X and enjoying the occasional dalliance. He’s watched his best friend settle down and be happy, but he tells himself that’s not for him. Then he sees Emma again and his feelings start to change. Yet as much as he feels for Emma, he wonders if he’ll be able to survive her leaving him again. Because people don’t change, right?

Then his mother faces a health crisis, and the only person he can think to go to is Emma. And something fundamentally beautiful changes for both of them. Cal is fascinating to watch as he grapples with trusting Emma and his mother’s health crisis. He’s a complicated character facing very real issues. He truly touched my heart.

The supporting characters in Shadows of Ecstasy really help make the story. From Cal’s brother, who’s gotten a girl pregnant and can’t tell their father, to Emma’s sister who’s partying out of control. Both Emma and Cal’s fathers are strong and formidable. I guess the real difference between Cal and Emma is their relationship with their mothers. Emma’s mother constantly criticizes her, while Cal’s mother offers unconditional love. Then there are their friends. You’re truly left up in the air as to who is truly Emma’s friend, whereas Cal’s friends are loyal beyond question. Finally there’s Emma’s louse of an ex-husband who you are so glad she divorced.

Shadows of Ecstasy accelerates when Emma and Cal’s affair is revealed. It’s here that Cal and Emma have it out. Although it looks like Emma is giving in to her family, her ultimate decision takes trust and true courage. I was rather stunned. Not to mention the stalker twist that totally shocked me. The end was utterly romantic.

Shadows of Ecstasy is one of those rare books that sucks you in from the first page and keeps you riveted to the last. The sex was sensuously detailed and really hot! Although Club X does cater to anything, Cal and Emma’s relationship is not hard BDSM. There is some light bondage, but that only turned me on more. I loved that the person in control of their sex games switched occasionly. Their sex was part of their romance, which was just beautiful. Emma and Cal are two people overcoming stiff family expectations to find love. Ms. Hart’s writing style was engrossing and beautiful. In my reviews I try to point out something that could be improved, but honestly the only thing I could think of is that I didn’t want it to end!

If you’re looking for a book with star-crossed lovers, warring families, a crazed stalker, and really hot sex don’t miss Shadows of Ecstasy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Play With Me by Amber Skyze

Play With Me by Amber Skyze
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (97 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Dressed only in matching blue lace bra and panties, Kim hopes to lure David, her one true love, to the voyeurism-exhibitionism room. She’s dying to pin him to the bed and ride him all night long. She has a drawer full of condoms. All he has to do is show up.

David doesn’t mix business with pleasure, yet when he discovers Kim’s vibrator he can’t get the image of it nestled inside her out of his mind. He fights to keep his hands off her soft, silky skin, but knows it’s a losing battle.

When the co-owners of Freedom Fantasies finally get together in their playground, sparks are sure to fly.

When David and Kim began their partnership neither of them even guessed that they each had feelings for each other. Now, years later, Kim is tired of waiting for David to come around but she may have gone about things all wrong. Can David and Kim figure it all out before they lose everything and each other?

Kim is a strong woman who loves deeply and David is a great man who loves with all his heart but he hides it all away. The two are polar opposites that are attracted to each other immensely. I loved the intensity of their relationship. Both are as stubborn as mules when it comes to their love life, with neither one ready to back down first.

The emotional rollercoaster ride that David and Kim go on makes for a great read. As hot as the sex scenes are in this book the love that these two share burns through the pages. Not only do we get to watch David and Kim’s relationship develop but we also get to revisit the three girlfriends. I loved this aspect of the story and how it intertwines with the other two books in this series.

This book is the third story in the Freedom Fantasies series. Each of the three women find their other halves in these books. I would advise reading all three books to really enjoy the story and its characters. This book is well written with characters that are full of depth and emotion making it a good read.